I’m a hardcore Sunday meal prepper. I have to be. We are very busy people, both working full time and then some, & it’s important to me to make as much as of our food as I can, for the sake of cost & health. Don’t get me wrong… I know this post is about hot wings and they are far from the healthiest of food choices but they are one of Rob’s great food loves so they make their way into the Sunday meal prepping fairly regularly. They are also a great freezer option, because they freeze easily, as well as thawing & reheating well. Because of this, I tend to make a massive batch of them so we’ll have them on hand for a little while. This recipe is adapted to be less than my normal enormous batch because I usually go overboard but the convenience of Rob being able to heat up a few when he gets hungry on the weekends is so worth it.
Most people cut the wings in two. I admit it probably makes them easier to eat but I don’t bother with that. I just leave ’em whole! I just find it to be an unnecessary use of my time to cut them up but that’s just me. Before I get started, I rinse the chicken off. When I first started cooking, I didn’t do this and somewhere along the line, I noticed the Pioneer Woman would always rinse her chicken, and realized… that actually makes a lot of sense because it can be so slimy coming out of the package, so I incorporated that into my routine.
We don’t own a deep fryer. I used to want one but instead, opted to save the space another appliance would take up and instead, used to heat up a bunch of oil in a dutch oven and would fry the wings before tossing them in the sauce. In a quest to lead a better, healthier life than the one we’ve been living, I’m looking for ways to change how I cook our food, which can be tough because Rob is not a fan of healthy options but I’m working on that! Now I skip the frying step altogether, omitting the oil and instead, broil them in the oven. Rob hasn’t noticed anything different about the way they’re cooked and I feel good about cutting those extra calories from the oil.
Getting Rob to eat healthy food is no small feat. It wasn’t easy for his mom when he was growing up and it hasn’t been easy for me over the years. You hear stories of parents telling kids they won’t be allowed to leave the dinner table unless they eat their vegetables. I was never this kid but I also assumed that eventually they would give in and eat it so they can leave the table, right? Rob was that kid. He would fall asleep at the dinner table before he ate something he didn’t like. He stood his ground pretty well but so did his parents so I imagine that made for a long evening for everyone. He’s much better than that now! He’s still picky but not to such an extreme degree. The point to this is that I’ve had to get creative sometimes about getting healthy food in his body, which means hiding things in his food. He knows I do it and doesn’t want me to tell him when I do, and he would prefer to just be oblivious. Fine with me! Carrots and celery are the common accompaniments to hot wings, and I’m able to incorporate the carrots here by shredding them directly into hot sauce. Works like a charm.
I use recycled foil. Well, to be fair, I try to use as little aluminum foil as I can, both for our health and the environment. However, when I do, I buy recycled foil and then I often reuse foil to cut down on my waste. Making hot wings is one of the only things I use foil for because they make one helluva mess. It’s also one of the rare times I don’t reuse my foil. You just can’t come back from hot wings on foil.
I find it’s helpful to know your oven well or to at least keep a close watch on your food. My oven tends to run a little hot so I usually bake things for slightly less time than you might have to. It helps that I’m aware of this but I don’t love it when I’m trying someone else’s recipe!
An alternative method to what I’ve done here is to boil your wings before coating them in sauce and sticking them in the oven under the broiler. It’s actually a little faster and easier but I just don’t want the extra dish to wash after boiling them. I don’t like washing dishes any more than the next person and will do what I can to avoid creating more to wash!
If you’re anything like Rob, you don’t like bleu cheese, you’re good with ranch but you see no need to dip your wings in any sauce at all so you skip it altogether. If you’re anything like me, you’re fine with ranch but you’re going to pick bleu cheese every time and you definitely will dip the wings in the dressing. I usually only eat one or two wings, though, so I save making the dressings for when we serve hot wings to company.
This Is How We Hot Wing
- One 12 oz bottle of hot sauce (such as Frank’s cayenne pepper sauce)
- One stick of butter
- 2 -2.5 lbs of wings
- Two carrots (more if you prefer)
- Bleu cheese or ranch dressing for dipping (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350.
Rinse the wings in cold water. Pat dry.
Place wings on a cookie sheet lined with foil, spacing them out evenly.
Bake for around 20 minutes or until cooked through.
Meanwhile, melt the stick of butter in a skillet or pot. Don’t let it burn or brown, because this can change the flavor.
Once the butter has melted, pour the entire jar of hot sauce into the melted butter. Stir until combined.
Grate carrots into the wing sauce.
Once the wings are almost done, pull them out and turn the oven to broil.
Flip the wings so that they are right side down. Using a basting brush, coat the bottom of the wings with the buffalo sauce. Once the broiler is hot, put the wings back in the oven and broil for about 5 minutes, keeping an eye on them to ensure they don’t burn.
Remove the wings and turn them right side up. Brush them with the sauce again, coating twice. Put them back in the oven for another 5 minutes, continuing to monitor to ensure they don’t burn. Once the skin crisps from the broiler, remove them.
Coat the wings with sauce one more time.
You are done! I recommend making your dressings prior to baking your hot wings so that it’s ready to go when your wings are done.
TO FREEZE: Once the wings have cooled, place them on a cookie sheet or plate in a single layer, and stick them in the freezer. Allow them to freeze until the sauce no longer comes off to the touch, an hour or so. This will ensure the sauce doesn’t stays on the wings. The wings should be ready for their freezer packaging!
TO THAW: I like to let them sit out, in their packaging, just long enough to be able to remove their packaging. Then place them on a plate or cookie sheet to thaw the rest of the way so the sauce will stay on and not come off when you remove the wings from their packaging.