Super Bowl food questions you were afraid to ask: Wings

Eli Kirshtein explains the miracle of chicken wings.

To assist in the run-up to your Super Bowl festivities, we have enlisted Atlanta chef, consultant, and former Top Chef: Las Vegas contestant Eli Kirshtein to answer some basic questions about cooking. Today's basic thing you might be screwing up: wings.

Chicken wings are almost unequivocally the most venerable of all bar foods. Everyone has an opinion of what makes the best wings, but the hallmarks most people are looking for are juicy, and crispy, and typically a lot of them, especially if you make it to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

Let's talk about the wings themselves, take a little pride in them and get them whole and cut them yourself. Also, bigger does not translate to better.

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If they are more than a couple ounces apiece, you will have a hard time cooking them evenly.

Now, you can basically sum up wings into two basic categories: fried and not fried. I'm going to throw you three techniques/recipes for wings. We will attribute each to a different, appropriate football player. Don’t hate: you can make pretty amazing wings that aren’t fried. Sometimes you could hold off on the fried foods. You know who you are.

So, I think the best way to start on smoked/grilled/baked/roasted wings is to marinate them. You can do something really simple and just marinate them in a basic vinaigrette, or try something a little more out there and do a Southeast Asian thing. We will do these flavors to entice Manti over to the non-fried side.

Mix together:

  • 1 tbls Minced Ginger
  • 1 tbls Minced Garlic
  • 3 tbls Fish Sauce
  • 3 tbls Sugar
  • 3 tbls Lime Juice
  • Sambal Chili Paste to taste

Take some wings and toss it in this sauce and let sit overnight. Then you can cook them as you wish. They can be really good on a charcoal grill. When they are done, toss 'em with a little bit of lime juice and some sliced scallions and cilantro.

Now, I know some of y’all want a recipe for typical fried wings, Buffalo style. The key to the sauce is to do more to it than just take Frank’s Red Hot and butter and mix ‘em. That is about as predictable as Georgia Tech and that silly silly flexbone option. If you want to do a buffalo style sauce start with the hot sauce of your choosing, and season it. Add some honey, some Worcestershire, and then a little bit of butter to help the texture. If you just play around with it a bit, think about what you are doing -- like Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick would -- and then you can come up with something solid.

Finally, these go out to Hines Ward. These are my personal favorite type wings, Korean. The sauce is a little complicated and will take a little searching for products, but totally worth it. They are a little more labor intensive, but totally worth it.

Mix together:

  • 3 tbls Minced Garlic
  • 1-1/2 tbls Minced Ginger
  • 3 tbls Soy Sauce
  • 5 tbls Gojujang (this is Korean chili paste, go search it out, it will change your life)
  • 1 tbls Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tbls Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1 tbls Honey

You can make a big batch of this ahead and leave it in the fridge pretty much indefinitely. You can toss this on straight up fried wings or take the full next step and get the crispiest wings ever.

Combine:

  • 2/3 cup Flour
  • 1 tbls Cornstarch 2/3 cup Water
  • This will make a loose batter.

Dip the wings in and put them into a 350 degree fryer and let 'em cook for 8 minutes. Take them and rest 'em on a paper towel for about 8 minutes. Put them back in fryer for another 8 minutes. Then you will have super crispy, twice cooked wings in all their glory. Then toss them in the sauce above, or really any other good savory sauce.

And of course, DJ Paul has some advice also.

Y’all’s questions:

@ecalof Dear Eli, is it true that bacon makes everything better? Or is that merely a myth?

Total Myth, I do love me some bacon, but people take it too far.

@DrewLog best pulled pork method with no smoker?

I like to confit it for that purpose. Take a pork shoulder or butt, season liberally with salt and a bit of sugar. Cook in fat in an oven at 250 degrees until you can shred it, probably 8 hours. This is one application where bacon can help you. Throw a few pieces in with the shoulder and it will help give a smokiness to it.

@JD24 Ribs. Sauce vs. Dry Rub. Smoking methods etc.

I like dry rub and slow smoke. Sauce can be good, but the meat should speak for itself first and foremost. With sauce I like things that are high acid to help brighten up the flavors.

@IAmSpilly My Pork Meringue Pie is always too greasy. How can I cut that down and still keep the crushed Cracklins on top?

Add more grease, and once you get to critical mass, it will start to regress and become less greasy.

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