Chicken wings

I have long bemoaned the rather mediocre “Buffalo wings” available around here. Ruby River Restaurant’s wings are tolerable, indeed most people seem to like them. But, I’m beginning to think that this goes to personal taste even more than most foods. Last Thursday, some friends took me along for lunch at a local wing place that hasn’t been open very long. I found the food nearly inedible which is unfortunate because you need to find common ground with friends otherwise lunch time can get lonely.

So, I rolled up my sleeves, hit the Internet for some good research starting with Wikipedia and have come up with a recipe that I like—that you may not like. What I was looking for was fresh-cooked tasting wings, perferably baked instead of deep fried like last Thursday’s fare, and sauce that compliments rather than overpowers the chicken (something that, so far, all wing recipes I’ve ever eaten fall down on). I often don’t like the first fruits of my experimentation; this time, however, I nailed it (what I personally like, that is).

I’m somewhat averse to the odor of vinegar which aversion influences this recipe. Also, since I didn’t grow up eating hot food, I generally do not make my food hot. You may adjust the amount of Frank’s sauce, cider vinegar and cayenne pepper accordingly. More butter cools the sauce, more cayenne hikes it up.

I haven’t tried this recipe without the wings sitting in the refrigerator with the rub on them. However, when you’re ready to cook, this only takes about 45 minutes. As much as I can tell (I’m going to make a big batch tomorrow), this recipe should scale really well. Note that I had about half my sauce left over after dipping 8 wings, so go easy on the quantity unless you decide you like abundant sauce in which case I advise you to thicken what I’ve got here with a little cornstarch.


Serves 2 people


  8 chicken wings
  2 tbsp chicken rub
  ¼ cup flour
  Kosher salt
  fresh-ground pepper
  cayenne pepper
  ¼ cup Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing sauce*
  ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  squirt apple cider vinegar
  ½ stick butter


1. Remove the tips from the wings and cleave in joint to separate remaining articulation. Lightly sprinkle with rub, arrange on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook. Or, put into a 1-gallon zip-lock bag until the next day.

I don’t really use rub recipes, but invent one as I’m going along. However, there is a pretty good one on my Paprika chicken recipe page. I always have a bottle of my rub sitting on one of my spice shelves.

2. Heat oven to 425°. Arrange chicken on a small baking sheet that you’ve sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 15 minutes, turn and bake for 15-30 more. (I find that 35-40 minutes in my convection oven at 4500 feet works well.)

DO NOT DIP CHICKEN IN SAUCE BEFORE BAKING. It only results in a sticky carbonized mess.

3. While awaiting the bake, in a bowl, mix all remaining ingredients together. Either simmer in a sauce pan or microwave on 70% for a few minutes.

4. When wings are baked, remove from oven and, holding with tongs, roll them in the sauce and place on a serving plate. Once I have a coating of sauce on, I shake and drip off as much as I can.

* I don’t think that wings have to live and die by Frank’s sauce, but it is available in my local grocery and it is the authentic, original base for wings at the Buffalo, New York Anchor Bar according to Wikipedia, Frank and Teressa Bellissimo, proprietors.

Note that Western Family makes an identical hot sauce that works just as well.