In general, when I use the term “Super Bowl,” I’m referring to the only non-mixing bowl in the house that is large enough to hold an entire box of cereal with appropriate levels of milk. (Side note: I have always viewed a box of cereal as a serving. It’s why I can’t eat cereal every day.)
Coming up, though, is the one weekend a year where “Super Bowl” actually refers to an event involving fierce rivalries, a sport involving sweaty men and a ball shaped like Dora the Explorer’s head, watching commercials on purpose, and eating and drinking like our arteries are mythical creatures who cannot be harmed.
Since two weekends ago, I have had a severe case of PMS. Or “Peyton Manning Syndrome.” After he lead my Broncos into a defeat so stunning and surreal that I cried actual salty tears under my dining room table like a teenage girl, I have been loudly proclaiming “FOOTBALL IS DEAD TO ME.”
But then I remembered chicken wings.
How can I possibly deny myself a celebratory occasion where chicken wings are to be consumed with gusto and guiltless abandon? I can’t. So here you have it: A wing bar so sexed up and beautiful that you will be too busy licking your fingers to be disgusted by the endless GoDaddy commercials featuring large, inflatable breasts and literally nothing else. Is it a real company? Do they make silicone implants? WTF?
The idea is simple: Make a TON of basic chicken wings, and then give people the option to customize them with saucy recklessness. You will look like a hostessing genius, and also you will get to eat a whole bunch of wings. It’s nothing short of a miracle.
- 2 dozen party wings (these are chicken wings that have been divided into drummettes and the other nameless piece that is not shaped like a drumstick)
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/4 C hot sauce (I love Franks Red Hot)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3-4 T kosher salt (how salty do you like it?)
- 1 T garlic salt
- 1 t paprika
- 2 t fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 t onion powder
- 1 t cayenne pepper
- Enough vegetable oil to keep your deep fryer safely filled according to manufacturer instructions
- Mix together buttermilk and hot sauce in a large mixing bowl
- Toss wings into the buttermilk and distribute evenly to coat
- Cover and allow to marinate for at least 4-24 hours
- minutes before cooking, drain wings and set aside on a baking sheet
- In a large, brown paper bag, mix together dry ingredients
- Preheat oil in the fryer to 360 F
- Toss wings, in batches of no more than 1 dozen at a time, into the paper bag, roll up, and shake to coat.
- Remove wings and set on a clean baking sheet to rest while you do the rest of your wings
- When each wing is evenly and thoroughly coated with the flour mixture, fry in batches of 6-12 wings at a time, depending on the size of your fryer
- When the wings are golden brown (about 5 minutes) remove a wing and test for an internal temperature of 170 F using an instant read thermometer
- As the wings are done, drain them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels or paper bags
- Keep making batches this way until all of your wings are done. Feel free to stick them on the buffet as they get done, so the wings people are eating are hot and fresh
- Have a selection of sauces available for people to customize!
So now you need sauces, right?
–Buffalo wing sauce (this isn’t an idea; it’s a necessity) To make buffalo wing sauce, I use a stick of butter, a cup of Franks Red Hot, and a half cup of brown sugar and slowly heat in a pan to combine. It’s killer.
–Ranch dressing (This can go with the wing sauce, or just be wing sauce on its own. The wings are that good!)
–Tzatziki yogurt sauce for a Greek twist
–Marinara sauce with parmesan to sprinkle (chicken wing parmesan? Why not??)
Make sure to give people an outlet for their bones, because there will be bones and lots of them. You don’t want your surfaces to look like the back of a troll’s cave or something. Empty the bone receptacles often.
Finally, be safe. Hot oil is scary and dangerous and people catch their houses on fire all the time trying to fry things. Don’t be that guy, no matter how enthralling the commercials may be. Read the manual on your fryer, and don’t overfill. Turn it off when you’re done.
Peyton Manning is still dead to me right now. But the wing is very much alive in my heart.