I’m going to take you to a real dark place right. Prepare yourself.
Imagine a world where the chicken wings are dry and unseasoned.
Imagine it. Fear it. Now let’s make sure that world stays in the depths of the worst imagination and that our chicken wings stay juicy forevermore.
I would never put an unnecessary step into a cooking process if I didn’t feel you could reap the benefits in the long run. I really wouldn’t.
That’s why brining these chicken wings in a salty citrus bath is of essence. It’s a must do, not a nice to do. I swear.
By brining the wings in their cold bath, your chicken cuts get seasoned from the inside out (the salt cuts through the meat right to the bone) but the water makes sure the chicken stays moist, juicy and just sliding off the bone with the merest pinprick.
I mean you could just bake these straight from the bath and patted dry, but why would you when there’s Buffalo sauce in the world?
I like my chicken wings spicy to the point of struggle, but I tone thus Buffalo down ever so slightly to make sure that your mouth is experiencing every flavour level possible in the sauce.
All that’s left to do then is throw back with a beer and dive headfirst into a plateful of these gifts. And the fact I made these the same day as the Superbowl is purely coincidental. I am neither American nor a sports fan.
But that Shakira and JLo concert was amazing! Let’s be honest.
You want to have brined your chicken for as long as possible, so before even contemplating this recipe, empty your chicken wings (I used a whole pack from Lidl) into your biggest bowl.
Add a good few tablespoons of salt, a scattering of whole black peppercorns, a teaspoon of paprika, a teaspoon of garlic powder and then squeeze in the juice of two blood oranges (although two regular oranges and a lime will be fine if you can’t find blood ones). Now fill the bowl with water to cover the chicken and leave in the fridge.
If you plan on making the Buffalo sauce, now’s the time to chuck 100g of butter in the fridge too.
I suggest leave the wings brine for a few hours (or overnight) but either way when you’re ready to cook, get your oven preheated to 200c.
Take your chicken out of the fridge and out of the bowl. Fill a big bowl with a cupful of plain flour and add in half a teaspoon of chili powder, half a teaspoon of paprika, some salt and some black pepper.
Now take each chicken wing and toss them up in the spiced flour until they are coated before placing each wing onto a lined baking tray (I needed to use two to fit them all). Once every piece is coated, slip them in the hot oven for 30 minutes.
While the chicken bakes, crack on with your sauce.
Add 150ml of Hot Sauce (I use Franks) into a saucepan with a big tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a little shake of Worcestershire Sauce, half a teaspoon of garlic powder and a little salt.
Put the pan on a high heat until it begins bubbling and then drop it to a low simmer.
Once the sauce starts to thicken a little, take it off the heat and drop in the fridge cold butter a slice at a time, stirring as you go.
After the chicken’s 30 minutes, take them out of the oven and whack the heat up to 220c. Carefully pour the Buffalo sauce over the wings and slip back into the oven for a further 10 minutes on the high heat to crisp up.
Take them out of the oven once crisped up and allow them to rest for about 5 – 10 minutes if your gut will allow the patience.
I doused mine with ever more hot sauce. Eat with your bare hands and the raw nerve. That’s what napkins are there for.