Score big this Super Bowl with Super Crispy Buffalo Chicken Wings

If you’re looking for a hearty appetizer to add to your Super Bowl spread this Sunday, my crowd-pleasing Super Crispy Buffalo Chicken Wings are sure to score a touchdown with your fans.

Most Buffalo wings served in restaurants get their crispy skin from a combination of breading and deep-frying, which tends to make of many of us reluctant to attempt making them at home. However, I’ve found that baking the wings can yield results just as good as frying them, if not better, without all the extra grease and fat.

There are some secrets I employ to achieve this result. The first key is to remove as much moisture from the wings as possible. To do this, first I pat the wings dry with a paper towel, and then refrigerate them for at least an hour or even overnight to make sure they’re dry. Next, I toss the wings in baking powder and salt before placing them in the oven.

The combination of baking powder (not to be confused with baking soda) and salt works to leech even more moisture from the skin as the wings bake, rendering them crisp and crunchy. To avoid a possible bitter aftertaste from the baking powder, I always use a brand that is aluminum-free.

Then, I place the wings on a wire rack like the kind used to cool cookies and place the rack atop a foil-lined baking sheet. Using the wire rack allows the fat to drip from the wings as they bake, which further helps create their super-crispy texture.

Finally, these wings are baked in two different stages. First, I bake them in the lower quarter of the oven at 250 degrees for 35 minutes, during which most of the fat is rendered from the wings. Next, I move the baking sheet to the top quarter of the oven and increase the temperature to 425 degrees. I let the wings bake until they are golden brown and ultra-crispy, about 50 to 60 minutes. To test their crispness, simply drag a fork across the top of one or two wings and when they’re ready, you’ll hear how crunchy they are.

When buying chicken wings, you can use whole wings or wings that have already been butchered specifically for this purpose. In the Fargo-Moorhead area, you can find good quality, pre-cut chicken wings in the fresh chicken section at Costco in West Fargo. If you buy whole wings, you’ll need a sharp chef’s or butcher’s knife to cut them into smaller wings and drumettes, and either discard the tips or save them to use later to make stock or soup.

When the wings are ready, I toss them in my Homemade Buffalo Sauce and serve them with my favorite Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce. Both sauces are easy to make and can be prepared up to three days in advance of serving. You can also find a variety of ready-made sauces in our local grocery stores.

These buffalo wings are so crispy that even refrigerated leftovers will still yield a good crunch the next day — but with wings this crispy and delicious, don’t count on leftovers. Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.

Super Crispy Buffalo Chicken Wings

Serves: 8 to 10

4 pounds chicken wings, split into wings and drumettes

2 tablespoons baking powder, aluminum free

3/4 teaspoon salt

Homemade Buffalo Sauce (recipe below)

Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce (recipe below)

Celery sticks

Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and lay the wings on top. Use a paper towel to pat them dry and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place an oven rack in the lower quarter of the oven, and another rack in the top quarter. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire rack over the sheet and coat with cooking spray or brush with oil to prevent the wings from sticking.

Remove wings from refrigerator and place in a large plastic zip bag. In a small bowl, whisk the baking powder and salt until combined. Sprinkle over the chicken wings, seal the bag and shake until the wings are evenly coated.

Shake any excess powder from the wing and place them on the rack, skin side up, touching if needed as the wings will shrink while they bake. Place the sheet on the lower oven rack and bake at 250 degrees for 35 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees and move baking sheet to top rack. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, rotating the tray after 30 minutes. The wings are ready when they are golden brown and the skin is crispy. Scrape a fork across the top to test for crispness and continue baking if needed until crisp.

Remove from oven and transfer the wings to a large bowl. Pour half of the Buffalo sauce over the wings and toss until evenly coated. Add more sauce as desired, toss to combine and serve any remaining sauce on the side. Serve with celery sticks and Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce.

Homemade Buffalo Sauce

2/3 cup Frank’s RedHot pepper sauce (not the Buffalo sauce)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. When the liquid begins to boil vigorously, remove from heat, stir and set aside until ready to use. May be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated. Reheat sauce on stovetop or in microwave before serving.

Sarah’s Tip: Using unsalted butter will allow you to keep the sauce from being too salty.

Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

1/3 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon white vinegar

Dash of Worcestershire sauce (use sparingly)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped

1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To garnish:

1 teaspoon fresh chives, finely chopped

1 teaspoon minced red onion (optional, for color)

In a medium bowl, use a whisk to combine the buttermilk, sour cream, white vinegar and fresh chives. Add the blue cheese crumbles and use a wooden spoon to mash the cheese into the mixture, breaking down any large pieces until fully incorporated.

Stir in the salt and pepper; taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld and the sauce to firm up. May be made up to 3 days in advance. Serve with Buffalo wings and/or fresh vegetables.

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