Chicken wings are a popular snack for parties and entertaining. What makes a chicken wing taste so good is that the wing is mostly all skin and has a lot of fat. This makes chicken wings rather unhealthy. Coupled with the usual cooking method of deep frying the wings, a dish of spicy chicken wings can put a real dent into your daily caloric intake requirements. One way to trim some of the calories from cooking chicken wings is to bake them in the oven. Baking uses dry heat to cook the wings instead of submerging them in hot oil, which they can absorb. You might think that baking chicken wings is easy, but in practice, baking chicken wings in the oven presents several problems. With a few tricks, you can make delicious chicken wings in the oven that are lower in calories without sacrificing flavor.
One of the biggest problems with cooking chicken wings in the oven is that they have a high fat content, which can cause a lot of smoking as it splatters and pops around the oven. Chicken wings are very fatty by nature and release a lot of this fat as they are cooked. Another problem with chicken wings is that they contain a lot of gelatin and connective tissue that can only be dissolved by long cooking in a moist environment. Next, chicken wings tend to cook unevenly due to the different shapes of the wings and the drumette section of the wing. One method of cooking that solves all of these problems is to quickly steam the wings first. Steaming will allow the wings to cook in a moist environment that will render fat, cook evenly, and dissolve collagen and gelatin.
In order to steam chicken wings, you need to set a large pot on the stove and place in a wire rack so that it fits several inches above the bottom of the pot. Once that is done, add a shallow layer of water to the pot. Cut up the chicken wings at the joins and discard the wing tips. Place the wings into a shallow bowl or a plate in a single layer. Steam the wings for 15 minutes. You may have do steam the wings in several batches depending on how many wings you are cooking.
Once the wings have been steamed, they can be refrigerated till needed or baked immediately. To bake the wings, arrange them on a wire rack placed on a sheet pan. A wire rack will ensure even browning. Next, season them liberally with salt and pepper. Place the wings in a preheated 425 degree oven and cook for 20 minutes. Once the 20 minutes has expired, turn the wings over and bake for another 20 minutes. When the wings come out of the oven, they should be crisp on the outside and moist on the inside and ready for saucing.
Traditionally chicken wings are sauced Buffalo style with a mixture of butter and hot sauce. To make the sauce, combine half a stick of butter with as much hot sauce as you can take. Toss the hot wings into the sauce to coat. This should be done at the last minute so that the wings do not lose their crunch from the added moisture. Traditional Buffalo wings are served with blue cheese dressing and sticks of carrot and celery.
Chicken wings that are baked in the oven are a great alternative to fried chicken wings. They have all the moisture of a fried wing, but much less calories. All that you need to produce a great, baked chicken wing is to steam the wings briefly before baking. They’re sure to be a hit at your next party.