Friday is my favorite day. Not entirely because of the whole TGIF mentality, though that’s part of it. It’s because Friday is the day I make wings at home. In fact, some friends and colleagues know not to even invite me anywhere at the end of the week.
My partner, Zac, and I start talking about Friday-night wings as early as Wednesday. We used to go out for our bar food (shout out to Monkey Pants and Boulders on Broadway), but last year, I learned this incredibly easy recipe.
All you need is a baking tray, a pot, a mixing bowl, maybe some tongs, a big spoon, and an oven. For to up any of this, visit our guide to kitchen stores around the Valley.
Before we knew it, we were saving some major bucks. Because Zac and I are … frugal … I usually get the least expensive ingredients, which almost made me embarrassed to share this recipe. But, as our food critic Chris Malloy reminded me, cheapness is what wings are all about.
I don't care what grocery store you go to, but if you want to keep this hot wing recipe simple, straightforward, and inexpensive like the headline promises, I’d recommend Fry’s, but any of these Arizona-based grocery stores will do.
Now, since we don’t have a “just to recipe” feature, I’ll just get started.
A Simple Hot Wings Recipe
1 6-ounce can of Kroger canola oil ($1.99)
1 4-pound bag of Kroger party wings ($12.69)
1 liter bottle of Valentina hot sauce ($1.77)
1 stick of Kroger salted butter ($3.99 for four)
1 .85-ounce Smidge and Spoon Spices Italian Seasoning ($1)
Your first grocery trip, if you buy all the above in one go, will run you just north of $20 — then, of course, less next time, as it’ll be a couple of wing nights before you need hot sauce, Italian seasoning, and canola oil again.
First, let the wings thaw. Slam them in the sink before leaving for work on Friday. Upon your return, snip the corner of the wings bag to drain the chicken juice.
If you have a baking pan with a wire rack, all the better. (Zac got me this baking sheet for Christmas, and I couldn’t recommend it more.)
Give the wire rack some spritzes of the canola oil or whatever cooking spray you have. Believe me, you don’t want your wing babies sticking to the rack and the crispy skin ripping off. Evenly space out your wings, and dust them with some Italian seasoning.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees — or around there, you know your oven better than I do. If you like your wings fleshier, bake for 40 minutes. If you like them crispier, go for 45 minutes. If you like them even, more, crispy, further instructions are ahead.
While the little bird parts are baking in the oven, it’s time to make the sauce.
Take a sauce pot and add a full stick of butter and shake in some more Italian seasoning. Then add in your desired amount of hot sauce. The amount truly depends on how saucy you want your wings, but start with a half cup and see how you feel. You can always add more later. Bonus: For a little texture, feel free to add some fresh thyme.
Put the burner under the sauce pot on low and let it all melt together. Give it a couple stirs every now and then.
When that timer goes off for your wings, remove the pan and turn off the over. Take each wing with the tongs and flip them belly up. Then, as Bon Appetit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport has taught me, you hit 'em with the broiler. Slide in your upturned wings under the broiler for about three minutes.
Warning: The following instruction is for those who love the crispiest wings possible. Remove the pan and tong-flip the wings again. Then, hit them with the broiler again for another minute or less. Don’t even so much as walk away or look at your phone. They will burn quick.
Remove the pan again and turn off your oven (I have been halfway through a Nic Cage movie before realizing I left the broiler on). Bring over your wide-mouth mixing bowl. Toss in all your piping-hot wings, pour in your sauce, and mix. You're done.
Actually, there's one more step. Take a photo of these beautiful babies, post on social, and wait for compliments while you eat.
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