I’m not posting this recipe because it’s complicated, I’m posting it because it’s so dang simple. My sister makes wings and I always think, “Sheesh, way too much work for such little meat!” Even though she said it’s easy I don’t believe her because she makes intricate cakes and cupcakes and cookies and whatnot. Stuff I don’t have the patience for. I love food, but I hate messing stuff up. Plus, I was always intimidated by cutting up the wings. So unless they came pre-cut on sale, I never buy them.
That said, I’m working on the best recipe for smoked wings. I’m not there yet. But in the meantime, this is a good go-to. Again, like the St. Louis BBQ steaks, would be a perfect 4th of July food. Or once it cools off, a football or basketball game watching food. Basketball season, I miss you (NBA doesn’t count for me).
So, here it is. A super-simple recipe (along with a short video to show you how to cut wings if you never have).
OK, first things first, this recipe was inspired by a recipe from Chris Kresser’s site. I liked the idea, and only added other spices to expand/enhance what Chris posted. I didn’t realize wings could be so simple. I know lots of places make naked wings now, and I guess this is essentially naked, not-fried, unbreaded wings. You can dress it up any way you like, with whatever spices you prefer!
The first thing you have to tackle is cutting up wings:
This video is three minutes long, but at the end she talks about seasoning the wings. All in all, probably about 2 minutes of your time. And allegedly, you save money (because pre-cut wings are more expensive). WIN!
Another area worth discussing is you’re supposed to rinse and pat dry your chicken. Can anyone tell me why you do this? Clearly rinsing chicken doesn’t do much for bacteria. It’s water. Maybe rinse and pat dry so the skin is dry for whatever you’re going to put on it? I know I rinse and pat my whole beer butt chickens before roasting, but I’m also not really sure why I do that. So, anyone with advice, chime in. I forgot to rinse and pat dry my wings, and I’m alive. Plus, they cooked in the oven until they were over 180 degrees. So I’m sure any weird bacteria I might have rinsed away had run for the hills by that point.
Then you cut your wings. I DID follow the advice on the video, and cut away some of the extra flaps of skin. I found some of my wings cut with almost no resistance (the trick was lining up the knife in the same direction as the little dumette, I found, although that wasn’t 100% accurate). Others took more resistance, but I cut through all of them. I cut off the tips and discarded.
Then I sprinkled with my seasoning. I used this recipe as a starting point. But I felt like maybe they’d still be a little bland. So I added some black pepper, garlic powder, and wish I would have added smoked paprika. In the recipe Chris references omitting the chili powder if you have an autoimmune disease. For those who are confused by this, peppers are a nightshade, and some people with autoimmune diseases react to them.
Chris’ recipe is also only for six wings. I didn’t count my wings. But I just sprinkled all of the seasonings liberally (salt maybe a bit less liberally) over one side of the wings. Then I dropped them all in a plastic bag and shook. Then I put them in the fridge for about four hours while my St. Louis BBQ steaks cooked. Chris says to leave overnight or up to 24 hours. I can see how this would be sort of like a dry rub brine, maybe. And maybe leaving would have affected my outcome and how I cooked. However, if you want to put them directly in the oven after shaking or wait a few hours or a day, I think it’s all fine.
I think I used about 3 times the Chinese five spice as chili powder, salt, pepper and garlic powder. So the five spice was the main spice. I shook that on to almost completely cover one side of the wings. Then I shook a light layer of the salt, pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika (for those with a keen eye, I forgot the paprika this time around – paprika is also a nightshade for anyone keeping score).
Chris recommended cooking for 45 minutes at 375 degrees. I cooked for the first 40 minutes at 375 and realize the skin wasn’t crisping up, so I increased the temperature to 425. Next time I’ll cook them at 400 for the first 30 minutes, then turn the temp up to 425 for the last 10-20, or until the skin crisps. I checked the insides with my meat thermometer, and they were plenty done (nearing 185-190 degrees, but don’t worry, they weren’t dry).
So, here’s the official recipe:
Five Spice Garlic Chicken Wings
- Chicken wings, cut into wings and drumettes
- Chinese five spice (enough to mostly-cover one side of the wings)
- Chili powder (sprinkle lightly across all wings)
- Garlic powder (sprinkle lightly across all wings, more liberally if you love garlic)
- Smoked paprika (sprinkle lightly across all wings)
- Salt (sprinkle lightly across all wings)
- Pepper (sprinkle lightly across all wings)
*If you don’t like this “shake til covered” or “sprinkle lightly” description, you can also add the spices to a bowl and adjust until you like the taste.
Put the wings in a bag and shake to evenly distribute spices. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Increase temperature to 425, cook for another 10-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until skin crisps.