Football season has kicked off, which means … tailgates! We had our first tailgate for Wake Forest’s season opener last night and I had been really craving chicken wings… so I decided to venture into making them myself. Now chicken wings certainly don’t make anyone’s list of healthiest foods, but I figured if I could find a recipe with a great sauce and bake them, caramelizing the sauce would give it a little bit of a crispy outside without having to deep-fry them.
I don’t know what I was more excited about: Wake Forest’s 53-13 opening day win or discovering that chicken wings can indeed be very tasty without being deep-fried. Score!
(Ok, that’s the last of my sports jokes. They’ll only get me so far.)
Try these wings the next time you’ve got a tailgate or potluck to go, and no one will know that you’ve saved them from deep-fried madness.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
You’ll want to prepare the sauce first. In a large saucepan (not turned on yet), add together:
Cover your cookie sheet with tinfoil. This sauce makes a sticky mess, and it’s a whole lot easier to clean up this way. Then take about 2 dozen chicken wings, rinsed and patted dry, and lay them out on your cookie sheet. Spray with cooking spray or drizzle a little bit of olive oil, and then season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, flip and bake for another 15. (Total cook time: 30 minutes.)
The sauce may take 30 minutes to really thicken, and it may even take a litte bit longer. Remember, the thicker it is, the easier it will be to have it coat the wings.
Once you feel like the sauce is thick enough, put the wings in a mixing bowl and pour the sauce over. Toss to coat. I used tongs to do this.
(I also used the tongs to pluck out the ginger root, chile pepper and garlic clove. Didn’t want someone to bite into one of those!)
Put the wings back on the cookie sheet, and bake for another 10-12 minutes to caramelize the sauce. Reserve any extra sauce. If you can, serve when hot. I actually did make these the night before, and the day of the tailgate I just stuck them in the oven for about 5 minutes before we left to warm them up. Extra sauce can then be poured over them.
Sit back and watch the crowd cheer!
(Oops. That one snuck in there.)
Pro tip: Bring napkins, or even better, Wet Wipes with you. Sticky fingers will abound.
Stats: I wouldn’t claim these as healthy per se, but they certainly are a healthier version than the original. The sauce is fairly high in sodium, which is tempered by using the low sodium soy sauce but the ketchup and hoisin sauce still contribute to the sodium count. 75 calories per wing, 3.7 g fat, 426 mg sodium. (Teriyaki wing from BBW: 100 cals per wing, 7g fat, 550 mg of sodium.)