According to the National Chicken Council of the United States, the concept of cooking chicken wings and coating in a sauce was first discovered in Buffalo New York at a restaurant called the Anchor Bar in 1964 by Teressa Bellissimo when cooking a late night snack for her son and his friends. Wings were on the restaurant menu the very next day unleashing a new industry and craze that she could never have imagined, with over 1.4 billion wings eaten during last year’s Super Bowl alone. …now that’s a lot of chicken wings.
From what I can remember, my first experience with the wing was while in college at the infamous Diamond Lil’s Restaurant in the old Skyline Hotel near Toronto, Ontario Canada. We were there a few Friday afternoons and the wings were free – a help yourself buffet that went very well with a beer and at the right cost for a student.
Today, every restaurant claims to have the best wings and the rage has spawned festivals throughout North America and as far away as London England’s “WingFest” known as the Chicken Wing Showdown held every July. The general consensus is that the wing must be crispy but can be flavoured with as many rubs and sauces as there are palates and from the Ritz Hotel to the corner pub, there is no social favour.
The most important ingredient, well that’s easy – find the best fresh wings at your local butcher. We found a place that sells huge wings with plump drumette’s and the meatiest flaps I have ever seen, and yet they are not fatty. Once you find a place like this, the rest is easy, which supports our Test Kitchen theme of keeping it simple.
Here is a tasty recipe that was recently enjoyed by our isolating university kids – feeds 5+.
Total Prep Time is 15 minutes and Total Cooking Time 1 Hour
25 Fresh Chicken Wings, approx.. 5lbs – we buy whole with drumette, flat and tip attached
Cut the tip off at the joint and discard – some people save the tip to make stock but we tried this once and it was just so/so and now we discard
To separate the drumette from flap simply feel for the joint between them and lightly separate and cut through. The first couple of times it feels awkward but by about the fourth one you will get the hang of it; or youtube below “how to cut chicken wings for beginnners”
The key to baking crispy wings is baking powder. You can use whatever your favorite rub is but just add the same amount of baking powder to the mix. Here is what the dragon lady likes to use and she always nails it.
1 tbsp each of: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, White Pepper (substitute black pepper if need be), Paprika and kosher salt. We sometimes add a tsp of Smoked Paprika
We add an equal amount of baking powder. ie 5 tbsp of rub mix above – add 5 tbsp of baking powder
Ah The Sauce
Use your favorite sauce, store bought or your own concoction. We generally make our own but do not follow a recipe and therefore never make the same sauce twice – let it rip a bit. But here is approximately what we make:
2 cups of ketchup, 2 tbsp of brown sugar, 1 tbsp of dijon mustard, a couple of dashes of worcestershire, a little smoked paprika, dash of lemon juice and a couple of squirts of sriracha.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
With wings in a bowl add rub mix while churning wings. Repeat the process until wings are well coated
Place wings on a no-stick sprayed grill (for easy clean) over a foil lined baking sheet
Place sheet in middle rack oven for a total of 1 hour, turning wings after the first 30 minutes.
These are ready to eat immediately when out of the oven, so place in a tall bowl and mix with your favorite sauce and enjoy.
We served with Caesar Salad and potato salad.
The defacto standard is to enjoy the wings with your favorite beer, but I like to pair with a good bottle of South American red wine – like a Chilean. These are generally very earthy and I find rich to the palette but will not take away from the baked wings. Just a note about the current South American reds; these wines rival any in the world and you can get a terrific bottle of wine for under $20.
Those of us who are not frontline workers are doing our best to stay at home and to stay out of the stores, except for when we need to acquire essential items.
I am currently blessed with a houseful of six adults. My husband and I, and 4 of our adult children – home from University. We are also shopping for my 91 year old mother, who lives in her own house but has her own caregivers. As 3 of our children have returned from separate households, located elesewhere in Canada, we are keeping everyone home, and doing only window visits and deliveries for my mother for now.
It’s pretty much impossible to get groceries delivered – our local supermarkets have only scheduled pickups – but their timeslots only go for 8 days and are all booked. So we are working with what we have. I wanted to share what we have been successful with in acquiring “stuff”. These sources work for us here in Ontario Canada area – but perhaps they can be of help – or if you can make any suggestions – please comment!
In Ontario, most stores other than groceries, pharmacies and liquor have now been declared non-essential, and are therefore open for curbside pickup only.
I am a big fan of Amazon, but I am finding many grocery items out of stock on Amazon.ca, so haven’t been able to put together a substantial order there. We did order some board games though! We have had a few game nights with old and new games.
We are only sending one person to the supermarket if we have to – once a week or less. Initially we found that toilet paper, paper towels, cleansers, spaghetti, rice and flour were out of stock in stores and online. Now some of these things are coming back in stock but things like cake and muffin mixes are out of stock. Everybody is baking!
For my mother, we have been placing orders for single serve meals and roasts from M&M Meat Shops– a prepared frozen food store – which allows us to place orders and schedule pickups. This means that her caregivers spend less time cooking her meals for now and have less contact with her food.
For baking supplies, cleaning and personal care products we have been ordering from Well.ca – which ships across Canada and the US – they are limiting some orders and quantities but doing their best!
For my mom’s personal care items and Boost – meal replacement I ordered online from Wellwise.ca.
My hair could use a visit to the hairdresser, so that’s not happening. I ordered some hair colour from Shoppersdrugmart.ca – I ordered 2 boxes because I could see the colour choices were getting out of stock – everyone is colouring their own hair now!! Another fellow in our house needs a haircut- the dog. Groomers are deemed non-essential but we can order grooming tools online for curbside pickup or delivery from Petsmart or Global Petfoods. We are trying to work up the courage to start this project. So far he has had a “bangs” trim.
Our home improvement stores are only available for pickup and online sales. I have ordered a toilet online for shipment (glamourous, I know!) and topsoil for pickup. Home improvement and gardening keep me occupied while staying home! I can only order white paint though – so I have custom tinted some paint in my basement workshop by mixing a few varieties. (Don’t tell my husband – he’ll be happy when he sees it on the wall tomorrow! What happens in the workshop stays in the workshop)
We are keeping the kids from the Starbucks drive-through, and so need to have the coffee ready at home all day. So of course the coffeemaker broke this week and we got a new one with an online order and pickup at our local Bestbuy. Imagine two slightly old people driving around town in the morning trying to place an online order on a phone – for a coffee maker without their reading glasses. We got one though and coffee was ready before any of the kids woke up to notice!
I had previously ordered some unique fruit trees from a specialty nursery not far from us. They are shipping the items now, instead of having me pick up my trees. (I can’t decide whether I’m more excited about the Pawpaw tree or the toilet sadly). Some of the larger nurseries in our area are doing online orders and curbside pickups too.
As for wine and beer, despite the fact that Ontario is still considering our Liquor Stores to be essential services, I have no plans of lining up for or shopping in close confines for wine and beer. I am happy to have brewed my own beer, but when I am out, I shop at small local breweries and wineries that pick my orders for me. Cheers, as always and stay healthy at home. Please let me know if you have a unique way to acquire supplies while physically distancing.
Thissite contains links for some products (Well.ca, Clearly/Coastal and Amazon) for which I am an affiliate and some (the rest!) for which I am not!