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In Which I Discover the Thrill of Chicken Wings

We were sitting around the office here at Rancho Gordo, thinking about how we'll spend our energies over the new year. There was talk about a Valentines Day promotion but I found it weird. We don't have to tie our product into every single holiday. Sometimes it's nice to not be a part of the noise. I'm not so keen on team sports but a surprisingly large number of people here are. And they love the food. I wish I could remember who thought of chicken wings for Super Bowl Sunday but I'm know it wasn't me. I know I'll sound like an elitist snob but I don't know if I've ever actually had them beyond eating the wing on a roast turkey. I did my research and it seems there are many ways to make them. Apparently a lot of people deep fry them and the obsession with those that don't is making a crispy skin, that will then be made not so crispy by tossing it in butter and Frank's Hot Sauce. I thought, we can do better than this. Being a novice, I found it weird that chicken wings aren't generally available fresh at my grocery store. They were only available frozen. Fine. The frozen bag seemed greasy and I really feared what strange door I was opening. I got them home and defrosted them and then went on to experiment with different techniques. The most bothersome and least satisfying was to marinate the uncooked wings and then pan roast them. They weren't very good. Another recipe suggested laying out the wings on a baking sheet after tossing them with salt and baking powder. Then you refrigerate them over night. My fridge is not a roomy place under the best of circumstances and it's downright crowded if I'm expecting company so it wasn't going to happen. I cooked them without the chilling and they were actually great. This is the shock for me: I loved them. I couldn't stop eating them, especially after I tossed them in a sauce made with our nutty Rio Fuego hot sauce. I also went the very traditional route and had Ranch and Blue Cheese dips for them but I have my limits. My son said it was desirable to dip them into the cool dressings but I think it's borderline gross. I'm no moralist when it comes to food but fatty meat, tossed in a butter sauce and then dunked into more fat is just too much. You're welcome to do this if you like and I'll just look the other way. To make the wings: Toss 1 ½ pounds of chicken wings, cut into drumettes and wingettes, with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Lay out on an aluminum foil–lined sheet pan and bake in a preheated 450F oven for 20 minutes. Turn the wings over and cook another 10 minutes or until cooked. While the wings are cooking, in a saucepan over low heat, warm 1 part butter with 1 part Rancho Gordo Rio Fuego hot sauce. Toss the cooked wings in the mixture, arrange on a platter, and serve immediately. Note: Before cooking the wings, blot them dry with a paper towel to help the skins crisp. So I ended up loving them. I don't think I'll make them any time soon but if I do find fresh wings on my journeys to the markets, I'll pick them up and have some fun with them again. I hear Asian and Latin markets often have them fresh at their butcher counters.

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