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Despite my cooking prowess, I have been known to repeatedly order out (often enough to Facebook-friend the delivery guy) when I find something I *really* like. Extra-hot buffalo chicken wings were one of those repeated orders (this was way before Facebook, though).
Wings from Pizza Extreme (which appears to be now owned by Pizza Pit) were the catalyst for my transition from sorta vegetarian to completely vegetarian in 1999.
I used to order the 1 lb. wings and the 1/2 lb. fries (checking the current menu makes me feel a little ill) and would mostly finish them. Thankfully, this was when I was merely 20—an age when routine digestion and regularity weren’t as important or, lack thereof, surprising.
That fateful, final order must have come during a time of self-reflection—or extreme delusion (I was 20, after all; both of the previous could have been true)—as I distinctly remember picking up a wing and seeing a handful of pinfeathers. I threw the piece back into the round, aluminum container and put it in the fridge for my then-boyfriend… if he wanted to hear about it while eating them later. Thus began my un-chicken, total vegetarianism for, what would turn out to last roughly 20 years (more on that later).
Fast-forward to now! *cue fast forward tape noise from the 80s* *put hair up in pony-tail and put on blue eyeshadow!*
I’m an adult now, so I can exercise conscious decision-making when selecting the food I choose to eat. And, since Costco’s chicken is damn inexpensive, I buy a lot of it. A lot. And I freeze it for next time. And then I buy more, because, as we say in this house, “IT AIN’T GUNNA GO BAD!”
I’ll get to the actual food now since we are all witness (see above) to what happens when I let a month go by without writing a recipe.
Many recipes suggest rinsing and patting the chicken dry before commencing. I’ll do this for the wings because I want to get the packaged liquid off, and the dry rub (well, toss) as close to the skin as possible.
Grab your favorite metal bowl and mix together 3 Tbsp arrowroot flour, 1 tsp each cayenne, garlic powder, and some salt and pepper (I almost typed “to taste”, but don’t taste this mixture cuz it’ll be like chalk).
Toss a handful of the wings in the bowl to coat, place on a prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and repeat until you run out of wings.
This is usually the point at which I realize that I’ve forgotten to turn on the oven. So, preheat the oven to 400° before you start the tossing process. When the oven is ready, put ’em in and set a timer. Mine goes something like, “Alexa? Set a chicken timer for fifteen minutes.”
While they’re enduring the first round of heat, you can make the blue cheese “cooling sauce”. Who am I kidding? This is just an excuse to get cheese into a meal that would otherwise be just fine without.
This takes some mayo, Mexican crema (or sour cream, or Greek yogurt), lemon juice, a couple of drops of Worchestershire, and crumbly blue cheese. We used celery and cucumber slices to deliver the sauce to our mouths. You can use whatever you have on hand.
The hot sauce is up to interpretation, so I’ll tell you how I make mine and you can adjust to your liking. Put a stick of butter in a small bowl and just barely melt it in the microwave, then squirt about a tablespoon of Sriracha in the bowl and stir it up.
By now, the timer should be going off, tell Alexa to hush, pull the wings out and flip each one over and set a ten-minute timer. Dance around the kitchen for ten minutes, pull the wings out and apply the hot sauce lovingly to each wing and put them back in for five more minutes.
Now, some folks would tell you to let them rest, but I say, throw caution to the wind! Plate ’em up and watch ’em go.
Hot Party Wings
- 4 lbs chicken wings party-sized
- 3 Tbsp arrowroot flour
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- salt, pepper
- 1/4 c butter melted
- 1 Tbsp Sriracha
- 1 c mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp Worchestershire
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 c sour cream, crema, or greek yogurt to desired consistency
- 1/2 c blue cheese crumbled
- vegetable variety celery, cucumbers
- Preheat oven to 400°, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Rinse and pat dry the chicken, lay on poultry-safe cutting board.
- Mix everything from arrowroot to pepper in a metal bowl.
- Toss chicken in dry rub until coated. Place on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping after 15.
- Melt butter and mix with Sriracha. Brush onto wings and bake for 5 minutes more.
Blue Cheese Sauce
- Mix everything together. Serve with celery and cucumbers.