I know I say I’m an enthusiast of lots of things like pie, pancakes and biscuits, and I am…but I’m really a professional when it comes to chicken wings. I’m a chicken wing professional.
If I’m having a bad day, Josh will usually recommend we go bowling and grab a basket of chicken wings. Just the sound of these two events make my terrible day almost an afterthought.
I’ve been reticent to make chicken wings at home because, well, I hate frying stuff at home. And I know you do too. We’re in it together. When I started talking about baking wings, Josh suggested I sprinkle the chicken with a mix of baking powder and salt, which promises super crispy skin, even in the oven. Josh is full of kitchen tricks.
And lo’ and behold, I did it! And guys…the skin crisped up soooo nice.
I can’t say it was identical to a deep-fry, but I will say the skin was crispy and the chicken was less greasy, which is always a plus in my book.
This process begins with sprinkling the chicken with a mix of baking powder and salt. And then the chicken is air-dried for about 4 hours in the fridge.
From my very weak understanding of chemistry and science, what’s happening when you’re using baking powder is this: the pH level in the chicken is changing, rising, actually. And as the chicken chills with the baking powder, the juice from the chicken skin is evaporating, resulting in crispier chicken skin. Serious Eats does a really fun experiment testing out some theories. And they also do a much better job at explaining it than me.
Now that I’ve bored you with pH this and whatever that, let’s talk about the sauce.
I had a lot of high hopes for my the initial sauce I was prepping (I even posted the ingredients on Instagram), but the sauce was awful. It was too sweet (no brown sugar, please) and even though there was loads of minced garlic, there wasn’t enough garlic flavor and the savory elements were barely there.
It took a few tries to get the sauce right but I think it’s dialed in. Now, there are more spices (hopefully you have most of them in your pantry), it’s less sweet and the sauce doesn’t need to be warmed up, just add everything to a bowl and whisk away. Super easy!
The wings are sticky and amazing, and only made better if you eat them cold (I love how the honey hardens). These are Game Day-worthy, guys. They are.
Hot Honey Lime Chicken Wings
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 pounds chicken wings and/or drummets
1/4 cup honey
Juice from 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 green onion, thinly sliced (for garnish)
1. Place a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Prep the chicken: wash the chicken wings, followed by drying them off thoroughly using paper towels. In a medium bowl, mix together the baking powder and salt. Holding a wing over the bowl, lightly sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the salt and baking soda mixture. Transfer the chicken to the wire rack and repeat the sprinkling-process with the remaining chicken. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and allow the chicken to dry, uncovered, for at least 4 hours, ideally 8 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Set the chicken on the racks aside for a second. Line the baking sheet with a piece of parchment or foil. Transfer the chicken wings and drummets to the lined-baking sheet, about 1-inch from each other (you may need to do this in two batches). Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Next, flip the chicken and cook for an additional 15 to 25 minutes, until the chicken skins are crisp and golden brown.
3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the honey, lime juice, garlic powder, red chile flakes, smoked paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander and ground ginger.
4. Brush the cooked chicken liberally with the honey-lime sauce; serve with wedges of lime and garnish with sliced green onion.