Although I’m not the nut of the sports fan that some of my friends are (you know who you are), you can’t deny that this year in Cleveland has been over the top for our professional sports teams, and thus the spirit of our people. First, our American Hockey League team, the Cleveland Monsters, garnered the 2016 Calder Cup Championship title. This was followed by our stellar Cleveland Cavaliers taking their first NBA championship. Like, ever. And now, we’re smack dab in the middle of cheering on our Cleveland Indians as they face the Chicago Cubs in the World Series! For real?
It’s been an intense year of sporting success for this town – the town that not so long ago was dubbed “The Mistake on the Lake”. Oh, and don’t forget the “Burning River” fiasco. Yes, that’s right, the Cuyahoga River actually caught on fire when sparks from a passing train ignited oil soaked debris that littered the waters. We caught national attention for that one. We’ve had our fame, but not in a way that we’ve always been too proud of.
Cleveland’s food scene is pretty rockin’ these days, too. Heck, we’ve been featured in the LA Times, Bon Appetit, and Eater. Each article listing their top picks as the “coolest”, “buzziest”, “hottest”, “ambitious”, and “extraordinary”. And would you believe several of these high ranking new restaurants are perched along the banks of the once burning Cuyahoga River, in a location long known as The Flats. Yep, we’re standing in the limelight!
So, with the World Series tied at only two games in, there will be plenty of need for snacks. Snacks to keep us from biting our nails. Have you ever had chipotle peppers in adobo under your nails?
This recipe for lip smackin’ saucy good chicken wings utilizes an unusual method to crisp up that skin before saucing the wings to bronzed perfection. The wings are tossed with some baking powder (do not use baking soda – you’ll have an icky mess) and salt before roasting low and slow for a stint. The baking powder draws the moisture from the skin to the surface of the meat where it is then evaporated when the heat is cranked up on the oven. Crispy, juicy, saucy yumminess. Now pass the celery sticks and blue cheese dip and let’s root on those Indians!
- For the Wings
- 20 whole chicken wings (about 5-6#) or 40 individual pieces, any combo of drumettes and flats (wingettes)
- 1½ tablespoons baking powder
- 2½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- For the Sauce
- 1½ cups ketchup
- 1 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo
- ½ teaspoon adobo sauce from opened can of chipotle peppers
- Juice from 1 lime
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with heavy duty foil and top with racks to enable air to circulate around the wings, crisping the skin on all sides.
- If using whole wings, separate into 3 parts; the drumette, the flat, and the wing tip, using a sharp chef's knife or cleaver, separating them at the joints. Add the drumette and the flat to a large bowl. Wing tips will not be used in this preparation. Using paper towels, blot any moisture on the surface of the wings so that your wings are completely dry.
- Sprinkle baking powder and 2 teaspoons of the salt over the chicken wings. Toss to coat evenly. Spread the wings out onto the rack topped sheet pan and place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, increase the temperature of the oven to 425 F, leaving wings in the oven until brown and crispy, 40 - 50 minutes more.
- While the wings are roasting, mix the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is homogenous. Turn off the heat and let pan sit on the burner until ready to sauce the wings.
- When the wings have finished roasting, ensuring a crisp, lightly golden brown exterior, brush them with the prepared sauce and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes.
*The wings can be finished on the grill if you prefer. Simply brush with the sauce first and place on the grill, cooking an additional 10 minutes over medium heat.
Here are some not so pretty pictures of the process of getting whole wings into wingettes and drumettes. I figured some of you might appreciate a step by step.
Will you be watching the World Series? What will you be eating?