How to get the crispiest chicken wings ever

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Football season is here, which may mean something special to you, but to us, that something means wings. Hot, crispy chicken wings. Whether you're baking or frying them, here's a little trick that will help ensure the skin becomes perfectly crunchy.

Before baking or frying, steam the chicken wings to get extra-crispy skin.

(1) Bring one inch of water to a boil in a 6-quart saucepan fitted with a steamer basket.

(2) Lay the wings in the steamer basket, being careful not to overcrowd. Batch if necessary.

(3) Reduce the heat and steam the wings for 10 minutes.

(4) Remove the wings and pat them dry, making sure no moisture remains.

(5) Let them rest 30 minutes before cooking them however you'd like.

Once the wings are ready, toss them in your favorite sauce and be prepared for a supremely crunchy bite.

As Alton Brown explains, the steam renders some of the fat from the wings, which allows them to crisp up more than they otherwise would. You can also let the wings rest longer in the fridge to dry out the skin even further, but steaming them is the quicker fix.

If you really want to go for the win, steam and let them rest in the fridge overnight. Just remember, if you take this route, you need to act before game day.

Related: A definitive ranking of the best fried chicken in America:

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Best fried chicken in the U.S.
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Best fried chicken in the U.S.

Michael Solomonov's Federal Donuts; Philadelphia

Federal Donuts’s simple, wickedly great business model—superb fried chicken and doughnuts—has proven so popular that five outposts now dot the city. The 24-hour-cured chicken is double-fried for extra crispness and come spiced or glazed, depending on the location, in flavors like chili garlic and buttermilk ranch.

Watershed on Peachtree; Atlanta

The Atlanta institution has undergone a number of changes, but new chef Joe Truex knew not to mess with Scott Peacock’s legendary fried chicken. Brined in buttermilk and fried in ham hock-flavored fry fat, the crisp, golden, utterly addictive chicken is now served both at lunch and dinner on Wednesdays—and sold out usually by 7:30pm.

Little Goat Diner; Chicago

Fried chicken makes all sorts of cameos here (including accompanying onion brioche French toast). But traditionalists should order the fried chicken plate, a half-chicken that’s been brined in buttermilk and hot sauce for 12 hours before being steamed and tossed in the fryer.

Yardbird Southern Table and Bar; Miami

Founded in 1950 by "Fried Chicken King" Harold Pierce, the chain thrives on a simple model: White or dark meat plunged in oil to order, and served with hot sauce.

Beasley's Chicken + Honey; Raleigh, NC

With extra-craggy triple-fried chicken paired with a thick, custardy Belgian waffle, Ashley Christensen’s take on chicken and waffles is “all about the textures,” she says.

Wayfare Tavern; San Francisco

The secret to TV food star Tyler Florence’s fantastically crispy and perfectly moist chicken: baking it at 200 degrees for 2 1/2 hours before coating with seasoned flour and frying in garlic-and-herb-infused oil.

Pies-N-Thighs; Brooklyn, NY

"I'm on the record as a fried-chicken freak," says editor in chief Dana Cowin, who wasn't disappointed by this cult Williamsburg spot known for fried chicken seasoned with paprika, black pepper and cayenne. "I adored its homey mood and comfort food." piesnthighs.com

Two Sisters Kitchen; Jackson, MS

Two Sisters' Kitchen, in a two-story house, opens only for lunch (every day but Saturday) and serves a buffet of soul food made with recipes culled from all the women in Diann I. Alford's family. "It's like Sunday lunch at your grandmother's," she says. Piled on Sisters' all-you-can-eat buffet: light angel biscuits; grits and Southern sides that might include turnip greens; and corn bread salad (Alford's mother got her to eat vegetables by adding chunks of corn bread). The one constant: "If the front door's open, we have fried chicken," assures Alford.

Momofuku Noodle Bar; New York, NY

Ordering the fried chicken at David Chang's East Village spot requires planning—you'll need a group of four to eight people, and you'll have to reserve the order online. It's worth the hassle. He serves two styles in one sitting: Southern with Old Bay seasoning, and a spicy Korean version. Diners can wrap hot pieces of meat in moo shu pancakes with a variety of sweet and salty sauces. momofuku.com

Harold's Chicken Shack; Chicago, IL

Founded in 1950 by "Fried Chicken King" Harold Pierce, the chain thrives on a simple model: White or dark meat plunged in oil to order, and served with hot sauce.

For the full list, visit Food & Wine.
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