A perfect plate of chicken wings is more than doable for the home cook.

But there’s one lingering question: Are they better baked, grilled or fried?

With a bit of preparation, plus some tips and tricks from world-champion barbecue and Head Country Brand Ambassador Doug Scheiding of the competitive barbecue team Rogue Cookers, say goodbye to the days of dry, overcooked meat, soggy skin and flavorless party food.

First things first: Start by grabbing a batch of whole-wing sections from your local grocer. Using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, separate the wing tips from the rest of the wing, and then divide the drumette from the flat part of the wing. From here, it’s easy to rock all the tips and tricks below.

From there, which method should you use? Baked, grilled or fried? The truth is, there is no correct answer. The important thing, as always, is juicy, flavorful meat and crispy skin.

For fried wings, Scheiding recommends using a deep Dutch oven heated on your stovetop or grill.

If baking, bake the wings without sauce. Toss the wings in sauce after they have cooled a bit. Be sure to not overcrowd the baking sheet with wings. Each wing needs some breathing room so that the skin crisps, rather than steams.

Planning to grill your wings?

“Don’t cook hotter than 325 degrees with high-sugar sauces and rubs, or you will have a batch of burnt wings,” Scheiding said. “Dipping wings in sauce is both fun and delicious but avoid a mess and do not add them back to the grill after a dunk.

“If saucy wings are the local crowd favorite, whether the wings are baked, grilled or fried, just make sure the sauce is warmed before dipping the wings,” Scheiding said. “The result will be an even, shiny coat of sauce and the perfect sweet-and-spicy foil for crispy chicken skin.”

Head Country’s competition barbecue teams use Head Country apple habanero sauce right out of the bottle as a glaze for chicken wings. Head Country’s chipotle barbecue sauce is the star in Scheiding’s recipe, chipotle chicken wings with spicy honey glaze (his recipe follows).

Scheiding has his favorite buffalo sauce recipe for chicken wings: ½ Head Country Original BBQ sauce mixed with ½ Franks RedHot Original Hot Sauce.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

Serves 4

1½ pounds of chicken drumettes

1 lime

1 tablespoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon onion powder

3 teaspoons Head Country Championship Seasoning, Sweet and Spicy

1 teaspoon jerk seasoning

6 ounces Head Country Bar-B-Q sauce, The Original

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1 tablespoon fresh, chopped parsley (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is preheating, rinse and drain the chicken and place the wings into a large mixing bowl.

2. Squeeze the juice of the lime over the drumettes. Add salt and stir.

3. Stir in the onion powder, Head Country Championship Seasoning and jerk seasoning. Stir until the drumettes are evenly coated.

4. Place the drumettes into a baking dish, cover the baking dish with foil, and place it in the oven for 30 minutes.

5. Once 30 minutes have passed, remove the baking dish from the oven, uncover the pan and add in the Head County Bar-B-Q Sauce. Using a spoon or a pair of tongs, roll the wings in the Bar-B-Q sauce.

6. Place the uncovered wings back into the oven and allow them to cook for 20 more minutes. At the halfway point, turn the wings over, and using a brush, coat the wings with BBQ sauce from the baking dish. Remove the wings from the oven, plate, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and parsley, and enjoy.

— Adapted from Head Country

Beer-Brined and Barbecued Buffalo Wings

Serves 6 to 8

3-5 pounds chicken wings, trimmed

¼ cup olive oil

Head Country Championship Seasoning, Sweet & Spicy

Head Country Bar-B-Q, The Original

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Lime wedges, sliced, for garnish

Parsley leaves, chopped, for garnish

Blue cheese, crumbled, for garnish

For chicken wing beer brine:

8 cups cool water

2 bottles or cans of cheap beer

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup kosher salt

¼ cup white vinegar

1. For brine: In a 6-8 quart container, dissolve salt and sugar into water, then stir in beer and vinegar. Let brine rest until cooled to room temperature. Immerse chicken wings, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours, up to overnight. Remove chicken from brine and discard brine. Thoroughly rinse wings with fresh, cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Spread chicken in a single layer over a large baking sheet and place back in the refrigerator for 1-4 hours, to dry and tighten the chicken’s skin.

2. Preparing to grill: 30 minutes prior to cooking, preheat grill by turning half of the burners to high heat, while setting the other side of burners to low heat. While grill is warming, toss wings in olive oil and a heavy shake of Head Country Championship Seasoning. Rub oil and seasoning into the wings, coating thoroughly, and rest until ready to grill.

3. 2-Zone grilling: Lay seasoned wings directly over the hottest grill grates and sear chicken 3-4 minutes per side with the grill lid open. Then, turn down all burners to low, transfer wings to the cooler grill grates and close the grill lid. While finishing the wings over indirect heat, intermittently open the lid to baste one caramelized layer of Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce upon another until wings are cooked through, juices run clear, and have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove wings from the grill, brush one final time with barbecue sauce, and place under a tin foil tent for 5 minutes prior to serving.

4. Plating: Divide wings amongst serving plates and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with lime wedges, chopped parsley and blue cheese crumbles. Pair with additional barbecue sauce for dipping.

— Adapted from Head Country

BBQ Dry Rub Chicken Wings

Serves 4 to 6

For the wings:

4 pounds chicken wings, broken down into drumettes and flats

2½ tablespoons Head Country Bar-B-Q High Plains Heat Seasoning (or any Head Country Championship Seasoning)

½ teaspoon baking powder

For the BBQ blue cheese sauce:

½ cup Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce (such as apple habanero)

1 cup blue cheese dressing (or ranch)

Freshly chopped parsley for garnish

1. Place wings in a large bowl. Sprinkle the wings with Head Country Bar-B-Q Seasoning and baking powder. Toss to coat evenly.

2. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 8 hours.

3. When ready to grill, preheat grill to high heat (400 degrees). Once the grill is hot, cover and grill wings for 30 to 35 minutes, flipping them once halfway through cooking.

4. While the wings are grilling, make the sauce by combining Head Country Bar-B-Q sauce and blue cheese dressing in a small bowl. Stir until smooth.

5. Remove wings from grill and add to a serving platter. Garnish with parsley and serve with sauce.

— Adapted from Head Country

Three-Ingredient Chicken Wings

Serves 4 to 6

12 whole wings

Head Country Championship Seasoning

Head Country BBQ sauce (such as Hot & Spicy)

1. Remove wings from the package. Separate and discard the wing tip. Separate the flat and the drum. In a bowl, add the flats, drums and Head Country Championship Seasoning. Mix until coated. Place on a wire rack and refrigerate (up to 24 hours).

2. Set up your grill for two-zone grilling (coals banked on one side). This will allow you to cook indirectly (on the open side of the grill) and directly (over the coals).

3. Place chicken on the indirect side of the grill. With the lid closed, cook until wings reach an internal temp of 155 degrees.

4. Move wings to a bowl, add Head Country sauce and mix to coat. Place wings on the grill over direct heat. Rotating often, allowing the sauce to caramelize but not burn. Remove wings to the bowl with sauce, mix to coat again. Return to the grill over indirect heat and allow the sauce to set (2-3 minutes). The internal temperature should be 165 degrees.

5. Once the sauce has set, remove from the grill and serve.

— Adapted from Head Country


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Nicole Marshall Middleton

918-581-8459

nicole.marshall@tulsaworld.com

Twitter:nicmarshmid