It’s football season, and what could be better than some chicken wings to go with your beer as you watch the game? Ever wonder how wings got to be one of the foods most associated with American football?
Well, according to the National Chicken Council, it really begins with the invention of Buffalo Wings back in 1964. The story goes that one of the co-owners of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, Teressa Bellissimo, cooked leftover wings in hot sauce as a late-night snack for her son and his friends. They guys liked them so much that the wings were put on the menu the next day. The “Buffalo Wings” were an instant hit with the locals.
So then the guy who sold hot sauce to the bar went on the road with the owners’ son to promote the wings and sell his hot sauce, and hot wings gradually caught on with restaurant operators around the country.
After that, the correlation of wings to American football was all timing.
In the 1980s, U.S. consumers started preferring boneless-skinless breast meat, and wings became an inexpensive byproduct for chicken producers. Restaurants and bars then realized they could make money off of the cheaply obtained wings, and that the spicy sauce made people drink more beer, further enhancing their bottom line.
Shortly after that, in the 1990s, sports bars with multiple TVs and satellite dishes were becoming more and more common. And, since the most popular sporting event to watch with friends in bars is football, wings were forever bonded to football.
So, then, on to my version.
These are not Buffalo style wings (though I love those, too), but rather a dry rubbed baked version, which makes them a bit less messy and easier to prepare than the deep fried and sauced types.
These have been tested by my husand, and also our 24 year old son (back home with us for awhile while he completes his clinicals for physical therapy school) and a couple of his PT classmates who came over to watch football on our bigscreen. So, these have been approved by actual people watching actual football and drinking actual beer, which to me is the highest endorsement for a chicken wing.
A couple of notes – please be sure to use smoked paprika, or the result will just not be the same. (Yes, I know I’m obsessed with the stuff, but it really does make a difference). As you make the rub, be sure to note the shift from tablespoons to teaspoons in the recipe, so you get the intended ratios of spices.
As for the wings, in this recipe I am referencing complete wings, which I break down into drumettes and flats myself with kitchen shears. So, 20 complete wings will result in 40 separate pieces. If you don’t want the work of breaking the wings down, you can obtain them already broken down (usually in the frozen section in bags) for an upcharge. Also note that you don’t have to use all of the rub made here for the 20 wings – just use enough to color them up, and save the rest for another batch of wings.
Finally, it is important to bake these wings on a rack, so that they are not sitting in their own grease and getting soggy. Put the rack on a foil lined cookie sheet, spray the rack with non stick, and you are good to go with easy cleanup.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce – for us, it’s ranch (none of that stinky blue cheese is allowed in my house), but if that’s what you like, go for it. Enjoy!
Game Day Dry Rubbed Wings
- 20 chicken wings, cut into drumettes and flats, or 40 pieces
- 2 tbsp vegatable oil, or enough to coat wings
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp fine kosher salt
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried mustard
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- Combine all dry ingredients and mix well.
- Place wing pieces in a large bowl with vegatable oil, and mix to coat.
- Sprinkle rub mix onto wings gradually, mixing to coat, until the wings are just nicely colored up, as pictured. (The amount of rub in this recipe will coat more than the 20 wings or 40 pieces, so don’t use it all at once).
- Place wings, not touching each other, on non stick sprayed rack placed on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 400° for 40-45 minutes, until nicely browned.