Though I'm nowhere near a die-hard football fan, I can appreciate the tactical slow burn of a good game — and during the Superbowl, I can definitely appreciate the food in all its greasy glory. What other day of the year can you completely give yourself over to chips and dips, nachos, sliders, beer and wings?
Mmm, wings. I've never tried to make them at home because I didn't think I could achieve the perfect crispness that comes from a deep fryer. So I rely on others for a fix. And a few weeks ago, I downed some pulse-stopping sweet and tangy wings — plump Misty Knoll beauties glazed with a maple-barbecue sauce and crumbles of Bayley Hazen Blue cheese melting into their sides.
What genius had thought to meld blue cheese right into the wings, rather than serve it on the side? That would be Phillip Clayton, executive chef at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill. Clayton hails from North Carolina, so he knows a thing or two about wings. And he's also good spirited enough to share his recipe with the football-watching masses. Lucky us!
First, though, know you might not be able to exactly duplicate the Farmhouse version at home: Clayton and his crew cure, smoke, confit, fry and then glaze these wings before they arrive at the table — it takes hours, but the process lends them the smoky, complex flavor that goes so well with a pint of black lager. With some patience, though, you can come close. And maybe even bring a few sticky-fingered Pats and Giants fans closer together, at least at a party. Wings, the great uniter.
Maple BBQ-Glazed Local Chicken Wings
(Courtesy of executive chef Phillip Clayton of the Farmhouse Tap & Grill)
12 whole chicken wings, preferably local (Clayton uses Misty Knoll)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
For the BBQ sauce:
½ cup diced yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon canola oil
1¼ cup ketchup
1/3 cup Vermont cider vinegar
1/3 cup Vermont maple syrup
1 tablespoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
For frying and serving:
Enough canola oil to fill a home deep fryer, or a frying pan three inches deep
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese (or some other blue cheese)
Rinse wings under cool water and pat dry. Toss with kosher salt and refrigerate overnight.
To make the BBQ sauce, sauté onions and garlic in oil until tender. Add the remaining ingredients, stir thoroughly, and simmer on very low heat for approximately 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Rinse the wings again, and dry them thoroughly. Fry the wings in 350 degree canola oil until the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees (about 8 minutes), turning once.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter into ½ cup of the BBQ sauce. Toss the wings with the sauce and lay them onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle one teaspoon of Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese onto each wing. Place the wings in the oven for about four minutes in order to glaze the wings and melt the cheese. Remove from oven, and serve immediately.
(Chef's note: For a healthier version, you can bake the wings in the oven as opposed to frying them — but to achieve crispness, sauté for a minute in oil before tossing with sauce and serving.)