“Left wing, chicken wing, it don’t make no difference to me.”
–Singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie
I promised you recipes. No, I haven’t forgotten, because a friend—one who can take persistence all the way to peskiness—reminded me again that I promised you recipes. So, in honor of the Big Game That Cannot Be Named on Social Media, here is one of my prize-winning recipes for the perfect tailgate food—even if you’re tailgating in your own living room.
Rhonda’s Touchdown Wings
¼ cup maple syrup
1 large bottle teriyaki sauce
1 tsp chopped garlic
½ cup Tabasco sauce
½ to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
4-5 pounds chicken wing drumettes
Mix the first four ingredients, stirring well until the maple syrup has dissolved. If more heat is desired (I like mine combustible), add the red pepper flakes. (If you prefer very mild, teriyaki-flavored wings–we’ll call these Field Goal Wings–you may omit the Tabasco sauce, as well.) Now, I have to insist here that you use Tabasco sauce, in lieu of any other brand. Don’t make the mistake of using wing sauce, which, when diluted with teriyaki and maple syrup, will cause your wings to turn out bland, producing Five Yard Penalty Wings. You don’t want that.
Place the chicken in a large, lidded container. Pour the sauce mixture over the wings, and stir well. Cover the wings (shake them if the lid fits tightly). Marinate the wings in the sauce 6-8 hours or overnight. Don’t cheat and cook them after four hours or so. You want the seasoning to permeate the skin and leave you with moist, juicy Touchdown Wings, not Artificial Turf Wings.
For the very best flavor, arrange wings in a single layer on a hibachi, charcoal, or gas grill, and grill five minutes, then turn and grill another 3-5 minutes, until wings are done. If you want to prepare in your air fryer, arrange in a single layer at 375 degrees. Check after 4 minutes, turning or shaking your pan. Return to the air fryer for another three minutes. Monitor thereafter each minute until wings appear crisp and moist on the outside. I highly recommend checking one wing (the largest) for center doneness. NOTE: Air fryers differ greatly, as do their cooking times, so adjust the time for your model.
As another option, you can bake these babies in the oven. Simply line a cookie sheet with foil, and arrange wings in a single layer. Drizzle a scant amount of the marinade over the wings (not much, you only want to keep them moist, not drown them). Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, turning each wing over after 35-40 minutes.
Warning: If you make these wings for friends, know that you’ll have to make them every time there’s a football game, cookout, or picnic. There’s a reason I won a cook-off prize with these yummy little chicklets ($500, y’all!) and one bite will tell you why.