Even though my mama carted in wheelbarrow loads of glorious multi-colored produce from our backyard garden and made sure my brother, dad and I had a home-cooked meal almost every night, I would be remiss if I didn’t list chicken wings as one of my favorite childhood meals.
Not just any chicken wings —- the frozen honey-BBQ wings that came in frosty orange Tyson bags, which were then served with fruit salad and dipping sauce made of equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream with blue cheese crumbles.
Typically while reaching into a jar of mayonaise with a serving spoon to make the sauce, my mama will sometimes recalls the story of my father regaling her with a new food craze he had experienced during a business trip to Minneapolis: chicken wings with blue cheese sauce. At the time my mother was pregnant with me, and although she had no frame of reference for this taste memory, it “haunted” her in the way only hormone-fueled cravings can until I was born many months later. This new poultry sensation would not reach the culinary hinterlands of 1990s Wichita, Kansas for even longer.
I still often get hankerins for them myself, but due to the demand for boneless somethinorother and teriyaki-flavored whathaveya, finding a bag often becomes an arctic quest through the bowels of the frozen food section I’d rather not make. So after looking through many a recipe, I was able to cobble together what tastes remarkably like what I recall from, as Dolly Parton woud say, the seasons of my youth based on this Sassy Radish concoction.
- 1 lb. of chicken wings (I could easily take this down by myself, so I would recommend buying much more than this if you have multiple roommates, children, tribal husbands if living in a matriarchal commune or eating companions).
- 1 gallon-sized plastic bags
- 1/3 cup of chili sauce like Sriracha (If you’d rather take it down a notch in terms of heat, I would use 1/4 cup).
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2/3 cup of BBQ Sauce (If you want to use your artisanal sauce from the farmers market, get it girl. However, I just use Sweet Baby Ray’s Original. Don’t feel bad. This is supposed to be easy, friends).
- 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
- A handfull of chopped Vidalia onion or a few springs of minced rosemary if you’re feeling like mildly inconsequential risk taking
In a large bowl, mix all of your sauce ingredients together. If you are making more than 1lb of chicken wings, I would suggest putting two pounds of wings in each bag and 1 batch of sauce in each. Let the wings marinade in the sauce for at least an hour, and bake them on a cookie sheet or in a glass baking dish for 40-45 minutes at 375 American degrees.
The sauce is wonderfully easy. Depending on how many wings you’ve made, mix together equal parts mayonaise and sour cream/plain Greek yogurt. Mix in some blue cheese crumbles, and as Liz Lemon would say, BLAMMO.
As I mentioned earlier, fruit salad is sort of a must for me when eating chicken wings. My last mix was plums, peaches and black cherries. As a second side dish, I made this Mexican corn salad from Everyday Food.
If you anticipate having a stressful week, do yourself a favor and fix a bag of these to wait for you in the fridge. So when you inevitably come home late from a difficult day and just need a dinner you can throw in the oven before you trust fall onto the couch and turn on The Voice or another program that is equivalently like salad plate of Oreos for your brain, this dinner can give you the wings to soar again.