Recently, while other people were contemplating the meaning of life and feeding the homeless, I found myself deep in a hot wings discussion. My sister and I, over a particularly disappointing version, got to talking about the perfect wings.
Our talk included a segment called “And Don’t Bring me any Honey-Soy-Ginger-Sesame Crap, Either!” in which we complained about and mocked the ubiquity of Asian-inspired takes on the great American snack. This trend is a familiar one, alas. Think about all the torture calamari has endured.
But out of this came a little light-bulb above my sister’s head. Sriracha. The beloved Thai chili sauce, she said, would be really good on wings…
That idea was lodged in my tiny brain until finally, I tested the theory myself. Readers, you’re welcome. You now have a plan for Super Bowl Sunday, whether you watch the game or not. These wings are not really “Asian” tasting, but have a delicious peppery flavor and creeping heat, without the “vinegar burn” of traditional American hot sauce. If you miss that, add a touch of vinegar. Duh.
Sriracha Hot Wings:
Fill your deepest, heaviest pot about 1/4-1/3 up with canola oil.
Heat to about 375 degrees (if you don’t have a candy thermometer, test with small scrap of chicken. It should bubble instantly and ferociously, but if you see smoke or smell burning, the oil is too hot.)
Pat dry chicken wings (separated and trimmed) and carefully drop them into the pot, in batches so as not to crowd.
Meanwhile, melt unsalted butter (about a stick for every 2 pounds of wings) and pour it into a measuring cup. Let it cool for a moment, and then add the same amount of sriracha (and vinegar and whatever else you want). Pour the sauce into a wide, shallow bowl and stir.
When the wings are golden brown, remove them with a spider or slotted spoon and drain them briefly on paper towels. Season with salt. Then toss them in the sriracha/butter mixture and serve on another plate.
As you proceed with frying more batches, the sauce may congeal as it cools. Don’t fret. The wings will be plenty hot enough to melt it again.