To make the best chicken wings, you first need to work with the best-tasting and most tender chicken you can find anywhere.
Next, you’ll need the best chef’s method to cook them to perfection. We’ll cover that below.
And finally, you need the tastiest sauces to coat them with — our three favourites are covered below as well.
Wings or Drums, which are better?
While chicken wings are the more traditional style of finger food, drums give you more of the same dark meat, and are actually easier to eat, with one central bone instead of two. Different people prefer one or the other, so if you have a number of guests coming, you can also mix them up 50/50.
If you use our chef’s cooking method below, you don’t have to worry about different cooking times for different sizes, just throw everything together and they will all come out perfectly.
Depending what else you’re serving with them, we suggest making around 2 pounds of wings & drums for every 3 people. So for example, if you’re planning a get-together with 10 people, you might want to cook 3 pounds of wings and 3 pounds of drums.
How to cook wings & drums to perfection
Most home cooks make their wings in the oven. It’s easy to do — just lay the wings out on a baking tray, and bake for 40-45 minutes at 425°F (220°C), flipping halfway through. This works reasonably well, but it’s not the most ideal method — the thinner parts can come out on the dry and chewy side, and you run the risk that the meatier parts may be undercooked.
The usual restaurant method, deep frying, is not easy to do at home, and it can be messy and dangerous. Plus it’s also almost impossible to cook the meat perfectly, to get the thickest parts done without the thinner parts being overcooked.
Our favourite method is sous vide. If you haven’t already discovered sous vide cooking, it’s the absolute best way to make sure that 100% of your meat is cooked to the exact doneness you want. It’s also amazing for steaks, roasts, and many other recipes.
Sous vide consists of a water bath that you keep at exactly the right cooking temperature, and your food is kept in the water bath in sealed bags until it is evenly cooked through.
There are many different ways to heat the water bath — some Instant Pots have a sous vide function, or you can get an immersion circulator that mounts to the side of a pot or container. You can even just fill a cooler with hot water and a thermometer, and keep topping it up with boiling water from time to time to keep it at the right temperature.
You also don’t even need to thaw your wings, they can go straight into sous vide while still frozen. Just allow an extra half hour for them to thaw and get up to full temperature.
Sous Vide Chicken Wings Method
- Optionally, pre-season your wings & drums with salt and pepper, and seal them in airtight bags in single layers. You can use either vacuum sealed bags, or ziplocs with all the air squeezed out. If you’re using Whispering Meadows wings or drums, you can just throw the original packages into your sous-vide cooker, without pre-seasoning or opening them at all.
- Maintain the bags in your sous vide water bath at 146°F / 63°C for a minimum of one hour. Staying in longer won’t affect the meat, so just leave them in if you need more time. If using ziploc bags, keep the seal of the bag above water, and if the bags are floating too much, open the seal slightly to let excess air out while the rest of the bag is underwater, then re-seal.
- When you’re almost ready to serve, pre-heat your oven to the highest temperature it will go, usually 500°F / 250°C. Take the wings out of their bags, and dry them thoroughly with clean tea towels. Separate wings at the joint with a sharp knife. Then arrange them on baking trays with a bit of space between them, and crisp them in the oven for 5-8 minutes, turning once, until they are golden brown.
- Coat them with your favourite sauce(s), by tossing in a large bowl. Serve immediately.
This method is easy, comes out perfectly every time, and will give you the best wings that you and your guests have ever tasted!
Our Top 3 Wing Sauces
Choose one of these sauces for all your wings, or divide them up into different flavours. These sauces are quick and easy, so if you have a large batch of wings you can make all three!
Each of these sauce recipes makes enough for about 3 lbs of wings, so adjust according to your needs:
Easy Buffalo Wing Sauce: Melt 6 Tbsp of butter in a small saucepan with 2 crushed garlic cloves, and simmer until the garlic just starts to darken. Then whisk in 1/2 cup of your favourite hot sauce, plus 1 tsp Tabasco, and 2 Tbsp of red wine vinegar. Bring up to near boiling, then toss in a large bowl with your chicken.
Gourmet Teriyaki Wing Sauce: Dice a large yellow onion, and caramelize it in 3 Tbsp of olive oil. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves, then deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of dry sherry. Add 1/2 cup of tamari soy sauce, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1 Tbsp chili garlic paste (sambal sauce, optional), and 1 tsp ground ginger. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Toss with chicken, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Honey BBQ Wing Sauce: Melt 4 Tbsp of butter in a small saucepan with 2 crushed garlic cloves, and simmer until the garlic just starts to darken. Then whisk in 2/3 cup of hickory smoke bbq sauce, 4 Tbsp honey, and 2 tsp smoked paprika. Bring up to near boiling, then toss in a large bowl with your chicken.
Start with the best ingredients
You can’t make the best wings without starting with the best chicken. Whispering Meadows has consistently gotten rave reviews from all of our customers…
…and we think you’ll agree that you’ve never tasted more delicious and tender chicken.