(for cut and dry instructions without all the explanation, scroll to the bottom)
While on my quest for low-carb eating, I wanted to find a crispy fried chicken wing recipe that didn’t include flour, batter, bread crumbs, or any powdered carbs in general. The options that came up were to grind up pork rinds (da fuq?!) or use some Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s expensive alternative such as almond meal/flour. In my research, I realized that a TRUE buffalo chicken wing is actually fried without batter. But then how do they get it so crispy? The key is to fry your chicken wings, and then fry them again.
Most traditional chicken wing recipes say to fry your wings for anywhere from 6 minutes to 15 minutes at anywhere from 350F to 400F. However, they rarely come out with a nice crisp, and the longer you fry them, the more likely they’ll get burnt.
When frying your wings twice, you fry them slowly at a low temperature to ensure that the meat has thoroughly cooked through and then fry them at a high temperature quickly to get that desired crispy skin. The concept is similar to slow cooking a roast and reverse searing it.
When frying wings, to achieve optimal crispiness, you want your wings as dry as possible. I’ll typically salt my wings overnight, so the salt helps to draw out moisture. I had attempted to apply other dry seasonings during this process such as lemon pepper, but it just burned off in the fryer.
Once you’re ready to cook your wings, take them out of the refrigerator, pat them dry and let them sit at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes. This will help the meat cook evenly. During this time, you can preheat your deep fryer (or pot full of frying oil). Many recommend to do the initial fry at about 250F to 275F. Unfortunately, my deep fryer will only go to 300F. Once your deep fryer has reached it’s temperature, carefully load your wings into the basket. Be careful to not overcrowd them. If necessary, you can fry them in two batches.
At 300F, I fried my wings for about 12 minutes, but at a lower temp, you might want to do it for about 15 minutes. You’ll notice in the picture on the right that after the first round of frying, the wings looked plenty cooked. However, the skin still has a smooth, pale texture to it. Not quite what we’re hoping for.
Time to crank up the temperature and crisp that bad boy up! Again, many will recommend bringing your oil to 400F for the second round of frying, but for some reason, my deep fryer thinks I only need to fry things between 300F – 375F. Usually with this second round, I’m able to fit what normally took 2 batches into one basket, since the wings have shrunk significantly. With this second round, I don’t really have a set time to fry it, but play it by ear, literally. At this point, just cook the wings until you are content with the degree of crispiness. I usually cook my wings until I can hear that the spattering and frying has subsided. This usually takes about 5 minutes.
After you take them out, you’ll notice there’s significantly more texture to the skin. In fact, I’m often able to eat a majority of the wing tip (bone included) because it’s so crispy. That’s why I don’t cut them off and dispose of them like many often do. Now, all that’s left is to toss them in your favorite sauce and serve!
Basic Cooking Instructions
- Salt wings and let refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat deep fryer to 300°F (preferably 275°F if fryer can go lower)
- Remove wings and pat dry with paper towels, brushing away any salt. Let wings sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Fry wings for 15 minutes at 275°F or 12 minutes at 300°F. Be sure to not overcrowd basket.
- Remove wings from fryer and place on paper towels to cool, at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat deep fryer to 375°F (preferably 400°F if fryer can go higher)
- Fry wings until crispy
- Toss in sauce.