like LOVE chicken wings and this Carolina Reaper Baked Chicken Wing recipe hits the spot! So much so, that when I’m consuming them, I closely resemble a rabid, wild animal, that hasn’t eaten in days weeks; which is why I prefer eating them in the comfort of my own home where I can borrow my son’s bib and my cats don’t judge me. Because all lady-like etiquette goes out the door (not that I really had much, to begin with).
How to Make Healthy Crispy Chicken Wings
I’m going to let you in on one of my pet peeves. Soggy chicken wings. I can only think of a handful of things in life that are more disappointing than when I’m at a restaurant, impatiently waiting for my chicken wings, then being handed soggy chicken wings where the skin isn’t perfectly crispy and the layer of fat underneath the skin isn’t fully rendered out, so what you’re left with is a rubbery, chewy, disappointing, sad little chicken wing.
Well, I have THE BEST fool-proof method of making ultra-crispy, crunchy, and even HEALTHIER wings at home, in the oven!
(Yes there really is a god, and here is the answer to your prayers, and yes that is my son’s tiny hand in the corner trying to steal a chicken wing.)
The Hottest Chicken Wings Ever!
In my dry rub, I used a tiny amount of this Carolina Reaper powder from Sonoran Spice Company. This stuff is made from THE HOTTEST peppers in the world! Many people are under the impression that the world’s hottest pepper is the Ghost Pepper. WRONG! On the Scoville heat scale, the Ghost Pepper tips the scale at an average of 855,000 SHU and the Carolina Reaper, between 1,400,000 to 2,200,000!!!
Basically, the Carolina Reaper vs. the Ghost Pepper, is like Ali vs. Frazier, for all you boxing fans; pure power vs. popularity. This pepper is 880 times spicier than a jalapeno! So whether you just really love spicy food like me, or you just want to ruin someone’s day by destroying their taste buds (aka, your in-laws), you NEED this powder. Here’s where you can order it online- http://www.sonoranspice.com/collections/carolina-reaper
The Carolina Reaper Powder – Be Afraid
When I first received this in the mail, I wanted to know just how spicy this stuff was, so the first response was to stick my finger in the container and lick it off (NOT recommended by the way). I only got a few tiny specs, but my nose was running, my eyes were watering, sweat was coming down, and I was sneezing for the next hour. It probably should be renamed “Carolina WEEPER” powder… (NOTE TO SELF- they really weren’t lying when they say this stuff is hot!) but surprisingly enough this pepper does have some sweetness to it. It causes a slow burn, about 30-60 seconds before you start feeling the burn, but be careful because even though these wings won’t taste extremely spicy at first, you’ll have a good sweat kicking in within the next 30 minutes; which in my personal preference, should be the case in any good hot wing!
I only added 1/4 teaspoon per 2 lbs of chicken wings, which made them hot, but not too spicy. If you prefer mild-medium wings, you may want to add 1/2-3/4 of that amount (this container will last you and whoever else is in your will, a LIFETIME!) I know there’s going to be the tough guys out there that think they can handle double, triple, maybe even quadruple the amount of Carolina Reaper powder that I put, so go ahead, add more. By all means, add a full teaspoon! Just make sure your mommy is there to hand you a box of tissues when you’re crying, and maybe even a sharp pair of scissors in case you need to amputate your tongue.
Getting the Wings in the Oven
Now for how to achieve THE CRISPIEST Carolina Reaper chicken wings. The first thing you must do is pat your wings dry with a paper towel. If there’s too much excess moisture on the skin, they will just steam and not crisp up. Once your wings are patted dry, season them with your seasoning mixture (see recipe below), then toss them in a small amount of flour. I used a paper bag to coat the wings in, but I’ve also just thrown everything on a large plate and tossed them with a pair of tongs.
Make sure you line your rimmed pan with some foil AND spray it with cooking spray. Lay down your wings skin side down and spray with more cooking spray. (this will help them crisp up even more!) I like to start them skin side down, or at least the side with predominantly more skin. That way you end up with that ultra-crispy skin on top once they’re done.
Now crank up that oven to 400 degrees and bake them for 30 minutes, take them out and flip over, then return to the oven for an additional 30 minutes.
They won’t feel super crispy when you first take them out of the oven, but let them cool for a few minutes on a paper towel-covered plate to soak up any excess grease. You’ll notice quite a bit of fat in the pan which is a good thing! that’s all the fat that was under the skin that would have made your wings soggy and chewy (and your waist thicker).
And there’s my son again sticking his finger in the ranch… I finally had to give him one to gnaw on just so he would leave them alone!
The End Result? The Perfect Carolina Reaper Baked Chicken Wings!
I have tried countless baked wing recipes that promised they would turn out golden crispy, and countless times, I was let down, until I came up with my own method. Just look at how crispy THESE are! You will NEVER know they weren’t fried!
I’m not usually picky about most foods, but I definitely am a wing snob, and so is my dad. Perfect wings HAVE to be crispy, moist, and have tons of flavor besides just heat. THESE ARE THOSE WINGS! I ate a whole lb of them in the car in 5 minutes flat. Not sure if I should be ashamed or proud of that?
Since these wings are healthier than traditional fried wings, I stuck with a lightened-up homemade ranch made with greek yogurt, because every good wing needs a good ranch.
So let’s recap. For the crispiest, Carolina Reaper baked wings you need to-
- Pat the wings dry with a paper towel
- Coat with a small amount of flour to absorb any excess moisture
- Cook them long enough for the fat to render out
- Use a flavorful dry rub instead of a wet sauce
- Cool them off on a paper towel
Dip. Eat. Repeat.
Carolina Reaper Baked Chicken Wings
- 2 pounds chicken wings
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Sonoran Spice Company Carolina Reaper Powder
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Combine spices into a small bowl and set aside.
- Pat wings dry with a paper towel and season with the spice mixture. Coat with flour and place them skin side down onto the pan.
- Spray with cooking spray and bake for 30 minutes. flip then over and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Place them onto a paper towel covered plate and let cool for 5 minutes.