When it comes to making the perfect chicken wings, ensuring that you have succulent meat, crispy skin, and superior sauce adherence is imperative. But all too often, sauce drips away, creating overly messy wings without the bold, punchy flavor most crave. However, there's a simple technique that can help the maximum amount of sauce coat every inch of the wing's surface area: Dusting chicken wings with flour before cooking. This easy step transforms the wings into a canvas that both promotes a crispy texture and ensures that the sauce clings irresistibly to every inch.
Coating chicken wings in flour provides a slightly roughened exterior, giving the sauce a better grip on the surface. As the wings cook, the flour forms a delicate crust that not only seals in juices but creates the ideal foundation for the sauce to adhere. Just as a coating of flour helps wet ingredients cling better on breaded and fried, it acts as a liaison between the wing and the sauce, ensuring a harmonious marriage of flavors and textures.
This technique works best with oven-baked or air-fried wings, but can also be used when frying. Simply dredge the wings in flour after they have been seasoned with salt and pepper, making sure that a thin layer of flour evenly coats the entire surface. Then bake or air-fry as you normally would.
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Extra Crispy And Extra Flavorful
Beyond its sauce-adhering ability, flour introduces other desirable properties to chicken wings. For those craving an extra crunch, adding a touch of baking soda to the flour can work wonders. The baking soda alters the pH balance of the wings, breaking down peptide bonds in the skin and promoting a crispier texture during cooking. This trick not only elevates the overall mouthfeel but takes your wings to new heights of crispy perfection, which makes them a perfect foil for sweet or spicy sauces.
To further amplify the flavor and texture profile, consider enhancing the flour with complimentary seasonings. Garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, or a custom dry rub can be mixed into the flour, infusing the wings with an additional layer of complexity. Experiment with different flavor profiles by adding seasonings to the flour that balance out the sauce you plan on adding. A touch of dry mustard mixed in with the flour can provide a solid, sinus-clearing backbone for a honey-based sauce. Or, add a touch of smoked paprika or chipotle powder to amp up the flavor of barbecue-sauced chicken wings.
For those who are gluten-free, fear not, as this trick can also work with other varieties of flour. Consider adding a bit of rice flour or potato or gluten-less cornstarch to the wings. They will adhere just as well and create the same kind of surface your sauce needs. Or, simply add a hearty amount of dry rub before cooking for a crunchy exterior that is completely gluten-free.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.