Roasted Buffalo Chicken Wings


All the flavor of bar food, easily done at home.
TIME 1½ hours, mostly unattended
MAKES 6 to 8 servings
1 cup yogurt, sour cream, or mayonnaise
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 4 tablespoons hot sauce
4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, melted
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 pounds chicken wings
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 to 12 celery stalks, cut into sticks


Method
1 Heat the oven to 400°F. To make the dressing, whisk together the yogurt, blue cheese, and lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Refrigerate it while you make the wings or for up to a few hours. Combine the hot sauce, butter, vinegar, and garlic in a small bowl.

2 If the wings are not already divided into 2 pieces, cut them apart through the center of the joint with a chef’s knife or scissors. If the pointed tips are still attached to the lower sections, remove them to save for stock or discard.

3 Put the chicken wings in a large roasting pan, drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then spread the wings out in a single layer. Put the pan in the oven and roast, undisturbed, until the bottom is coated with fat and the wings are beginning to brown, 25 to 35 minutes. Brush the wings with some of the drippings, then carefully spoon out as much of the liquid as possible. If the wings are still sticking to the bottom of the pan, return them to the oven until they release easily, another 5 to 10 minutes.

4 Turn the wings over, brush again with drippings, then spoon off any more fat. Return the wings to the oven until browned and again release easily, 15 to 20 minutes.

5 Raise the oven temperature to 450°F. Spoon off fat for the last time. Drizzle the wings with the hot sauce mixture and toss to coat; spread them out in a single layer, and return them to the oven. Cook, tossing once or twice, until crisp all over, 5 to 10 more minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature, with the celery and blue cheese dressing.

Variations
  • Roasted Chicken Wings with Spicy Soy Glaze: Skip the blue cheese dressing, hot sauce, and melted butter. Replace the vinegar with lemon juice. When you make the glazing sauce in Step 1, add 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, 1 minced fresh hot green chile (like Thai), ¼ cup soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil. Continue with the recipe, using this sauce to coat the wings in Step 5.

Tips
  • For the tangiest, lightest dipping sauce, choose yogurt. Sour cream and mayonnaise are both richer, with their own distinctive tastes. Want tang and richness? Use a combo.
  • Hot sauce is a matter of preference. For this recipe, use as little or as much of whatever type you like.
  • The wings will tell you when it’s time to turn them: They’ll release easily. If you have to yank, they’re not ready.

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