Chicken wings are one of America’s biggest culinary obsessions, especially on Super Bowl weekend, when an estimated 1.3 billion wings are gobbled up. Whether you marinate or mop, grill or broil, choose sweet or spicy, wings can be a satisfying canvas for your creative juices. Unfortunately, they can also be a portrait of overwhelmingly fiery flavors or gloppy, greasy messes.
To up our game on the wing front, we consulted some renowned toques from around the country to discover their secret sauces and techniques. Read on for five favorite recipes that bring on the heat—and the flavor.
The Chef: Eduardo Garcia
Why He’s Our Wing Man: Chef Eduardo Garcia has cooked for the royal, the rich, and the famous. During a Montana hike in 2011, he was electrocuted and had an arm amputated. Undeterred, he went on to open the national food brand Montana Mex. He’s the subject of the documentary Charged and is a spokesperson and athlete for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
His Wing Tip: Marinating wings for at least a day ensures juicy, flavorful results.
The Chef: Dominic Rice
Why He’s Our Wing Man: The Florida native has cooked at Gary Danko in San Francisco and Jean-Georges in New York City, and now he helms Calissa in the Hamptons, where he pairs local Long Island seafood, produce, and wines with classic Greek ingredients.
His Wing Tip: Baking and then grilling will give you wings that are both well cooked and charred until crisp for the best of both cooking techniques.
The Chef: Michael Reich
Why He’s Our Wing Man: The JW Marriott Chicago executive chef started his culinary career mastering the art of egg-roll rolling at a Chinese restaurant, and he hasn’t looked back since, working in some of the city’s finest kitchens.
His Wing Tip: Frying yields a crisp wing that is surprisingly ungreasy if the oil is the correct temperature. To ensure this, bring the wings to room temperature before cooking.
The Chef: Chris Montero
Why He’s Our Wing Man: Montero, who became a professional chef at 40, hails from a line of mighty fine Louisiana Creole cooks. He has spent his career working for Ralph Brennan in New Orleans, running the century-old Napoleon House as well as Café NOMA.
His Wing Tip: The type of hot sauce you use matters. While traditional Buffalo wings call for Frank’s, Montero likes Crystal Hot Sauce for its milder heat and acidic intensity.
The Chef: Robert Wiedmaier
Why He’s Our Wing Man: Michelin-starred chef has more top D.C. restaurants to his name than almost anyone, from Le Pavillon to the Four Seasons, from the Watergate to his latest, Siren. His RW Restaurant Group now includes seven spots in the D.C. area.
His Wing Tip: Pairing unexpected flavors is the key to cooking success, especially with a universal canvas like chicken.