How to Make Crispy, Perfectly-Sauced Wings at Home (If Inspired By the Wings & Beer Fest on Saturday)


  • Jessica Elizarraras

Wings. Even as the price of chickens and wings for that matter has increased, it seems San Antonians can't stop nibbling on that chicken wing.

Remember, there's only two per chicken.

As the city gears up for the first-ever Wings & Beer Fest this Saturday at Alamo Beer from noon to 4 p.m. — with 15 wing vendors such as Hot Joy, Twin Peaks, Kimura, Hangar Bar and Grill and Pinch Boil House as well as a craft market — it spurred a search for the perfect wing recipe.

"San Antonio is tacos and margaritas, which is great, but we have a lot of other great food vendors," says Wings & Beer Fest founder Erica Garcia, who tasked herself with organizing a wing-centric event this spring.

For Garcia, a good wing depends on its sauce. She leans into sweet and spicy and extra crispy — always paired with blue cheese.

Though you won't find Chris Cullum and his Attagirl wings at the Wings & Beer Fest, the wing purveyor shared some insight into how the chicken shack at the corner of Mistletoe and Kings Court makes magic happen.

"The recipe first came from my grandmother and grandfather, Nana and Poppy, who owned The Chicken Coop in Port Aransas," Cullum says while noting the Coop was inside a double-wide trailer. "They would crank out the best chicken."

He tweaked the recipe and added his own flavor profile to match San Antonio's needs with a spice blend he still won't disclose.

"People love fried chicken, it's not just wings .. they just happen to be the best part of the chicken," Cullum says. "Everyone says they hate dark meat, but hello, what do you think the wing is?"

So back to that recipe.

Unless you're a fan of at-home frying, I suggest using J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's recipe for baking crisp wings, which calls tossing the wings in 1 teaspoon of baking powder per pound, air-drying the wings in the fridge, and baking them in the oven at 450 degrees using a wire rack-topped baking sheet. Flip them halfway through.

The result is a moist wing with crispy skin that retains a solid crunch even after being doused in sauce. Skip the buffalo and go straight for a local sauce like Chilito's Kika Sauce (an insane blend of jalapeño, parsley and spices that make it a versatile sauce), chef Jason Dady's Local Yokel barbecue sauce (for a classic with a twist) and Humble House Foods' Ancho and Morita sauce (smoky, sweet from tamarind and with a hint of spice, this sauce is a game-changer).

Or you can join the wing-loving crows this Saturday. Tickets, $25, are still up for grabs.

So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.

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