Alton Brown's Tip For Crispy Oven-Roasted Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are an American classic, common in households nationwide. In fact, America is so obsessed with chicken wings that Super Bowl Sunday sees the consumption of more than one billion wings. In 2022, the National Chicken Council predicted that Americans would eat roughly 1.42 billion wings over the course of the football game. 

Clearly, the demand for chicken wings is insatiable, but you don't have to order takeout — or travel to Buffalo — to enjoy game-worthy wings. Whipping up your own batch of crispy chicken wings is easy; All you need is chicken and a little seasoning for a football snack or entire meal alike. Chicken wings are perfectly versatile — as long as they stay perfectly crispy.

There's nothing more disappointing than flabby, loose chicken wings, but, with the right technique, you won't have to accept defeat. You can cook chicken wings in a multitude of ways, depending on your preferences and appliances. Food 52 outlines broiling, baking, grilling, deep frying, air-frying, searing, and braising. Each of these methods will surely cook your wings and fill up that game day platter. Yet for the crispiest of wings, you'll want to follow one method in particular. 

Celebrity chef Alton Brown has one simple suggestion to maintain and maximize the crispiness of your homemade wings. Brown's crispy chicken wings are the star of any game, and with enough finesse in the kitchen, you'll have the most satisfying of victories. 

Skip the fryer and save the oven for last

Frying is a common approach to making delicious chicken wings, per All Recipes. But Alton Brown's chicken wing technique forgoes the fryer altogether. Instead, he suggests steaming chicken wings prior to baking. This technique may sound counterintuitive (shouldn't wings be fried to maximize crispiness?) but steaming actually renders out the fat. Simply pop your wings in the steamer for 10 minutes. Once they've finished steaming, pat them dry and refrigerate for an hour. This process will tighten wing skins prior to baking, minimizing the loose, flabby parts.

Once the wings have dried and cooled, Brown roasts them in the oven for roughly 40 minutes. If you're feeling hungry, make a few extra wings. If you don't eat them right away, you can easily reheat them for another meal.

Kitchn echoes steaming, then roasting, as a foolproof option for preparing crispy and juicy wings. Steaming yields wings that are less greasy than those made in the fryer. The downside to this technique, per Kitchn, is that it requires specific equipment in the form of a steamer. But steamers are plenty versatile: Food Network promises you can cook all kinds of foods inside your steamer without the risk of overcooking ingredients in boiling water.