The Safety Step To Take Before Cutting Chicken Wings

The fear of all things chicken-related isn't something to be taken lightly. There's even a name for it –  Alektorophobia. But, as rare as this condition is, concerns remain with most people about how to safely prepare chicken. Do you feel nauseous at the mere thought of breaking down the wings of a chicken? With over 81 million TikTok views of #rawchicken, we feel you. Handling raw chicken may seem gross and even slimy if it's past its prime.

Even if your chicken wings haven't gone bad, the concern of raw chicken containing salmonella and harmful infections is something you may worry about. So the question to wash or not to wash begs attention. Although if you think washing the wings first is a great prep choice, think again. The bacteria you think you're washing off ends up in the sink, which can cross-contaminate other foods. Rest assured that the cooking process will take care of that situation, given the proper cooking temperature. 

But let's face it: Raw wings can be slippery little suckers which can add to your apprehension during the butchering process. No one wants to make a trip to the emergency room because their knife slipped while navigating a slick chicken wing unnecessarily. Instead of grabbing a few towels to wrap your wound, use them as a precaution by giving the raw wings a thorough pat down first to take away that slimy encounter. 

There's a safer way

It's as simple as patting the chicken wings completely dry with paper towels or dry cloths. Ease your fears of the aforementioned gross parts while eliminating the risk of food poisoning that your sink might have picked up otherwise. Start with several towels on your cutting board where you'll space out the wings. Then press more towels on top of the wings, paying close attention to the joints and crevices where moisture may be hiding out. Make one more pass with a fresh towel to remove any remaining moisture. Also, remember to discard or sanitize the towels after each use for an extra layer of safety. 

Not only will this method of drying raw poultry make it easier for you to hold onto the wings while breaking them down, but it also helps the crisping process. The reason is that you're removing any excess moisture which could otherwise create steam leaving behind soggy skin. Upon cutting up the wings, if the recipe calls for a marinade, drain the seasoned liquid and repeat the process to ensure the ultimate crispy skin. But even if the crispiest of chicken skin isn't your end goal, safety should always be considered first and foremost. If chicken wings are what's for supper tonight, a little dab or two will do. And it will be well worth this extra step.