Do You Put Hot Sauce on Wings Before or After You Cook Them?

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Making hot wings at home turns an ordinary Sunday afternoon football game into a full-fledged sporting event. By purchasing the wings raw and dressing them up yourself, you can create the same spicy finger foods served in some of the liveliest sports bars in the country. The secret’s in the sauce. Whether you are a fan of pre-cooked or post-cooked saucing, there's plenty to squawk about with homemade wings.

Original Recipe

According to legend, the hot wing first popped up at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, N.Y. in the '60s, though several cooks have since stepped forward to claim credit. Whether you believe this creation story or another, wing purists will fry the wings in hot oil before drowning them in a tart, spicy sauce and serving them up with blue cheese and celery.

Out of the Frying Pan

Cooks differ in their opinion on the best way to cook a wing. Some bake while others deep fry. Deep-frying wings gives them a crispy, crunchy exterior but wings might not cook all the way through if the fat's too hot. The best temperature for deep-frying is 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Don't add sauce before frying as the hot oil can strip it from the wing. After frying, toss hot, cooked wings in your favorite sauce to coat and serve immediately.

Lovin' From the Oven

Baking wings offers a lower-fat option while still delivering fully cooked wings with a crisp exterior. Bake wings unadorned on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until done, about 45 to 50 minutes. Add sauce and return to the oven for an additional 8 to 10 minutes until sauce loses its shine and turns sticky.

The Secret in the Sauce

Coating the wings with plain hot sauce won’t deliver the same mouth-watering appetizer found at those famous franchises. Whether you choose medium, hot or garlic, most sauce recipes include a commercial hot sauce, butter or oil, seasonings and, in some cases, a sweet ingredient such as sugar. Sauces can be thin – similar in texture to a glaze – or thick like ketchup or batter. Serve wings with more sauce on the side along with a dollop of ranch or bleu cheese dressing.