Whether doused in hot sauce or coated in a tangy BBQ glaze, there's something irresistible about the tender meat and crispy skin combination of a good chicken wing. And today, thanks to the convenience of air-frying, restaurant-quality wings can be made at home without the mess of deep-frying. Achieving that perfect texture, however, can be a bit of a challenge. The secret to cooking chicken wings that are both succulent on the inside and crispy on the outside lies in a two-step cooking process involving temperature.
First, we start with a relatively lower temperature, usually around 380 degrees Fahrenheit, to cook the wings through and ensure that the meat is tender. The lower temperature allows for even cooking, preventing the meat from drying out while giving the skin time to render a bit of its fat, which will help immensely with crisping. As the wings gently sizzle in the air fryer, you'll notice that they gradually take on a lovely golden hue. But we're not done yet! To achieve that coveted crispiness, we need to turn up the heat.
For the second stage, increase the air fryer's temperature to around 400 to 425 degrees. This surge of heat towards the end will rapidly brown and crisp up the chicken wing skin. It's a brief but crucial step that transforms your wings from good to glorious. Within minutes, you'll have wings that boast a delightful contrast: a tender, flavorful interior encased in a shatteringly crisp skin.
Read more: The 30 Best Chicken Wings In America
For Even Crispier Wings, Try A Little Baking Soda
To take your crispy chicken wings to the next level, consider applying a bit of baking powder to them before cooking. The alkaline nature of baking powder raises the wing's pH level, resulting in a drier surface. This, in turn, enhances the Maillard reaction, the chemical process responsible for browning and crisping. The result? Wings that boast an extra layer of crispiness that's practically irresistible.
To employ this trick, simply mix together your favorite seasonings and a teaspoon or two of baking powder, coat your wings evenly, and let them sit in the refrigerator for about an hour. Then, proceed with the cooking temperature trick as described earlier. The baking powder not only aids in achieving a superior crispiness but also contributes to a visually appealing golden brown finish.
Next time you're craving this classic snack, remember these techniques, and savor the crispy goodness. And if you don't own an air fryer, fear not; you can achieve similarly satisfying results in your traditional or convection oven. Simply follow the same method, adjusting the temperature settings accordingly. Just ensure that you have a wire rack placed on a baking sheet to allow proper air circulation and prevent the wings from becoming soggy.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.