I don’t know when spicy stuff like chicken wings became my comfort food. At one point if you had asked what my idea of food to soothe the soul was, I’d have said macaroni and cheese or risotto with parmesan or tomato basil soup. At some point comfort simply became “spicy.” I’m fairly ecumenical: Thai, East Indian, Cajun, Szechuan, fresh chilies, dried, ground, cooked in the dish, pickled in vinegar and just plain ol’ hot sauce in
a bottle. When I started eating on the low/er carbohydrate end of the food chain many years ago, wings were (and are) one of the easiest meals to order on any menu. A good burger or pizza joint nearly always has wings, as do most casual places that serve cocktails.
All unbreaded wings are good wings as far as I’m concerned, though some are better than others. My all time favorites have to be from Apex Wings (the former EmR Wings), their medium is spicy enough for most tastes with a tangy kick and an underlying ground celery flavor that we suspect comes from celery salt or some similar seasoning mix. If you want a super spicy thrill, go for the “Shearon Harris” or the “Habanero.” For you out-of-towners – Shearon Harris is the local nuclear power plant.
I’ve never felt the need to re-create their exact recipe at home; Apex Wings cooks them super crispy in the deep fryer and the sauce is unbeatable. They are so popular on big game days, they have been known to take pre-orders and leave the phone off the hook. This recipe is an homage for those nights when you need something that tastes like wings, but has a little more meat on the bones.
12 chicken drumsticks
1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (Use your favorite brand, I’ve used one from Whole Foods bulk section and one from McCormick’s which is sold at most grocery stores.)
½ teaspoon of celery salt
½ cup of hot sauce plus an additional ¼ cup (Frank’s is my favorite for wings at home.)
You will not need any additional salt or pepper as there is plenty in the seasoning mixes.
Place the chicken drumsticks in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle all sides of the drumsticks with the Cajun seasoning and celery salt. Pour ½ cup of hot sauce over the drumsticks and mix around until the sauce evenly coats the chicken.
Pre-heat oven to 365 degrees. Place chicken in roasting pan or on a cookie sheet. I use a “jelly roll” pan, a cookie sheet with sides, covered with a silipat liner or parchment paper.
Bake the chicken legs for 30 minutes, then brush (or shake out of bottle) the additional ¼ cup of hot sauce over the tops of the chicken. Bake 20-30 more minutes until cooked through.
Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing, or a nice tossed salad.