Friday, October 16, 2009

Chef Ray's No-Butter, No-Fry Hot Wings! (Insert)

Ok, this recipe isn't truly a part of the cookbook. I got this one for ordering the (now apparently defunct) cook's gift set from Achewood. It included the book, an apron, and the item that turned out to be the main ingredient for today's dish: Ray's Rad Chilies Hot Sauce:
So what is a rad chili, you may ask? Well, to put it bluntly, it is an invented slang word for a man (or cartoon cat)'s junk. In an alternate version of an early strip, Ray is being advised on how to treat a lady. Ray's question in this alternate version is "Can I still call my junk my rad chilies?" The phrase sort of took off from there. It's also the name of my fantasy football team. As an aside, in case I haven't explained who Ray is well enough, I think this picture on the side of the bottle sums him up rather succinctly.
If you can't read that, it says, "Every Weekday." This is how I like to picture Ray's weekdays (and any wealthy man of leisure, for that matter): Playing saxophone on the pier in a thong and a captains hat. Class.

Today's recipe is pretty much what its title implies: No butter, no fry hot wings. My family makes something similar to this; we call them Flood Wings. I'm not positive where the name comes from, but I've always assumed that they were first made during the big Iowa floods of 1993 and the name just stuck. I'm sure my parents will correct me in the comments if I'm wrong. I've never made them myself, but they're very popular at family gatherings. They bake in the oven and are a nice change from the deep fried treat guzzled at tailgating parties like potato chips. They have a nice, smoky teriyaki flavor without letting you forget that you're eating wings. As I start to cook more, I've been fascinated by the chicken wing. When you make a whole bird, you're usually told to throw it away. What entrepreneur had the rad chilies to say, "Don't throw them out, give them to me! I'll pretend they're desirable and sell them for millions!" ? Amazing.

Anyway, Ray's wings aren't entirely like flood wings. I have a feeling the method is similar, but the sauce is different. In this case, instead of whatever teriyaki my parents use, Ray uses his rad chilies sauce. You coat both sides and then coat them once or twice more during cooking. The real innovation here for me was what the recipe calls "lollipopping." The recipe only uses drumettes (and I agree that the other kind of wing is a pain in the ass), and you snip the meat at the thin end and push it towards the fat end. This creates a very convenient handle, virtually eliminating the mess. Observe:
I made these, grabbed a beer, and turned on football. It felt right. It felt natural. Ray's hot sauce is very flavorful. It may just be from one of those places that makes generic hot sauces and slaps labels on it, but it didn't really taste like it. Maybe I was distracted by the "Every Weekday" saxophone. It was a solid winner of a recipe that managed to be new while still reminding me both of my home and a favorite junk food. The only downside is that I ended up using about half of the bottle of hot sauce. The stuff isn't that cheap (including shipping), and you can only order it online. And now there's a recipe that uses most of the bottle? I smell a scam, Onstad. I want to make these in a larger batch for a party sometime, but I have to imagine I'll use a cheaper hot sauce that I can buy in bulk (as the recipe calls it, a "lesser-quality hot sauce"). It may not be exactly the same, but I doubt most people would even notice. They'd just be impressed that I turned on the oven instead of ordering wings from Pizza Hut. Most people are easily impressed. I'm rambling. Good night.


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