Chicken Wings: To Bake or To Fry? The Delicious Dilemma!
Image Credit: Chicken wings

Chicken wings are often associated with Buffalo chicken wings, a popular dish in American cuisine. For those unfamiliar, these wings are unbreaded and coated with a thick cayenne pepper and melted butter sauce. While deep-frying is the traditional cooking method, baked versions are also available.

So, which one is actually better? Chicken wings usually come in different forms. They are either drums or drumettes with a single bone that resembles a chicken leg, or flat wingettes with two small bones attached to each other. It is said that chicken wings have a higher skin-to-meat ratio as compared to other kinds of meat cuts. As a result, they are more flavourful than other cuts.

However, whether you deep-fry or bake these wings makes all the difference. In the first case, the chicken wings get a crispy outer layer without any breading, the skin caramelizes, and the meat tenderizes faster. For deep-frying, the chicken wings are dunked in a pool of pre-heated oil and fried until they turn crispy and golden brown.

For the latter, i.e., baking, the wings attain a smooth skin that makes it difficult to hold the sauce and soak it up. Since the ultimate goal of chicken wings is to be dipped in a hot, flavourful sauce and absorb its spices, deep-fried chicken wings work better. They have bubbly, crackly skin with nooks and crannies where the sauce can seep in. In the case of baked chicken wings, the smooth, tight, and slick skin isn't the best way to flavour the meat with a sauce.

The blistered skin of the deep-fried meaty bites lends more surface area, which in turn enables the sauce to be soaked up properly. Not just this, some suggest that one can steam the wings in a pot of water before frying them. This helps to tenderize the meat and requires less time for them to be fried in oil. Another interesting way to make chicken wings is to bake them before frying. This again helps to reduce cooking time, making them slightly healthier than their deep-fried counterparts.