All through the summer, our family counts down the days until football season starts again for our favorite college team. September is finally here, and the wait is over! Our team is 2-0 so far. If we don’t have tickets to the game, we usually have a watch party with our favorite game day foods, like these baked honey barbecue wings with easy ranch dip. My family loves these wings so much, I make them even when it’s not football season.
One thing that ruins wings is soggy skin. The wings need to be cooked long enough that most of the fat gets rendered out of the skin, but not so long that they dry out. Most restaurants fry their wings, but you can get perfectly crispy, restaurant-style wings from the oven if you know a few secrets.
Surprisingly, one of the secrets to crispy baked wings is to parboil them first. Normally, I wouldn’t suggest boiling chicken except for soup, but with this recipe, parboiling helps remove some of the fat you don’t want.
Place the wing segments in boiling salted water, then heat until the water returns to a boil. Continue boiling for about 8 minutes. While your wings are parboiling, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray it with cooking spray.
Drain the boiled wings in a colander, then put them on a wire rack to dry. Once they have cooled a bit, dry them thoroughly with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
Arrange the wings on the foil-covered baking sheet, skin side up, with plenty of air space between them. Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning salt. At this point, they’re ready to go into a nice hot oven:
Bake the wings for 25 minutes, until browned, then flip them over with a rubber spatula. Bake another 5-10 minutes.
While the wings are in the oven, you can make the honey barbecue sauce by stirring together prepared barbecue sauce with honey, melted butter, garlic salt and a dash of hot sauce. I usually don’t love a sweet barbecue sauce, but honey pairs beautifully with chicken. The garlic salt and hot sauce add a depth of flavor and a hint of heat that make the sauce perfectly addictive.
While the wings are baking, it’s also a good time to make a quick and easy ranch dip. You can make your own ranch dip by blending mayo, sour cream and ranch dressing mix or seasoning. I like to use homemade ranch dressing and seasoning mix – it’s super easy and tastes better than store bought. If you can, make the ranch dip at least 1/2 hour ahead of time so the flavors have time to blend.
After baking, the wings will be browned and crispy – no deep frying required!
Pour the sauce over the wings and stir gently until they are well coated. I use a big mixing bowl for this step:
I usually make a big plate of these honey barbecue wings and a big plate of Buffalo wings on game day. My family loves this dish, even though some of them normally prefer boneless chicken. Carrot and celery sticks are a traditional fresh accompaniment for wings, and with the dip you have savory, sweet, spicy, creamy and crunchy all on one plate!
Baked Honey Barbecue Wings with Easy Ranch Dip
For the ranch dip:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon ranch dressing or seasoning mix
For the wings:
- 24 chicken wing segments
- Kosher salt
- Seasoned salt
For the honey barbecue sauce:
- 2/3 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- Dash hot sauce
- Make the easy ranch dip by combining all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. If possible, leave in refrigerator for 1/2 hour or more to allow flavors to blend.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a large baking sheet by lining with foil, then spraying with cooking spray.
- Place the wing segments in boiling salted water, then heat until the water returns to a boil. Continue boiling for about 8 minutes.
- Drain the wing segments using a colander. Transfer to a wire rack to dry. When the chicken has cooled a bit, finish drying with paper towels.
- Place the wings on the baking sheet, making sure there is space between them. Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes. Flip wings with a rubber spatula, then bake an additional 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by melting the butter in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, then blending with the other ingredients.
- Place the wings in a large mixing bowl, add the sauce and toss until well coated. Serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks and ranch dip.
Photos by Marsha Maxwell and vm2002/Shutterstock.com.