Being a Louisiana boy, it’s probably no shocker I love Crystal Hot Sauce. It’s mild spice level and tangy vinegar kick make it the perfect condiment for red beans and rice, fried chicken, and collards. Hell, I even put it on pizza. That same tangy flavor that made me fall in love with the stuff growing up is also what makes it such an amazing fit for hot wings. Combine it with butter and maple syrup, and you’ve got yourself the fixings for a chicken wing sauce that is sweet, sour, slightly spicy, and full of flavor. If the addition of maple syrup gives you pause, trust me, it’s a really really good thing. The maple flavor comes through just a little bit but gives the wings an added depth of flavor and makes them really stand out. Feel free to serve these guys with blue cheese or ranch, but I prefer to eat them on their own... as many as possible, as fast as possible.
Maple Crystal Chicken Wings
Prep: 10 min // Inactive prep: 1hr-overnight // Cook time: 20min
serves 2 - 4, or double the recipe to serve just one Matt
- 3 lbs chicken wings or drumettes, or a combo of both
- 1 cup maple syrup (we used Grade B, but really any maple syrup will do)
- 3/4 cup Crystal hot sauce*
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- Celery for garnish and snacking
- Green onion + sesame seeds for garnish
- Let chicken sit out on the counter for about half an hour before placing in the marinade, to get the surface of the skin down to room temperature and preventing the butter for glooping up and failing to coat it all evenly.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, hot sauce, butter and garlic and pour half of the liquid into a separate mixing bowl.
- Place the chicken in one of the bowls of liquid and toss to coat evenly before covering with plastic wrap and letting marinate in the fridge for half an hour to overnight.
- When you're about ready to make the wings, place an oven rack at the highest position (it should be about 4" from the top of the oven) and turn the oven broiler onto high.
- While the chicken is marinating, bring the remaining half of the liquid to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer until thick and syrupy, about 10 minutes. Once it has reduced by about half transfer back to a heat proof mixing bowl.*
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the chicken evenly on top, shaking off the excess marinade before arranging on the baking sheet.
- Broil for 12 minutes, and then flip and broil for ten more minutes.
- Remove from oven and toss in sauce, place on serving platter and top with sesame seeds, green onion, and celery slices. Serve immediately.
Notes from Beau:
* We are really huge fans of Crystal hot sauce because it has a weirdly large amount of vinegar for the spice-level, which makes it a good fit for adding a tang to stuff without actually making it super spicy. However, unless you live in the deep south you probably can't find it? I'm assuming? Anyway, a suitable replacement would be the original Tabasco, but use a little less and taste the marinade (before the raw chicken goes in!) to make sure it's not too hot.
* When reducing the sauce for the wings, watch closely to make sure you don't burn the sauce. Once you've got frequent tight bubbles coming to the surface that don't pop immediately and have a seemingly firm film of sauce, it's about time to take it off the heat. The sauce thickens as it cools.