Firecracker Wings

Chef Sarah Penrod, a private chef and Food Network Star, will be at ZestFest this weekend at the Irving Convention Center. She stops by Good Day to make her favorite hot wings.

Firecracker Chicken with Jalapeno Honey Glaze

4 Chicken Thighs
2 Chicken Breasts, Butterflied
5 Chicken Legs
½ Quart of Buttermilk
½ c. Frank's Red Hot or Buffalo Sauce
3 Large Eggs

In a large deep casserole dish or bowl blend the buttermilk, buffalo sauce, and eggs with a whisk. Place the chicken pieces in to marinate overnight or at least 6 hours.

Crispy Fried Batter:
1 pound Self- Rising Flour
1/3 c. Cornstarch
1 T Salt
2 T Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1 t. Garlic Powder
1 T Onion Powder
½ c. Dried Parsley
2 Liters Canola or Peanut Oil

Honey Jalapeno Glaze:
3 c. Diced Tomato
3 Small Jalapenos, seeds scooped out but reserved
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/3 c. Honey
1/3 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 c. Red Wine Vinegar
2 Sprigs of Basil
1 ½ t. Kosher salt
½ t. Pepper

Dice the tomato, mince the garlic, and cut the jalapenos in half. Using a teaspoon scrap the insides of the jalapeno out reserving the seeds and ribs of one of the halves for the sauce and discarding the rest. Half of one of the jalapenos gives a nice balanced medium hot flavor. Dice the seeded jalapeno peppers.

In a small sauce pan pour in the olive oil and honey. Bring it to a boil and let this bubble for approximately 1 minute. Pour in the red wine vinegar and turn down the heat as it will bubble and gush for a moment. Add the diced tomatoes, garlic cloves, 2 sprigs of basil, diced jalapeno, salt, pepper, and the seeds and ribs of half of one jalapeno. Simmer for 15 minutes. Take the mixture off of the heat and cool for several minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend for 1 min. Season with salt and pepper and reserve for the chicken.


Mix all of the batter ingredients in a deep casserole dish. Prepare a large platter or cookie sheet lined with foil to rest the chicken on after they are battered. Using 1 hand for pulling the chicken out of the buttermilk mixture and the other hand for coating the chicken in the seasoned flour mixture, batter each piece of chicken with a good coating of batter. Place them on the platter. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 40 minutes and up to a day ahead. (I batter them during the day for dinnertime.)

Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed enamel dutch oven or wide stock pot. Fill it with oil half to three quarters full. You want the chicken to be completely submerged when frying 2-4 pieces at a time.

Bring the temperature of the oil up to 350 degrees. After resting the chicken, take it out of the refrigerator and check to see that the flour mixture has turned from white and powdery to looking like an opaque batter is coating the chicken. Bits of white may still be seen but primarily the chicken should look coated in thick batter. This is the secret to a strong, crunchy crust that will adhere to the chicken.

When the oil has reached 350 you may begin placing the chicken into the pot, up to 4 pieces at a time. I always use a thermometer to check the temperature of the oil to make sure it's not rising too much (over 365 degrees) or not dropping below 325 degrees as I determine when to add more chicken. This recipe cooks in 3 batches.

This chicken takes 8-12 minutes a batch but you must turn the chicken while frying to avoid getting a burnt side on the chicken that is touching the bottom of the pan.

Kitchen lore says the chicken is done when it floats but I find that to be unreliable. When the chicken is deep golden brown I begin using a digital thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat. Chicken is done at 165 degrees but will rise a few degrees from carry over heating when it is removed from the oil.

Salt the chicken with freshly cracked salt immediately after removing from the pan and place on wire cooling racks.

The batter in this recipe is so crunchy there is no need to keep the chicken warm in the oven where I find it tends to steam the breading off. Serve it fresh and hot drizzled with sweet jalapeno glaze and served with an ice cold glass of strawberry peach sweet tea! Divine!


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