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Oct 4, 2010 05:10 PM

Adhering Wing Sauce to Wings...

Ok, I know this is low brow culinary fare, but I am having a hard time getting the hot sauce to adhere sufficiently to my wings after cooking. First of all, I can't use flour, etc as it needs to be "low carb". So, I have followed the Alton Brown Wing recipe (The Wing and I). He steams then bakes the wings for crispiness. After cooking you mix a bunch of butter, garlic and hot sauce together and then toss the wings. For whatever reason, the sauce tends to slide off quickly.

Any tips?


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  1. The sauce would hold on better if it were thicker; you can accomplish this by reducing the sauce. Another way is to cook the wings in the sauce then crisp at the end.

    1. Deep fry. True Buffalo wings are deep fried naked (not even salt and pepper to season!), then doused in sauce. I make them this way all the time and I have no trouble getting the sauce to adhere. I usually throw them in the sauce straight out of the fryer and make sure they're thoroughly coated, then wait a couple of minutes and add a bit more sauce and toss again. They absorb it very well while remaining crisp.

      That said, I occasionally add a little parmesan cheese to the wings after I've sauced them just to add a little extra salty tang, and it sticks to the wings and makes the sauce stick even better.

      5 Replies
      1. re: biondanonima

        I do the same thing; deep fry (no flour or breading, I am a purist) then toss with a mixture of Frank's Red Hot and melted butter. The sauce always sticks. Alternatively, when I have a wing craving and am feeling a little more health conscious, I have grilled the wings until they are nice and crisp, then tossed with the sauce. Again, never had the problem of the sauce not adhering.

        1. re: mels

          That's it. The real deal is best. No breading (ugh), no baking. Frank's and butter. I worked in a wing joint 30 years ago, and made thousands.

        2. re: biondanonima

          This is the one instance in which I use margarine, not butter. Butter has a tendency to break (at least for me), whereas margarine, already being oil-based, keeps together when tossed with the just-fried wings. But yeah, frying is the true way to go, IMO.

          1. re: gilintx

            Margarine is a perfectly authentic substitute for Buffalo style wings. Most wing joints and pizza places (which are where most wings in Buffalo are sold) don't really use butter.

          2. re: biondanonima

            Deep Frying is the only way to go, no flour or batter. I have been doing them Korean style (double fried) to great results and not really greasy at all.

          3. I just made that recipe Sunday -- it came out better than the last time I made them, because I refrigerated them on the rack for close to two hours (the recipe calls for an hour).

            Then make sure you cook them on the rack for the full 20 minutes each side. Mine were nice and just crispy -- the sauce wasn't thick on them, but it was more than enough to make people break out into a sweat!

            (Kinda hilarious - we had a very mixed party -- French, English, Dutch, German -- a dog from every town. The Americans jumped on the wings because they knew what they were -- the rest tried one, then jumped in, too. Quite a tussle for the last few! One of our French friends was just raving that they're so good, and with a cold beer, they're just incredible! Heeheehee..discoveries!)

            1. Better still, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's recipe for oven-fried buffalo wings. The secret ingredient is baking powder.


              I don't think a thicker sauce would help any. The original wing sauce is a mix of Frank's Red Hot and melted butter, a pretty thin mixture. It wouldn't surprise me if the sauce had a hard time adhering in the Alton Brown recipe because the steaming moistened the skin enough that it didn't have a chance to fully dry out like it does when deep-frying the wings.

              7 Replies
              1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                Grence, you refrigerate the wings on a rack for a couple of hours after you steam them -- they're dry to the touch when they go into the oven...AND the steaming has removed some of the fat from the surface, so they do go nice and crisp in the oven.

                Not as crispy as deep frying, but a nice crackle when you bite into them.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  It doesn't get the wings crisp enough. Go read Lopez-Alt's article:


                  He explains it better than I do.

                  1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                    We thought they were a great level of crispy, and so did everyone who had them.....

                    so it stands as written in my kitchen.

                    I did read the link (the first time, even)...and sorry, but the idea of eating baking soda sprinkled on my wings puts me off.

                    You make the ones you like, and I'll make the ones I like.

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      If I may ask, what puts you off using baking powder on the wings? It doesn't make them taste funny.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Strange, baking powder in baked goods shouldn't impart any flavor at all... Ah! I know what you're talking about... that sharp metallic taste that you sometimes get. It plagued my dad's pancakes all the way through my childhood. There's two ways can happen. One is if there's too much baking powder in the recipe. The other is if there's acids in the recipe, such as in buttermilk pancakes. Baking powder has alkaline and acid components. Acidic ingredients like the buttermilk will react with the alkali before the acids in the baking soda have a chance to react, and the acids will be left in what you're making. The way around the first one is to just use less; if a recipe calls for just baking powder, the rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon per cup of flour. The way around the second one is to take out half of the baking powder, and replace it with half as much baking soda (i.e. if the original recipe calls for 1 cup of flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder, use 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda).

                          There is also a chance that you're picking up on the aluminum part of the sodium aluminum sulfate used in several brands of baking powder, in which case the obvious solution is to switch brands to one that doesn't use aluminum based compounds.

                          1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                            or I could just make wings with a recipe I like.

                            Using a teaspoonful in a muffin or cookie recipe is one thing, and i don't taste it then. Shaking it on my chicken wings is something else. Yuck.

              2. I bake my wings plain on a baking rack on a pan at about 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the wings look done. Then I take them out and put them in a bowl with the sauce mixture, make sure they are all covered, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let them sit... Clean my pan (glad I lined it with parchment).... put the rack back in then put the sauce coated wings back on and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes until the wings look crispy delicious and ready to eat. The second baking helps the sauce adhere.