Quick and easy hot wings

Jan 22, 2012 at 4:23 a.m. ET

Hot wings are a popular party dish that's easy to make and a cinch to customize. The secret for this savory treat is in making a sauce that adds just enough heat to satisfy your taste buds without destroying them. If you're new to making hot wings, here are a few tips for quick, easy and crowd-pleasing wings.

Chicken wings

Stick with the classics

Hot wings were first introduced to the world in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. Since then, the recipe has been adapted in numerous ways. Originally made to fill a need for a quick snack, the classic preparation of Buffalo wings is arguably the easiest and fastest way to go about preparing the dish. In fact, it's really just a three-step process. First, fry chicken wings. While the wings are frying, prepare the wing sauce by combining your favorite brand of hot sauce, like Frank's or Crystal, with melted butter. The ratio of butter to sauce depends greatly on how much heat you like to eat. One part butter to one part sauce is mild, two parts sauce to one part butter is hot and three parts sauce to one part butter is really hot. Once the wings are done frying, toss them in the prepared sauce. Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing on the side.

Trim the fat without losing the flavor

Let's face it. Buffalo wings are not health food. However, there are a few ways to trim the fat from this popular food favorite, while still keeping it simple and delicious. Try broiling, baking or grilling your wings insead of frying them. Marinate them before cooking in a sauce made with buttermilk instead of butter and then lightly coat them with a little additional hot sauce as soon as they are done. You can even use boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders to make a healthier boneless hot wing.

Take things a step further and make your blue cheese dressing with reduced fat sour cream or greek yogurt, a splash of lemon juice, garlic, season salt and blue cheese crumbles.

Defy convention

Another of the easiest ways to prepare hot wings ultimately takes the longest time. Wings prepared in a slow cooker are perfect for parties. This method involves cleaning and clipping the wings, broiling the wings for approximately 10 minutes and then cooking them for 4 to 5 hours in the slow cooker in a combination of hot sauce, butter and water. Experiment by adding your own twist to the recipe like honey, barbecue sauce or even cola. Just be sure to reduce the amount of water by however much additional liquid you add to the sauce.

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