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So, I know I told all of you about how Rob loves football Sunday, especially the food! And how, when he was doing the Whole30, he just couldn’t live without his typical game day fare which inspired me to create my Game Day Chili. And he really does love that chili but, in his world, football Sunday requires a variety of food for munching on a little of this and a little of that.
I knew I needed to create another Whole30 compliant version of typical football food.
I set my sites on creating the perfect Whole30 compliant wings. I knew that this would be a challenge for a few reasons. I knew from all of my years of experience in the restaurant world (did I ever mention to you guys that Rob and I actually met when we were both managers at a TGI Fridays) that most delicious wings contain some sort of sugar. Even spicy buffalo wings usually are slathered in a sauce that contains some sort of sweetener to balance out the sauce. I also knew that taking the easy road of putting some naked wings in the oven and just coating them in Franks Red Hot cut with ghee wasn’t going to cut it for my crispy wing-loving hubby.
I looked for recipes online but didn’t see anything that was jumping out at me so I thought back to my days in the bar/restaurant industry and remembered one of my all-time favorite wing recipes. I used that recipe (well, what I could remember of it) as a basis for creating these healthy, baked, crispy, spicy wings.
These wings are coated in a simple, easy to make dry rub and then baked in the oven. They come out with a great crunch and are spicy, smoky, and savory at the same time. I intended to shake them in wing sauce after they were done but Rob loved them so much without the sauce, that I never used it. You can easily shake these in wing sauce if you want to or serve it on the side. Mixing Franks Red Hot (the original is Whole30 complaint) with a few tablespoons of ghee makes for a quick and easy Whole30 wing sauce.
I have made these wings over and over and everyone (Whole30 or not) loves them. People are always asking me for the recipe. My one complaint about these wings, it that my oven is too small to make as large a batch as I would like. They are really simple and easy to prepare but they take up a lot of space in the oven.
The reason they take up so much space is that they must be baked on a baking rack placed on top of a foil-lined baking sheet. Do not skip this step. This is the key to get your wings to have a crispy crust. If you don’t bake them on a rack, they will lose all of their coating and that would just be sad ☹
If you don’t have a baking rack, you could use a cooling rack if you have one, but check to make sure it is oven safe. Not all cooling racks are oven safe and you do not want to clean up after a melted cooling rack. That would also be sad.
Once you set up your baking rack on top of a foil-lined baking sheet, getting these wings oven-ready is a breeze. All you really have to do is mix your spices, throw the wings and spices in a large zip top bag, and shake them up. That’s it! No chopping, peeling, cutting or sink full of dishes required!
Other than typical spices that you likely have on hand, these wings do not require much in the way of ingredients. There really are only one or two ingredients that you may not have on hand, such as cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is absolutely essential in this recipe. It is basically what gives your wings the crispy crust they have without using flour or corn starch (which are not whole30/paleo compliant).
Now, I know cream of tartar may sound strange and doesn’t seem like it would be Whole30 or Paleo compliant but it is. Despite its name, it is not cream at all. It is actually an acid scientifically known as tartaric acid, hence the name cream of tartar. It is produced as by product of fermenting grapes and is used a leavener in cooking. When combined with baking soda, like in this recipe, it serves to draw moisture out of the wings and enhance the browning process, leaving you with super crispy wings.
Ok, science lesson over, if you haven’t heard of cream of tartar, you are probably wondering where you find it. And luckily, the answer is, pretty much anywhere. It is most likely located in the spice aisle of your local grocery store. You can also quickly and easily order it right here from Amazon (not to mention help me earn a tiny commission to help me support my crazy recipe creating and blogging habit…did I mention it doesn’t cost you anything extra, now that’s happy ?)
Speaking of happy, you will definitely be happy with these wings and will want to make them over and over!
Happy Football Sunday Made Healthy!
Crispy, Finger Licking Good Wings That Are Healthy- Whole30 & Paleo
- 3 lbs wings, patted dry (roughly 24)
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- 3 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp celery seed (ground)
- 1.5 tbsp brown sugar (OPTIONAL) OMIT FOR WHOLE30/PALEO
Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a baking rack on top. Spray baking rack with non-stick cooking spray (Pompeian makes a Whole30 compliant nonstick cooking spray) or brush lightly with olive oil.
In a bowl stir together all spices and seasonings including the brown sugar if you are using it, remember to omit the sugar for Whole30/paleo wings). Place your wings in a large zip top bag and add the spice mix. Shake the bag until all wings are thoroughly coated in the spice mixture. Use your hands to mix everything if you have to. If you don’t have enough spice mixture to cover all of the wings thoroughly, I would make an additional ½ batch of the spice rub. It is very important that all wings are well coated.
Place wings on prepared baking rack, it is best if they are not touching. Bake wings for 30 mins. Remove wings and flip, bake for an additional 10-15 mins (until internal temperature reaches 165°)
If you want your wings even crispier, you can set them under the broiler for 2 minutes. Make sure they are at least 6 inches away from flame and monitor them carefully so that they don’t burn. I personally never put them under the broiler but I wanted to mention for those of you who like things super, super crispy).
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