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I somehow always avoid disastrously overindulging during the holidays. January – the month when most people revert to detox mode – is when I really do myself in. For me, January means weekends and many weeknights spent watching college-football bowl games, the NFL playoffs and the start of the NCAA basketball season. More often than not, I’m at less-than-Food & Wine-worthy sports bar with friends who are happy to make a meal of radioactive-looking buffalo wings that cost five cents apiece.
After a sketchy incident involving a hot-sauce-shellacked wing that had somehow never been plucked of its feathers, I now refuse to order the popular sports snack from any bar. Luckily, a friend just bought the most enormous TV I’ve ever seen, and lately, we’ve been watching the games at his apartment. So I’ve been trying to create the ultimate wing to coax the rest of our friends from the bars. The Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings I made two weeks ago were superfast, but not spicy enough for my taste. This weekend I wanted something with more heat, and I made the Spicy Sriracha Chicken Wings that Cleveland chef (and Browns fan) Michael Symon of Lola and Lolita restaurants created as part of his ultimate Super Bowl menu for our February issue. The fiery kick from the Thai hot sauce made the crispy wings a huge hit.
One hot-sauce-loving friend boasted that the Sriracha chile sauce was still too “wimpy” for his high heat tolerance, so I’m sending him to Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap Savina chile—one of the hottest peppers. To avoid crises, each pile of wings comes with a personal fire alarm. If the alarm is sounded, the staff will run over with a supply of heat numbing foods like sour cream, milk and white bread.