One of my favorite summertime recipes is for Buffalo Wings. The first time I ever had them was way back in college- it was the late night food of choice with friends- we didn’t have a care in the world about eating spicy food at that hour, or any food at all for that matter. It was quick, easy, inexpensive, greasy and just so so good…
Fast forward to years later when I became Muslim and everything changed (particularly the late nights out), but most noticeably my food choices. If I wanted halal chicken, I would have to go to a live poultry house in Chicago, or if I was lucky, a halal butcher would have chicken- but it would take nearly 30 minutes of waiting for them to cut it up before I could get out the door. Never mind the instructions to cut the wings in half so I could make Buffalo Wings– huh?
Crescent Foods Halal Poultry at Walmart near Detroit, MI
It took some time for me to find Crescent chicken products, but when I found them it was love at first sight. They were the first halal poultry product I saw that was packaged in neat and clean trays that were labeled. Labeled, telling me exactly what kind of cut of meat was there. They were a brand. They were a company I could call and ask and get answers from about their products. To some people, this may not have meant much- either they were used to and happy with buying the whole animal at all times from the butcher; perhaps they were buying non-dhabiha meats at the big box grocery store that was nicely packaged, too. But to me, this meant that a whole new world of cooking halal just got easier. Quicker. Better.
Not only was their meat halal, but I quickly learned that they took great care to make sure the chickens are well-kept (cage-free), well-fed (vegetarian), free of hormones and anything artificial. When I dug a little deeper and met the people at Crescent, I knew I had a found a gem- they care so much about doing things right and truly strive to serve the people (us) by doing things appropriately halal every step of the way. You can read my interview with the founder and owner here.
Needless to say, I’ve been cooking with Crescent for many years and they have more products than I’m able to show you in just one recipe, but if you go to a Walmart, you may just find them since they’re now in 62 stores throughout the U.S., masha’allah. Read more about that here.
So began my own experimentation to re-create my favorite restaurant dishes with my newly-discovered halal chicken and out came this recipe my family loves for homemade Buffalo Wings. You can put them out on the grill or bake them in the oven. Either way, they really are good enough to stock up on the wings so that you can make them often this summer…
I always try to start out with the best quality ingredients I can get my hands on. In this case, it’s freshly-ground pepper, sea salt, Hungarian paprika (smoked), tabasco or a Mexican hot sauce, butter (key ingredient- don’t replace with oil or margarine), and some good old-fashioned chili powder.
Don’t worry- you can control the spice level to make them milder or hotter than my recipe. Just experiment until you get it the way your family loves it.
As I said about the butter- don’t replace it with a non-natural alternative. It just doesn’t taste the same. Go with any brand that’s pure, just as long as it’s REAL butter. Trust me.
As far as hot sauce goes, the above-photographed McIlhenny Co. is the most commonly found but it certainly isn’t the only one you can use. I love the ones found in Mexican stores, particularly the Valentina brand (they have mild and hot) and it’s the one I use most in this recipe.
On to yogurt and sour cream- you’ll need these plus some crumbly feta to make an amazing dip for your wings (and the celery sticks that must accompany them)
Get the good stuff without all the hormones. I like whole milk yogurt best- no fillers.
You can also get the Middle Eastern Style, Old Country Style, or Greek Style- that just means they’re nice and thick and creamy.
Buffalo Chicken Wings with Creamy Feta Dip
Whether you like mild or spicy chicken wings, with this recipe you can gauge the spice level to kick it up a notch or tone it down to a more mild spice flavor by changing the amounts of chili powder, paprika and tabasco according to your preference. Whether grilled or cooked in the oven, these wings are fantastic with the accompanying creamy feta dip and, of course, some celery.
Makes 24 wings
Ingredients for Buffalo Chicken Wings
2 pounds chicken wings
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
½ cup hot sauce/Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 ¼ sticks butter, melted
1 head of Romaine lettuce leaves
12 celery sticks, cut in half
- Preheat oven to 400º F.
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
-If using the oven-
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Place wings on the paper, several inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes and turn over. Bake another 10 minutes. Place wings under broiler for 2-3 minutes, remove and cool slightly before serving.
-If using the grill-
Line grill grates with aluminum foil and place wings several inches apart. Grill, covered, for 12-15 minutes per side or until the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165° F.
Ingredients for Creamy Feta Dip
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
1/2 cup feta cheese
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Directions for Dip
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor or large mixing bowl.
- Place dip in a large bowl and set aside.
- Arrange whole lettuce leaves around a platter and serve wings on top of the lettuce leaves, which are perfect for wrapping the wings topped with the creamy dip.
Would love to hear how you loved this dish in the comments below.
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