Memorial Day may be the official start of summer, but I've always thought of Father's Day as the kickoff of serious grilling season.
This year, consider giving Dad a break. Ladies, if you don't already grill, this is your opportunity to take the tongs and give it a try with hot wings.
Wings rarely are made at home because they are associated with deep frying, something most home cooks don't want to bother with. But truth is, they are so much better grilled. When you grill them, the meat is tender and juicy and the burnished skin is crisp, not flabby.
I use indirect heat. This cooks the dark meat nice and slowly, and renders the fat in the skin, leaving a nice crisp wing. When they are almost done, I take them off the grill and toss them with a mixture of honey and barbecue sauce and put them back on the grill to set the glaze and caramelize.
The end result is a crispy yet slightly sticky wing with an addictively sweet heat that can't be beat.
Sweet and sticky honey hot wings
Prep time: 15 minutes plus 2 hours marinate time
Cook time: 1 hour
No grill handy? These wings also can be cooked on a rimmed baking sheet fitted with a metal rack. Roast them for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, then toss them with the barbecue-honey sauce and roast for another 20 to 25 minutes.
1 cup molasses-based barbecue sauce
1 cup honey
1 12-ounce bottle Frank's Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
Two gallon-size heavy-duty zip-close plastic bags
4 pounds chicken wings and/or drummettes
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Fine-grain sea salt
In a medium bowl mix together the barbecue sauce and honey. Refrigerate until needed.
Divide the bottle of Frank's hot sauce evenly between the 2 plastic bags. Add half of the chicken to each bag, then seal the bag and turn to coat evenly. Refrigerate to marinate for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.
When ready to cook, heat one side of the grill to medium, the other to low. Remove the barbecue-honey sauce from the refrigerator to warm to room temperature.
Open each bag at one corner and tip it over the sink to drain the marinade. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt to each bag, then reseal the bags and shake gently to coat. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to the cooler side of the grill.
Cover the grill and cook for 40 minutes, or until starting to brown. Remove the chicken from the grill and place in a large bowl. Pour the barbecue-honey sauce over the wings, then use tongs to toss them to coat well.
Place wings back on the grill for another 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Per serving: 1,010 calories; 510 calories from fat (50 percent of total calories); 57 g fat (14 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 225 mg cholesterol; 68 g carbohydrate; 56 g protein; 1 g fiber; 2,750 mg sodium