Frying anything to order for a party is not something I particularly enjoy — in fact, it's a task I actively avoid. Even if I had one of those huge industrial fryers (which is actually one of my dream kitchen components), I still wouldn't want to do it, and I'm a professional cook! But wings are one of those classic game-day snacks that I really don't want to forego for a Super Bowl party. How to reconcile the warring factions of my brain and my stomach?
I take a tip from the playbook for the tastiest roasted chicken, that's how. Using the same technique for the famous Zuni Café roast chicken, I use a dry brine to let the salt work its magic on the skin, and a low-to-high heat oven roast to make those wings sing.
Don't be put off by the hours the chicken spends in the fridge and in the oven. This is all hands-off time for you, so as long as you have a timer on your phone (and I know you do!), then you're in the clear to make these exceedingly crispy-skinned wings and not smell of frying oil all night. Winner, winner, chicken wing dinner.
Lemon Pepper Oven-Baked Wings
Serves 4 to 6
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon
coarsely ground black pepper
Finely grated zest of 2 large lemons
chicken wings, separated into 2 pieces and tips discarded (about 24 pieces total)
Whisk the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and lemon zest together in a large bowl.
Toss the wings in the spice blend, using your hands to make sure each wing is thoroughly and evenly coated.
Place on a large rimmed baking sheet or in a large casserole dish in a single layer. The wings can be snug and touching each other. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 24 hours.
Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 325°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.
Divide the chicken wings between the baking sheets, spacing them evenly and in a single layer. Bake for 30 minutes.
Increase the heat to 450°F and roast for 15 minutes. Flip the wings and roast until the skin is very crispy and brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.