The secret to making perfect chicken wings, according to a golf-club chef

You, too, can make mouthwatering wings at home.

Getty Images

Welcome to Clubhouse Eats, where we celebrate the game’s most delectable food and drink. Hope you brought your appetites.

***

As if the past few years have not been challenging enough, we now get word of a chicken wing shortage, a hardship dire enough to test the soul of a nation.

How to get the most out of a scarce and precious resource? Ben Harris is Executive Chef of Restaurants at the Sea Pines Resort, in Hilton Head, South Carolina, where smokey, barbecue spice-rubbed wings are a must on the menu. Here’s his 4-point guide to help us through these troubled times.

1. Marinating Thoughts

At Sea Pines, Harris and his crew forgo marinating in favor of a multi-step approach: the wings are seasoned overnight in a house-made barbecue rub, then smoked the next day at 275 degrees for about two hours. As orders come in, the wings are deep fried. At home, you might opt to marinate instead. If you do, Harris says to keep It quick, with plenty of acid and a bit more salt than you probably think you need. “The acid and salt will really penetrate the meat and give you seasoned end-to-end flavor,” Harris says.

2. Wings So Nice, You Cook Them Twice

We can probably all agree that the best wings are moist and flavorful inside, and crisp on the outside. To achieve that one-two combo, Harris recommends a low temperature cook in your oven or grill at 225-250 degrees until the internal temperatures reach around 150 degrees. This step will start cooking the meat while rendering fat of the skin. After that first low cook, turn your oven to 450 and continue cooking until the internal temperature reacts 165 degrees. The skin will crisp up nicely along the way. If you have a convection oven, use that function.

The secret to making perfect roast chicken, according to a world-renowned chef
By: Josh Sens

Also, set the wings on a rack, not directly on the pan, so the air can circulate all around them. Note that Harris talks about internal temperature. It’s an important point. The most common mistake he says home cooks make is failing to use a meat thermometer. “Using a thermometer doesn’t make you an amateur, it makes you precise,” Harris says. “And with a piece of meat so small, you can shoot past the desired temperature in a very short time.”

3. Leave Room on the Rack

Wings are crowd-pleasers. But you don’t want to crowd them as they cook. Leave extra room between them as they roast. Crowding them will keep them from cooking evenly.

4. Tips on Dips and Sauces

Harris is a big fan of Buffalo chicken dip, a tangy, creamy medley that conjures the flavors Buffalo chicken wings. His choice of sauce is Alabama white barbecue sauce, consisting of mayonnaise, horseradish, cider vinegar and lots of black pepper. “A bit of a controversial choice,” Harris says. “But always a showstopper.”

josh sens

Josh Sens

Golf.com Photographer

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.