Longhorn Tequila Wings

September 20, 2010
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

I have been on the field at Notre Dame for the home opener and I have covered lots of college bowl games but to this day I have never seen more dedicated fans than at the University of Texas. It was an experience to behold especially when they play Texas A&M. I am certain they are still one of my favorite college football teams. These wings I created because of the time I spent in Austin and the food I got to experience which, as I think about it, probably peaked my interest in food and was one of my most important food experiences. So this is how I think about wings. They are not easy to make and to do it well takes more effort than a good steak. You have to brine them, you need to fry them and you need to sauce them just before serving them. The wing might be my favorite part of the chicken and as such when I cook them on their own I treat them with the respect they deserve. When I say French the drumettes I mean push the meat and skin down from the wing tip end toward where it would have attached to the breast so you have a ball of wing with a bone handle, so to speak. It is also important to chop the dressing veg extremely fine so that they cook on contact with the hot wings, if you think you have chopped them enough chop some more. These are not meant to be crispy but sticky and tasty, tasty. Serve them with a Dixie beer, Shiner Bock, or a T'N'T (tequila n tonic with lime.) Hook 'em Horns! - thirschfeld —thirschfeld

Test Kitchen Notes

These wings are delicious, and the tortilla strips addictive. I chose not to make them overly hot because I’m a wimp. I like just enough spice to know I’m alive, but not enough to wish I weren’t. The wings carried the earthy sweetness of the tequila, well balanced with the heat of the pepper, tang from the lemon, and piquancy of the onion and garlic. The masa gave the coating a nice tenderness, and it’s a grace note I’ll want to play with the next time I fry chicken. I paired them with shots of tequila and sangrita, and it was fabulous. - adashofbitters —The Editors

  • Serves 4-6
  • for the dredging mix:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups instant masa harina
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground Mexican oregano
  • For the wings
  • 1/2 cup reposado tequilla
  • zest of one lime
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 7 1/2 cups cold water
  • 18 whole chicken wings, tips discarded, drumette separated, 36 pieces, French the drummettes
  • 1 tablespoon red onion, minced very very finely
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh garlic, very very finely minced
  • 1 to 3 fresh cayenne peppers, seeded and very very finely minced, one can be a lot of heat so 3 is for the brave
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon reposado tequila
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • kosher salt
  • peanut oil for frying
  • 5 fresh white corn tortillas cut into 1/16 inch thin strips
In This Recipe
  1. Place the half a cup of reposada tequila in a small sauce pan and place it over high heat to burn off the alcohol. Turn off the heat after about a minute. Pour it into a bowl and add the lime zest, wait until you smell the lime and then add the cold water. Then add 1/2 cup of salt and a 1/4 cup of sugar. Whisk until the salt is dissolved. Add the wings and place in the fridge for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the wings from the brine and place them on a rack that is placed onto a sheet tray and put them back into the fridge. They need to dry for two hours and they can be held up to twenty four hours at this point.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, and I mean large because the hot wings are going right into this bowl to be tossed in the dressing, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk. This too can be done up two twenty four hours ahead of time.
  4. Place the dredging mix into a large plastic bag. Add the wings and shake to coat. Heat the oven to 250 degrees.
  5. Place a deep large Dutch oven over medium high heat and add peanut oil so it doesn't fill the pot more than a third. Heat to 375 degrees.
  6. You will probably need to do this in batches so have a tray with a rack ready.
  7. First fry the white corn tortilla strips until they stop bubbling. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and season them with salt and set them aside.
  8. When the oil comes back to temp add as many wings as you can with out crowding them and cook them until they have browned.
  9. Remove them from the oil and place them onto the rack and then put them into the oven. If for some reason they are browning before they are done let them finish cooking in the oven. As a matter of fact they can be held in the oven for up to 15 minutes after then are done and they will remain juicy while you finish other dishes.
  10. Continue frying and placing the wings into the oven until you are finished.
  11. Once you have completed frying remove the wings from the oven and place all the wings into the dressing bowl. Toss to coat and then dump the hot wings onto a platter. Garnish with the tortilla strips and more cilantro. Serve.
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Father, husband, writer, photojournalist and not always in that order.