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Super Bowl Hot Wings

Super Bowl XLV, and we're trying four different hot wings recipes. They are Guy Fieri's "Aint no thing butta chicken wing" (food network); "Saucy, Spicy Wings" (from the weekly Ingles flyer); "Smokin Chicken Wings" (from Cooking Pleasures Dec 2007 aka the Cooking Club); and Food Network's "Chile-rubbed wings". We looked at Alton Brown's recipe for hot wings (steamed and coated) and decided they might be too tame. So we chose these for their variety of preparation: one is marinated up to 24 hours; one is dry rubbed and marinated for 2 hours; one is dipped in sauce and baked immediately; and one is dry rubbed and baked immediately with an option for a last minute basting with hot sauce and honey.

Here we give you "the good, the bad and the ugly".

First, the ugly. While we never really bad-mouth a recipe, this one from the Cooking Club, "Smokin Chicken Wings" was really inedible. The recipe found here reminds us a lot of a not-so-favorite television show "Biker Billy Cooks with Fire". For all the work that went into them, the long marinade time and the excessive amount of very expensive smoked paprika, this one tasted like silage, and we wouldn't feed it to the dog.

The Bad: Probably Guy Fieri's "Aint No Thing Butta..." can be found here. As written, the reicpe is a fairly easy dry marinade in the fridge for a reasonable time (2 hrs), and a complicated finishing sauce that really adds the heat. We found this one to have an "over-the-top hot" Scoville rating well beyond our tastes. In all fairness to Guy, this one needed more evaluation that just a quick pitch in the trash can, so we brushed off the sauce and found a rather nicely seasoned wing which had some bite, and very pleasant overall presentation. We feel that this one, with a well mannered finishing sauce, would be welcome in most palates.

The Good: "Chile Rubbed Wings " found here. and the surprising entry from Ingles, "Saucy Spicy Wings" found here. Chile Rubbed Wings is a three-level progressive recipe, depending on how much heat you want to impart. The basic treatment is a dry rub, then immediately cooked. These wings were nicely seasoned with balance across the spectrum. They were pleasant, with some heat provided by the ancho chile powder, but lacked a sweet soothing finish. We think that this one would be great with a sauce to mellow it out on the table.

Lastly, the Ingles recipe provided a mildly flavored wing with an indescernable amount of heat that would be socially acceptable at any party. The simple sauce, dip and bake process, and overall ease of preparation make it a worthwhile addition. While many would call it "cherry boy wings" as presented, heat lovers can easily adjust to taste.

Our recommendation: Try the Chile Rubbed Wings and play with a finishing sauce either baked on, or tossed when served. We'd try a 50-50 mix of honey and your favorite hot sauce like "Pete's".

Your copy of “Beans, Bullets, and Canapés” is available online at www.beansbullets.com for $16.95, plus tax and shipping, or direct from the author at 770-425-6735.

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