Sink your teeth into this baked chicken wings dry rub recipe!
I LOVE chicken wings and the spicier the better for me. It’s something I miss from home; if you find yourself in Denver, Colo., visit the Lowery Beer Garden and order ’em hot. Just yum.
Since I was lamenting my hankering for this savory treat, Denise of Castello di Sinio suggested we do her baked chicken wings dry rub recipe. Heck yeah. And, chicken wings don’t have to just pair with beer, so naturally, we examined the ever-important questioned: what wine goes with chicken wings? Find notes after the recipe.
Things to know for making killer baked chicken wings dry rub:
- Why a dry rub versus a saucy marinade? Denise explains that when you add moisture to the surface it must evaporate before a sear can develop. And, you want that sear for the delish caramelized crust you get from a dry rub version.
- For caramelization amazing-ness (when heat and sugar meet), brown sugar is a key component. Flavors from caramelization include nuttiness, bitterness, and toastiness – yep, some of the fun notes in more complex wines. Translation: wine with chicken wings is a very good idea.
- To achieve proper caramelization, dry and high heat is necessary. So, a baked chicken wings dry rub recipe is ace.
- Cayenne and chile powder always give kick but also think about dried mustard and hot – or even sweet – paprika for a more complex and interesting flavor combination.
- For some earthiness, which lends itself to pairing with big and rich red wines, think about cumin and black pepper.
- Always remember, the key to any chicken wings dry rub is a balance of spices; you don’t want too much heat or too much sweet.
- For more uniform baking (and, note that you won’t have to flip the wings), Denise suggests putting the wings on a rack with plenty of foil at the bottom.
Denise's Baked Chicken Wings Dry Rub Recipe
- ½ tbs ancho chile pepper powder
- ½ tbs smoked paprika (if using hot smoked paprika you can half the cayenne pepper)
- ½ tbs onion powder
- ½ tbs fine salt
- 1 tbs light brown sugar, packed
- ¾ tsp chili powder
- ¾ tsp paprika
- ¾ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper less if you're worried about the heat level
- ½ tsp dried mustard powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp dried ground thyme if using dried thyme leaves crush them as fine as you can
- 4 lbs chicken wings, thawed completely if using a frozen bag
- 2 tbs olive oil, vegetable, or canola oil
Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 3-6 tbs buttermilk or heavy cream if you don’t have buttermilk
- ¼ cup sour cream or creme fraiche
- 2 to 3 oz crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- ½ tbs lemon juice
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
Make Rub and Prepare Chicken Wings
- Preheat oven to 392 F / 200 C degrees. Line a large baking sheet with two sheets of aluminum foil (or 1 heavy-duty sheet). Top that with an oven-safe cooling rack, spray with a non-stick cooking spray, and set aside.
- Combine all dry rub ingredients in a small mixing bowl, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, add chicken wings and vegetable oil. Use a rubber spatula to toss gently to coat.
- Sprinkle in about half to ⅔ of the dry rub mixture and use your hands to massage it into all of the chicken wings, coating evenly. Feel free to use all the dry rub, but for a coating like in the photos, ½ to ⅔ of the mixture does just fine.
- Add chicken wings to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.
Make the Gorgonzola Sauce
- To your food processor or blender, add mayo, buttermilk, sour cream, 1.5 oz of the gorgonzola cheese, garlic, lemon juice, pepper, and salt. Process until smooth.
- Transfer to serving bowl and stir in remaining gorgonzola cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
What wine goes with chicken wings?
As we’ve talked about before, the flavor profile of the chicken dish is the biggest factor in your wine selection. So, consider the flavors and cooking method when deciding what wine goes with chicken wings.
For this dry rub version, you’ve got heat and sweet going on, making tannin and fruit your friends in this wine pairing puzzle. You want something with zesty fruit to temper the heat and tannin to bring out the complexity of flavors in the dry rub.
For the first round of wings I did, I went with a rouchet from Scarpa. The wine is 100 percent ruché grape, but because it’s made outside of the Castagnole Monferrato DOCG zone, it can’t be labeled with the Italian name for the grape. The grape itself was gifted to the winery from a Frenchman. On the label they opted to use the grape’s french name of rouchet.
With delicate fruits, light tannins, and earthy notes, it makes a great pair for chicken wings with a dry rub.
Since tannin and fruit go well, you can also try grignolino, a younger nebbiolo – Barolo and Barbaresco are a bit higher in alcohol, which amplifies the heat, so not the best pairing choice.
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Chef Denise Pardini, Hotel Castello di Sinio: