Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hot Wings

Spicy rules.

In just a little over a week, the nation will be tuning in to one of the most watched events in network television: The Super Bowl. You might be a Giants fan, pulling for Eli Manning. You might be hoping to see the Pats pull off a completely "perfect season." (Should I add an asterisk next to that statement, in light of their "spygate" incident?) You might be mourning Brett Favre's lost opportunity. You might even still be blaming Jessica Simpson on behalf of the Cowboys.

Or, like many people, your love of the Super Bowl might be primarily and intrinsically tied to your love of the food that comes with it. If you fall into this category, don't worry- you have a lot of company. I mean, places like Buffalo Wild Wings shape their whole business around the reality that almost all of us connect professional sports and T.V. with food.

Whatever category you might be in, I am hoping to make your big day a little brighter (and spicier) with what I am about to share.

Here for you my friends, is my recipe for hot wings. This offering has made me a welcome guest at almost a decade of Super Bowl parties. If you decide to write this down, remember this rule above all others: The way you prepare this recipe is just as important as the ingredients.

Okay, here we go. You will need:

1 Large bag of wings/drummies (about 30-50 count)

1 Stick of butter or margarine

1 Gallon of Louisiana hot sauce (yes- a gallon- don't skimp on me)

A medium to large slow-cooker.

Your grill.

"That's it," you say? That's it. It's all about the preparation.

Start by melting the whole stick of butter/margarine in the slow cooker. (Don't be worried about the calories- you're diluting it into a gallon of hot sauce.) Now add about 80% of that Louisiana hot sauce and set the temperature to low. Let the sauce cook for about 2 hours. Around the second hour, it should be simmering, and you will notice that it is beginning to change colors slightly. If it's not yet simmering, increase your temp a little to get it going. (NOTE: Try not to let this stuff boil, or you may be left with something that can only be used in stripping your garage floor, or perhaps as an anti-terrorism device.) Now, on to the chicken.

Thaw the wings and then grill them until the chicken is almost cooked through.

Yes, grill them. I know. "But we're putting them in the slow cooker." Take the time to crisp up the outer skin and add some of that wonderful "off the grill" flavor. Trust me, this is not a wasted step. Combining your grill with your slow cooker is the culinary version of an unstoppable force of nature.

Once the chicken is nearly cooked through with some nice charring on the outside, add it to your sauce. This is also the time where you can feel free to add some or all of the remaining sauce from your original gallon. Be sure to taste-test the sauce first, because as it simmers with the butter, it will be getting hotter. My suggestion would be to add enough of the uncooked sauce to cover the wings (or to bring the spice level back down to a place where someone won't take a bite and then run screaming from the room).

Let the wings cook in the sauce for another 1-2 hours. You're in the flavor zone now. The combination of all these steps produces a result that will make you very popular with just about anyone who likes hot wings. But remember, it's all about the way you approach the preparation. You might be thinking, "that sounds like a hefty time commitment for a hot wing." You're right, it is. But then again, it's not your ordinary hot wing.

Extraordinary things can come from simple ingredients. But short-change the preparation, and you'll short-change the result.

This is the way it is with our life in Christ. If we skimp on our time cultivating our relationship with our Savior, we end up in a world of bland Christianity. Christ is inviting us to join Him on an adventure into a world of extraordinary life in Him, but we have to continue to choose to come along. One of my friends recently shared this very same idea in an email saying, "Years ago, I began praying for God to draw closer to me. Then… somewhere along the way I heard a TV evangelist (don't recall the man's name) comment that WE should focus on drawing nearer to Him. Well… "duh…" It's like a light bulb went off over my coconut and I finally got it! I guess I was expecting God to do all the work…".

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me (John 15:4)."

It isn't overly complicated. An extraordinary life in Christ is waiting for anyone who will choose to love God in worship, share their life in community with others and grow as disciples, and reach out to the world as a servant.

Love. Live. Serve.

Now that's a truly unstoppable force.

In Him We Live,


p.s.- If you end up with leftover wings, be careful. Their much hotter the next day!


Amy said...

I remember these little darlings. A little ranch or blue cheese dressing helps to cool the heat and they're FABULOUS!
Thanks for the reminder...
Wonder what Charlie and Connie are doing that weekend????

senor craddock said...

okay so...couple of things:

1) Love the post - Now I have something to do during the 36 hours of pre-game!

2) (*) - there's no asterisk needed...the patriots are just dang good

3) BBQ Apron - i feel that this important ingredient was omitted from the recipe. there ought to be a rule that wing prep should be done while wearing an apron with a witty phrase on the front. this allows everyone at the party to know who's in charge. (i.e. "Fred be doin' the BBQ-in')*

4) is the name of Fred's blog that he writes with a youth minister friend of his (Drew)

*i wish i didn't get a real apron like this for christmas from my mom this year.

Jeff said...

Nice. I like the addition of a snazzy apron. To see Fred's, just check out my "Extra Stuff" blog.

fred said...

If faith is indeed a life (which it is) and not merely a course of study or an intriguing intellectual pursuit (which it was never meant to be), then faith is nothing less that the consuming experience of God. It is not a set of beliefs or even a lifestyle, but a breathe and pulse and life itself. It is the opposite of hype; it is heartbeat.

-Leonard Sweet
The Gospel According to Starbucks

Kathy said...

Jeff, I think you should probably put a warning or disclaimer with you hot wings recipe. Some people who read your blog are unaware that you have an iron colon.

I'm always impressed how you can turn just about anything into an object lesson about our lives in Christ.

Live Love Serve.....hmmm that's catchy! I like it!