Crispy Baked Peri-Peri Chicken Wings

Peri-Peri chicken wings with cucumbers and peri-naise.  Toss fried or grilled wings in Peri-Peri Supply Co (aka DiChickO's) Peri-Peri
I was so excited to discover the trick to truly CRIPSY BAKED Chicken Wings. 
I do not ever like to fry things at home, overall, it's just a big mess. 

But, I do love that crispy skin all around that you get from frying them.
VOILA!  I learned two tricks: use a wire rack and baking powder!

I'm not going to bore you with a long story and science lesson right here.
(scroll to bottom if you want more details on why this method works so well!)  


3 lb. chicken wings
(broken down between wing and drumette)
1 Tbsp. baking powder (aluminum free)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/4 tsp. onion powder
4 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup Peri-Peri Wing Sauce
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup whole-milk yogurt
6 stalks celery
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1.  Place rack in upper part of oven; pre-heat to 250 degrees F.
Place a wire rack on a baking sheet lined with foil. 
(the wire rack makes sure that air can circulate around the wings,
helping the crispy happen on the top and bottom!). 
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2.  Mix the baking powder, 1 tsp. onion powder,
1/2. tsp. garlic powder and 4 tsp. kosher salt in a large bowl.
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3. Dry the wings with a paper towel - get them as dry as you can -
Toss wings in bowl with spice mixture until evenly coated.
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4.  Place wings on rack on baking sheet, don't let them touch.
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5.  Bake for 25 minutes (at 250 - this is to pull out the moisture -
they will look pale and dry when this stage is done - this is what you want) 
Increase oven temp to 500 degrees, and continue to bake for 25-30 more
minutes, turning wings halfway through (use tongs).  
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6.  While wings are baking, bring 1/2 cup Peri-Peri Wing Sauce,
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter and 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar to a simmer
in a small saucepan over medium heat. 
Cook, swirling occasionally, until slightly reduced and thickened,
6-8 minutes.
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7.  Mix Blue cheese, Yogurt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. onion powder in a bowl.  Stir, cover and chill.
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8.  Place wings in a large bowl, cover with sauce mixture (from stove) and toss until evenly coated.
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Tip 1:
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Did you wonder why you would use baking powder? 
I sure did and then I looked into why it works and now it makes sense.  
Baking powder, not to be mistaken with baking soda,
is a leavening agent usually used in baked goods such as cookies and cakes.
It's a mixture of sodium bicarbonate, cream of tartar and cornstarch.
When mixed with salt and coated on chicken it dries
out the skin, leaving it crisp and crunchy.
 It happens because the addition of the baking powder raises the pH level in
the chicken, allowing the peptide bonds in the skin to break down, thus letting the
skin get more crisp and brown.
It may sounds unappealing, but coating chicken wings in seasoned baking
powder is what makes the skin super crispy. You won't taste it in the end results,
so long as you use aluminum-free.
To be clear, make sure you use baking powder, NOT baking soda,
because there is a big difference!
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Tip 2:
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 Place the wings (not touching each other) on a wire rack over a baking
sheet.  Why?  This allows the air to circulate all around the chicken wings and
helps them get nice and crispy!