Cotton & Rye's award-winning wings recipe makes an excellent Super Bowl snack

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Cotton & Rye in Savannah, Georgia, is home to two-time award-winning chicken wings, but the restaurant didn't always have them on the menu.

"The story about how they came about is kind of interesting," said Brandon Whitestone, the restaurant manager. "We never did chicken wings here."

But, when Springer Mountain Farms took notice of Cotton & Rye's chicken thighs, they invited the restaurant to participate in a chicken wing cook off.

Cotton & Rye walked away from that cook off with a first-place finish in 2016.

From there, the wings received and even greater honor.

"This past summer we got invited to James Beard House in New York and do the same thing with eight other restaurants and we won up there as well," Whitestone said.

Whitestone, understandably, doesn't want to release his top-secret, award-winning recipe. However, he did offer up the below recipe for those who wanted to try and make their own twist on Cotton & Rye's wings for a Super Bowl snack.

Those who want the real thing might just have to make a trip to the restaurant.

Spicy Honey & Sumac Chicken Wings

Serves: 5 People

  • 5 pounds of Chicken Wings, Split (flat and drum separate) – This is 6 wings per person roughly
  • 8 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Granulated Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt (Diamond Krystal)**
  • 1/5 Cup Favorite Hot Sauce
  • 2 Cups Honey
  • 4 Tablespoons Favorite Hot Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Sumac
  • 1 Teaspoon Chipotle Morita Powder (or favorite chile powder)
  • 1 Teaspoon Granulated Garlic
  • 4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 4
  • Tablespoons
  • Kosher Salt (Diamond Krystal)**
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Quarts Canola or Vegetable Oil

The day before, whisk eggs, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon granulated garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and ¼ cup hot sauce until clumps are gone (immersion blender works well for this also) and pour over the wings.  Store in refrigerator for at least two hours. It's preferable to store for at least 12 hours before cooking.

In a non-reactive (stainless steel or non stick) sauce pot, combine the honey, 4 tablespoons hot sauce, sumac, chipotle, and garlic, and whisk over med-low heat until mixture combines.  Set aside and cool.  Can be done up to a week in advance.  Warm slightly before using.

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper and mix.

Heat oil in a large pot to 350 degrees using a candy/fry thermometer, making sure pot is large enough that when you add the wings and oil starts to bubble that it will not boil over.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees/warm setting.

Remove wings from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.  Working in batches of 6-8 wings at a time, drain marinade off and toss in flour to coat very well.  Fry until thermometer inserted in thickest part of wing reads 165 degrees for a firm and juicy wing, 175 for a more tender/fall apart texture wing.  As each batch finishes, place on a baking sheet, preferably with a wire rack, in the oven to keep warm until all wings are done.

Once all the wings are cooked toss in the slightly warmed sauce in a large bowl, or serve with sauce on the side to preserve the crunchy texture of the breading if all the wings will not be eaten at once.

**Measurement is for Diamond Krystal brand kosher salt only.  If using Morton or another brand you will have to adjust by taste testing, as different brands of salt have varying densities that will affect a "by volume" measurement.

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