There are some foods that will never be low in terms of Weight Watchers points and still taste like what made you fall in love with them in the first place. For me, these foods include pizza, cheese enchiladas, and buffalo chicken wings. Thankfully, the new Freestyle program allows for the occasional treat.
For me and my boys, the food of choice for a big football game is buffalo wings. So, from September through the Super Bowl, wings are consumed every couple of weeks. For me, there is little more disappointing food-wise than soggy, fatty wings. Wings must be crisp. Crisp. Crisp. I would rather not eat wings than eat them with flaccid skin.
There is no better way to get crispy wings than to roast them in a hot oven – 450-475 degrees. There are two issues with roasting in the oven:
First, if you hate the work of separating the segments of fresh wings (my family consumes 40 wing segments at a meal), it can take 90 minutes, or more, to roast frozen wing segments to crunchy goodness. That is too much time, when there is football to be watched!
Second, wings have a lot of fat. And if you roast from either fresh or frozen, your wings will be swimming in rendered fat by halfway through the cooking process. I usually pull the baking sheets out of the oven and pour off the fat at least once during the cooking process.
Given that the Instant Pot has made my life in the kitchen so much easier and tastier over the past few years, I was determined to find a way to use it to make my wings better. My favorite way to cook ribs is to start them in the Instant Pot and then finish them off in the oven to get a nice crispy bark. I thought that this might be the perfect technique for crispy wings. It took some practicing and tweaking, but I finally got it!
I use my 8 quart Instant Pot for wings, because we need two full 4 pound bags (8 pounds total) of frozen wings. You can use your 6 quart for 6 pounds or less. Even though the frozen wings will start out coming up to the top of the pot, once they have thawed and cooked, they will only take up about 1/2 to 2/3 of the original volume.
So, basically, you will thaw and cook your wings in your pressure cooker. You will start with one cup of water in the bottom of the pot so that your pressure cooker can come up to pressure. With a pot full of frozen wing segments, it will take a while for it to reach pressure and start counting down – don’t worry. After 5 minutes at high pressure and 10 minutes of natural release, the wings will be cooked throughout. You will also be amazed by the amount of fat and liquid you will pour out when you empty the pot to drain the wings. The good news is that you will not be eating that fat!
While in the strainer in your sink, you will toss the wings with a mixture of salt and baking powder (not baking soda). This will alter the ph of the skin and help it to become very crispy in the oven. After 30 minutes in a very hot oven, you will have deliciously crispy wings that are ready to be tossed in whatever sauce your heart desires.
My younger son likes his wings plain and just dips them in blue cheese dressing that way. The original recipe for Buffalo Sauce calls for a mix of Franks Hot Sauce and melted butter, but that add fat and points to the recipe. The great news is that Franks now makes a Buffalo Wing sauce (no need for butter) that is minimal calories and 0 points! That is all I use now. Feel free to use whatever sauce you like, but if you are on Weight Watchers, be sure to look up the point value of the sauce you are using and add it into your meal.