This season was the year I finally convinced my wife to give watching football for fun a try, and slowly but surely she has come around to enjoying it. It doesn’t hurt that every Sunday when we do watch the games we make an event out of it and fire up the crockpot to make our favorite game-day delights.
With the regular season long-gone (and with that my favorite team long-eliminated from the post-season) and the playoffs in full swing, it is time to think about the big event that is coming up – the Super Bowl! This year’s NFL championship game will be played on February 3rd, so there is still time to get your game-day menu all set.
As I mentioned above, our go-to for snack-making during the game is our handy-dandy crock pot. What is great about the slow cooker during game-days is that you are able to prepare the meals before the game starts, pop it in the slow cooker and forget about it until the meal is ready! Nothing is more annoying than missing a big play because you are out in the yard grilling or in the kitchen chopping.
We consulted America’s Test Kitchen (subscription required for reviews) for the best slow cooker on the market and found an incredible cooker that has never made a bad meal. Our favorite game-day snack is crispy but tender, spicy but tangy Buffalo. Using an incredible recipe book from, you guessed it, America’s Test Kitchen we found the perfect process to make fall-off-the-bone wings with an added kick in just a few hours.
First off, you season the wings with sweet paprika, chili powder, cayenne, salt and a little sugar (everyone has different tastes so just season to taste – we like ‘em spicy!) We usually just cook the wings in the slow cooker for 4-6 hours on the low setting after “nesting” them at the bottom of the crockpot with some Frank’s Red Hot Sauce mixed with butter – this is the “Buffalo” sauce. For those of you watching your figure, Frank’s makes a pre-mixed Buffalo sauce using butter flavoring, so it has 0 (that’s right, zero!) calories.
After they are done in the slow cooker and are thoroughly cooked, the meat will be tender, moist and juicy. The key to these wings, and what makes them the best wings I have ever had (no exaggeration!), is that after they are done slow cooking, we brush them with some remaining sauce, toss them into the oven and broil for about 10 minutes, flip them over and brush again, and broil for 5 minutes more. What this does is give the wings that incredible “sticky” exterior that is so difficult to achieve. Often restaurants deep-fry the wings to get that crunchy exterior – this is much tastier and way healthier.
Adding a little “together-time” component to the football-watching extravaganzas was definitely a great way to entice my wife into enjoying our Sundays in the fall and the winter a little bit more. Plus, there is nothing more satisfying than sitting down to a plate of wings, realizing they are probably the best wings you have ever had, and then having the satisfaction that you made them yourself.
What's on your Superbowl menu this year?