Chicken Wings & Football – How to Prepare Tailgate Worthy Chicken Wings

If you’re a football fan, you probably also love everything that goes along with the game – team jerseys, friendly rivalries, tailgating, and delicious food. And what better food to serve up at your next tailgate than a big platter of chicken wings?

Whether you love them sweet, spicy, or somewhere in between, there is a chicken wing recipe that will impress your friends. Here are some tips for preparing tailgate-worthy chicken wings and a few recipes to get you started.

Tips for Preparing Tailgate-Worthy Chicken Wings

When you cook chicken wings, you have several options. You can bake, fry, or grill them. Another choice that is growing in popularity is fixing them in an air fryer. But you may not have one of these at your next tailgate.

However you decide to cook them, one of the best things about chicken wings is the crispy skin. But this can be a challenging effect to achieve. After you remove your wings from the package, pat them completely dry with a paper towel. If possible, leave the wings sitting on a cookie sheet in the fridge for a few hours, ideally overnight.

If you don’t have the time to let your wings sit, you can get your crispy skin another way. Place the dried wings in a plastic bag or bowl, then shake them up after adding some salt and baking powder. Use one-half teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of baking powder for every pound of chicken wings.

How Do You Like Your Chicken Wings & Football?

If you’re going to bring wings to a tailgate party, you might want to consider offering a variety of flavors so that you can appeal to your different guest’s tastes. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are few ideas:

Grilled Buffalo Wings

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. whole chicken wings
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup hot sauce

Preparation:

To prepare, combine the garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Place your wings in a large bowl and toss them with the mixture. Preheat your gas grill to 350 degrees (medium heat). Place the wings on the grill close enough together so that they are touching (this keeps them moist). Flip the wings every 5 minutes for a total cooking time of 20 minutes.

At the same time, heat the hot sauce, butter, honey, and vinegar on low heat in a saucepan and combine with a whisk. Once your wings are cooked, combine the wings with the sauce. Then, turn up your grill heat to high and place them back on the grill for up to two minutes on each side until the skins are crisp.

Fried Garlic Parmesan Wings

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs. chicken wings
  • 1 cup hot sauce
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese (grated)

Preparation:

To prepare, season the wings with salt and pepper and fry at 400 degrees. Combine the garlic, parmesan cheese, hot sauce, and butter in a bowl. After the wings have cooked, toss in the sauce mixture to coat.

Baked Teriyaki Chicken Wings

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. chicken wings (or drumettes)
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

Preparation:

To prepare, whisk together the soy sauce, water, pineapple juice, vegetable oil, sugar, ginger, and garlic in a large ceramic or glass bowl until all of the sugar has dissolved. Add the chicken wings to the mixture and coat them thoroughly. Let the wings sit for a minimum of an hour.

Next, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease several baking sheets and set them to the side. Remove the chicken wings from the marinade and place them on the baking sheets. Bake the wings in the oven until the glaze is evenly browned and the chicken is thoroughly cooked, about one hour.

Visit Nick’s of Calvert for High-Quality Chicken Wings & Ingredients

However you decide to prepare your chicken wings for your next football tailgate, you should start with the main ingredient – high-quality meat. At Nick’s of Calvert, we offer customers a full-service meat counter, which is our store’s centerpiece. Our store takes pride in delivering the freshest meats at the lowest prices. Visit us today to pick up all of your supplies for your next football tailgate, chicken wing party, or other special event.

Pairing the Right Craft Beer With Your Grilled Burger

When you own a BBQ grill, it seems like it’s always grilling season. Sure, there’s plenty of items you can put on the grill, but few things compare to a traditional, juicy burger. Whether you’re enjoying a no-frills, simple recipe, or one of those fancy super burgers, it’s going to taste much better if you have the right craft beer to enjoy alongside it.

Burgers and beer are nothing new. But how you match up the two can make or break your outdoor meal. In fact, some beer can get lost in the flavor of your extravagant burger, while others will overwhelm the meat. But beer is an excellent complement to food because of its ability to enhance and interact with so many different flavors.

Before you even consider the right craft beer, make sure you start with a quality cut of meat. Our butchers will help you select the best cut of meat for your burger/beer combo. Also, understanding that the makeup and chemistry of beer make it an ideal pairing, here is a look at what style of craft beer pairs well with different types of burgers.

Cheesy Burgers

Who doesn’t love cheese on their burger? Most of us do, and that’s good news because cheese is the perfect complement to beer. When you create a cheeseburger, it’s tough to go wrong with any craft beer you choose, but here are few ideas.

Sam Adams Boston Lager is an excellent option as an easy-drinking beer that has notes of caramel. Another is True Respite Ultimate Dreamy Team, which is a hazy IPA .

Spicy Burgers

If you love a spicy burger, consider pairing it with the right craft beer. You can accentuate the heat in your meal with a good IPA. Alternatively, if you wish to cool some of that heat, choose a pilsner or Helles-style lager.

If you’re looking for a good IPA to try out, there are probably a thousand choices. One popular one is Crooked Crab I Fought the Claw IPA, which is a bit hoppy with some citrus and other lively notes. For a pilsner and Helles-style lager, check out Aslin Brewing Company’s Much Ado.

Sweet Burgers

There are some interesting burger combinations you can make, some of which combine savory and sweet elements. For example, some burgers have caramelized onions, and we’ve even seen burgers with donuts substituted for buns.

So, how do you choose the right craft beer to go with one of these creations? In short, you need something light to balance out the heaviness of all that sugar. Porters will give you the balance you need nicely. One craft beer you can try is Stone Smoked Porter, which has an interesting Vanilla Bean flavor.

Savory Burgers

When your burger is topped with something savory like bacon, mushrooms, avocado, egg, or even pasta, you’ll want to choose your craft beer wisely. Your burger is already packing a lot of flavors, so you could opt for a simple lager such as House Beer.

On the other hand, amber beers, Porters, and nutty brown ales also complement savory foods. A few options include Rogue American Amber Ale and AleSmith Nut Brown Ale.

Classic Burgers

Let’s assume you want to grill a class beef burger. Start off with some high-quality ground beef or chuck, add your lettuce, tomato, onions, and condiments, and you’re ready for some refreshments.

There are several approaches to pairing a craft beer with your classic burger. You can pair it with an American Pilsner that is light and will allow your burger’s flavor to shine. You can also pair it with an India Pale Ale or American Pale Ale that matches your burger’s flavor intensity.

Meatless Burgers

How you pair a meatless burger is going to depend on the base for the burger, which can range from nutty grains to black beans to earthy mushrooms. Something that goes with most meatless burgers is a wheat-based ale, such as a Belgian White Ale or an American Wheat Ale. Another option that could work is a Saison craft beer like the one from 2SP Brewing Co.

Now that you have this list, it’s time to begin planning your next BBQ. No matter what craft beer and type of burger you choose, Nick’s of Calvert can help you put together the perfect combination.

Not only is our full-service meat counter the centerpiece of our store, but we also offer one of the largest varieties of beer, wine, and spirits in Southern Maryland. If you can find the craft beer you’re looking for, let us know, and we’d be happy to special order it for you. Stop by our store today.

How to Grill Veggies on the Grill

You probably already know it’s a good idea to add some more vegetables to your diet. Maybe you love veggies but aren’t sure how you can fix them in a way that is different and appetizing.

If you haven’t thought about grilling your vegetables, or have tried and failed miserably, we can help. Here are some simple tips to help you grill all types of vegetables for delicious meals and snacks.

Preparing Vegetables for the Grill – Direct Grilling

You can grill just about any type of vegetable provided you take a few minutes to prepare it. If you think about it, just tossing a full onion or eggplant on the grill isn’t going to produce the results you desire.

You’ll get more flavor from your vegetables the more surface area you give them for grill marks. This also makes it easier for you to move the items around on the grill. Here is how you can prepare some common veggies for grilling:

  • Onions– Peel and quarter through the root.
  • Tomatoes– Choose perfectly ripe tomatoes and cut them half crosswise.
  • Asparagus– Remove the woody ends.
  • Bell peppers– Quarter and seed.
  • Mushrooms – Remove stems and halve or slice if large.
  • Eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash– Cut into lengthwise strips.

To prevent your veggies from sticking, make sure your grill is clean. You’ll also want to brush your vegetables with oil (olive oil works best) after you slice and prepare them. But you don’t want to use too much oil. This can make your veggies have a greasy flavor, cause flare-ups on your grill, and defeat the purpose of trying to add something healthy to your meal.

Grilling Your Veggies – Some Indirect Methods

Some vegetables are a bit unwieldy and messy to place directly on the grill, no matter how well you prepare them. Smaller mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini rounds are a few examples.

You can keep these smaller items from falling through the grate or rolling around on your grill by using a grill basket or placing them on a skewer. If you don’t have either of these items, you can create your own “basket.” Take a roughly 24” piece of heavy-duty foil and fold it in half. Crimp the edges to create a “basket” that will keep your food inside while grilling.

Whether you use a skewer, grate, or makeshift basket, you’ll still want to prepare your vegetables for grilling the same way you would as if you were directly grilling them. By slicing them and brushing them with oil, you can ensure the veggies won’t stick and will come out tasting delicious.

How Long to Grill Your Vegetables?

Some vegetables only need a minute or two on the grill and others need longer to cook. To prevent burning, sear your veggies on medium to high heat and then move them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking. Use a thin metal spatula or a good set of tongs to carefully move and flip your vegetables around the grill.

Depending on the size of your veggies and your grill, your experience will vary, so watch your vegetables carefully. But here is a general rule of thumb for some popular veggies:

  • Grilled corn– 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally
  • Grilled asparagus– 4 minutes
  • Grilled zucchini– 4-5 minutes on each side
  • Grilled tomatoes – 5 minutes per side
  • Grilled mushrooms– 2-3 minutes per side

If you’re grilling a mix of vegetables, you’ll want to grill the heartier ones first. For example, grill your onions and peppers before your mushrooms, squash, and zucchini. The last items to go on the grill should be things like tomatoes and asparagus.

A Few Additional Notes About Grilling Vegetables

Some vegetables don’t do well on the grill. Leafy greens, celery, and cucumbers are examples because of their high-water content.

But you can serve your vegetables with a green salad, sandwich, wrap, or omelet and get delicious results. Finally, consider adding a drizzle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar to your vegetables if you are going to serve them as a standalone side dish with your meal.

Get the Freshest Vegetables at Nick’s of Calvert

Now that you know how to grill veggies to perfection, the next step is to hit your local grocer for your supplies. Nick’s of Calvert offers only the freshest produce and makes service to its customers one of its priorities. Come into our Prince Frederick store today for all your grocery, spirits, and catering needs, or give us a call at (410) 414-7105 with any questions.

Choosing the Right Meat for the Grill and How to Grill It

Do you get bored with the same meats on your grill week after week? You shouldn’t have to because there are so many different options. A perfect backyard BBQ meal is the result of a combination of the right cut and type of meat and cooking technique.

If you are ready to take your grilling game to the next level, here is what you need to know.

Beef

When most people think of firing up the grill, they choose some type of beef as the main course. Whether you are grilling burgers, flank steak, or a NY strip, the quality of the beef you purchase and your technique matters.

Choosing the Right Cut of Beef

If you are making burgers, regular ground beef will have the most flavor only because it has the highest fat content (roughly 25%). If you want a burger with less fat content, choose something like ground chuck or ground sirloin.

When choosing steaks to grill, you will want to think about how you plan to grill it as well as your budget. For example, flank and skirt steaks and beef tri-tips are budget-friendly and do well with a dry rub or marinade. A NY strip or filet mignon is more costly, but also incredibly flavorful.

When picking out your meat, here are some of the ways you can judge it:

  • Marbling– Pay attention to the fat (white lines) on the meat. This gives the meat flavor and moisture during the cooking process.
  • Grade– Higher grades of meat will generally have more marbling. For beef, look for USDA grades that are Prime, Choice, or Select (Prime is the highest).
  • Color– Beef should dark red or cherry in color, not brown.
  • Cut – Different cuts of beef work better with different styles of cooking. Smaller cuts are better for grilling and larger ones are ideal for smoking.

How to Grill It

Hamburger patties are quick and easy to cook on the grill. Maintain a medium-low heat to make sure your burger cooks evenly and achieves the proper internal temperature before the outside of the burger burns. Your target internal temperature is 160° F. For best results flip your burger once and do not press your burger with you grill tool (i.e. spatula) as it will allow juices to escape and dry your burger out. You will also want to use high to medium heat to cook steaks on the grill, again flipping them just once to lock in the juices and avoid drying them out. And remember, temperature matters.

Pork

If you want to grill pork, most people go for the ribs, but other popular options are pork chops as well as a pork butt or shoulder roast.

How to Choose Pork for Your BBQ

Pork doesn’t come in grades like beef, but certain breeds will have higher levels of marbling, such as Berkshire and Duroc. Pork should be red to pink in color, never green or brown.

How to Grill It

If you are cooking ribs, they need low heat for a long time. When cooking pork chops you should consider two levels of heat. First, sear your chops over a high heat for about 3 minutes per side to create the grill marks on the outside of the chop. Then, lower the heat to medium and cook for about 7 minutes to finish cooking the chops. When grilling pork of any type, make sure you do not overcook it so that it becomes dry.

Chicken

Chicken is excellent on the grill! You can grill chicken wings, drumsticks, or boneless breasts. Or, you could just cut up a whole chicken and put it on the BBQ.

How to Choose Chicken for Your BBQ

Poultry comes in grades A, B, and C, but you are likely to only see Grade A chicken at your local grocery store. Poultry should also be pink, not white, or brown.

How to Grill It

Chicken is one of the easiest meats to grill, and it’s so versatile. You can marinate it with lime juice or teriyaki or coat it with your favorite BBQ sauce for additional flavor and moisture. Grill your chicken on medium heat. Chicken breasts and thighs will tend to cook the most evenly. For white meat, your chicken is done at about 170-degrees and you should aim for 180-degrees with dark meat.

Turkey

Turkey on the BBQ? You bet! Similar to chicken, you can purchase turkey breast cutlets that are low fat and delicious when grilled.

How to Choose Turkey for Your BBQ

When choosing turkey for your next BBQ, simply use the same criteria that you would for chicken.

How to Grill It

Since turkey can dry easily, it’s a good idea to marinate it before grilling to lock in some of its moisture. Grill your turkey similar to chicken and aim for the same internal temperatures.

Get Help Choosing the Right Meat for Your Next Cookout

The good and bad news is that you have a ton of options when it comes to choosing the best meat for your next cookout. If you are still not sure where to start, we can help. Nick’s of Calvert offers a full-service meat counter and our store takes pride in delivering superior customer service. We are also known for providing some of the freshest meats in the area at the most affordable prices. Visit us today in Prince Frederick or call us at (410) 414-7105.