There are three steps in cooking this dish. The first is marinating the chicken wings. The second is frying. And the third is glazing. We use homemade Cajun seasoning to marinate the chicken in. We flour the seasoned chicken wings before frying. And we cook the ingredients for the glaze until thick and sticky so that it coats the fried chicken wings well.
Why homemade Cajun seasoning? Is store-bought not okay to use? How your Cajun fried chicken wings will turn out depends largely on the quality of the seasoning you use. There are so many brands of Cajun seasoning and some are better than others. If you’re lucky enough to get a good brand, you’re already a step ahead. If not, well, you’ll have to hope that the glaze will be able to mask the shortfalls of the seasoning.
It is because of this hit-and-miss experience with Cajun seasonings that we prefer homemade. There had been more than one occasion when we bought a jar of Cajun seasoning, used it once, then got rid of the what remained in the jar because it was just no good. So, we just make our own. All the ingredients are pantry staples anyway — salt, pepper, oregano, cayenne, garlic, onion, thyme and paprika — so it’s just a matter of measuring and mixing.
To make sure that the Cajun seasoning coats the chicken wings well, it is important to remove surface moisture. That means patting the chicken wings dry with paper towels before tossing in the seasoning. And to make sure that the seasonings reaches the innermost part of the thickest portion of the chicken wings, we leave the chicken to soak up the flavors for two hours. Overnight is best, really, but the meat of chicken wings isn’t so thick so a minimum of two hours is okay.
Tossing the marinated chicken wings in flour before frying gives them a light crispy crust. The flour also helps tremendously in making the glaze stick to the chicken wings better.
To save time, we simmer the glaze in a small pan while the chicken wings are frying in a large one. It takes only a short time to make the glaze and it gets a chance to cool while frying the thicken in batches.
With the chicken wings fried to a crisp and the glaze having thickened some more as it cooled, all that remains is tossing them together.
Full recipe below
Cajun fried chicken wings
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic - or use garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne powder - chili powder may be substituted
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
- 3 teaspoons sea salt - or 1 ½ teaspoons refined salt
- 1 kilogram chicken wings
- cooking oil - for deep frying
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 3 tablespoons mustard
Marinate the chicken wings
- Mix all the ingredients for the Cajun seasoning.
- Rinse the chicken wings, pat dry with paper towels then cut into drumettes and wingettes (we kept the wingtips on).
- Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl, dump in the Cajun seasoning and toss well to distribute evenly.
- Cover the bowl and keep in the fridge.
Fry the chicken wings
- After two hours of marinating, take the chicken wings out of the fridge to allow them to come to room temperature.
- When the two-hour marinating time is almost up, start heating enough cooking oil in a pan to reach a depth of at least three inches.
- Add the flour to the chicken and toss thoroughly to evenly coat each piece.
- Fry the chicken in batches for eight to ten ten minutes depending on the thickness of the meat.
Make the glaze
- While the chicken fries, in a small pan, heat all the ingredients for the glaze.
- Mix just until heated through and the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Keep the glaze warm.
Glaze the fried chicken wings
- Dump the fried chicken wings into a large clean mixing bowl.
- Drizzle in the warm glaze and toss well to coat each piece evenly.