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with a killer tailgate recipe for Big Easy Party Wings

Until about three and a half years ago I hated football. Hated it. This deep-seated hatred was probably instilled by a few childhood traumas such as this one:

Aint's Fans
It was hard enough growing up in “The City That Care Forgot”, but when I was a kid, we didn’t even have a football team that the fans could give a damn about.

Or maybe it was the time in high school while trying to leave the schoolyard that I heard someone scream “RIOT!” and seconds later (BAM!) my face was violently planted into the ground and my body flattened into a pancake. It was as if I had been hit by a Mack truck and instantaneously buried all at once. Then before I completely came to, I felt a huge pair of hands lifting me into an upright position and handing me my book bag. What I managed to make out was a 300-pound football player, gesticulating in a most apologetic manner. Or at least that’s what I assumed he was doing, because I could not focus and had gone temporarily deaf. Then he took off running again. Dazed and confused, I aimed myself toward home again to see if anything was broken when (BAM!) once again I had been violently reunited with the ground. NO LIE. I was blind-sided not once, but TWICE, by two different H U M O N G O U S football goons barreling across the yard to join their buddies in one of the latest race riots. Yes, this was a common occurrence in the Louisiana public school that I attended. And yes, it was a rough school to say the least.

    It was probably about then that I was officially done with FOOTBALL.

To both their credits though the second guy picked me up and apologized too. Oh, and we won the State Championship that year. yay…

Then lo and behold during the 2009 NFL season it happened. Twelve years after leaving my hometown, after years of longing for such gloriously mundane things as a good bowl of red beans and rice on Mondays, a Saint Joseph’s Altar in some nice lady’s back yard or drinking beer on the levee, the Aint’s got their act together.

Now before you go judging me as a “jump on the bandwagon, Johnny-come-lately-to-the-game” lame-ass, it was never about the competition or the actual sport to begin with. For me the fever was caught when family and friends began sharing the news and excitement about the local football team (of all things!). Now we’re talking about a community of people who it seemed truly had nothing left to hope for. The same hardwired folks who had survived numerous hurricanes and floods long before the ultimate devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the people who most likely were not even aware of how much “care”, or our government for that matter, had forgotten them. That is until they, (along with the rest of the world), watched their friends, neighbors and entire communities get washed away and further neglected in the aftermath of Katrina.

So HELL YEAH, there was no way I wasn’t going to catch the same fever that actually felt like a miracle cure for my beloved hometown.  If it was football of all things that was going to give my city hope, give us something to be proud of, give us something positive (for a change!) that put us on a national platform, something for me to share with a family that I have a hard time connecting with, then go ahead and count me in as a proud member of the WHODAT NATION.

And then of course, we all know the end of this most awesome Underdog tale:

Saints Fans1
Super Awesome Superbowl Party at My House that Year

Just like with the fried chicken that I serve at the restaurant, I soak these in a spicy buttermilk brine at least overnight. If you don’t have the time, or are just feeling lazy, you can skip the marinade altogether and still get some pretty yummy results.

For Marinade:
4 Pounds Chicken Wing Sections (sometimes referred to as “party wings” in the grocery store)
½ Pint Buttermilk
¼ C Sriracha
2 TB Kosher Salt
1 TB Black Pepper
1 Tb Cayenne
¼ C Chopped Onion
2 TB Minced Garlic

Combine everything together. Cover and let marinate overnight in refrigerator. The next day remove the wings from the marinade and spread out onto a non-stick baking sheet. Place into a 350* oven and cook for about 30 minutes or until cooked through.

For Wing Sauce:
1/2 Stick Salted Butter
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Small Jalapeno, Minced
1/4 C Crystal Hot Sauce (my hot sauce of choice for everything)
1/2 TSP Honey
1 TB Sriracha
Pinch Salt

Melt butter in microwave. Whisk butter and remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. Add cooked wings to bowl and toss together.

Photo By Libby Truesdell
photo by Libby Truesdell