Cast Iron Pans Cast iron pan owners swear by them for their even dispersal of heat and non stick nature. However, iron is not as happy go lucky as other metals. Initially, the pan must be seasoned with vegetable oil in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for at least an hour. Each time you heat the pan with oil, it will season till it obtains a beautiful dark color. Don't wash off the black patina thinking it is dirty. In fact, never use soap or scour the pan or you will remove the essence of the pan. Dry your iron pan on the stove with medium heat but watch it so it doesn't burn.
The first time I made these chicken wings, I ate the entire two pounds by myself. The combination of the three types of lemon seasoning is what makes them stand out from other lemon pepper wings. If you just use dry lemon pepper seasoning from a bottle, they just don't taste as vibrant and fresh. The same is true if you just use lemon zest and lemon juice... the wings don't taste as artificially tangy and zippy. Combining all three flavors really makes these wings amazing.
The first step is to get some good quality chicken wings. I like to separate them wing tip, drumette and wingette myself. I've had bad luck trusting the butcher to cut them neatly. Plus, the wing is fresher when it comes whole. It's really not the hard to separate them. Just locate the joints and cut right down the middle. With a little practice it's a piece of cake.
Make sure to get your oil really hot on medium high heat before adding your chicken wings. I usually salt and pepper and then dredge my wings in flour while I'm waiting so I don't get impatient. I like to use a cast iron pan for frying since it holds it's heat well but any thick pan will suffice. Use just enough oil to almost cover the wings. After 5 or 6 minutes, flip the wings and cook another 5 to 6 minutes.
Immediately transfer the wings to a large bowl and add the butter, lemon zest (the easiest way to zest a lemon is with a Microplane), lemon juice and lemon pepper seasoning. Mix the wings with the ingredients by flipping the bowl in a forward, up and then back motion. This tossing motion wings will mix the wings and seasoning nicely. Using a spoon to mix might damage the exterior of the wing.
Keep tossing till the wings are completely covered with the seasonings. A dozen flips should suffice. Some of the seasonings will stick to the bowl. You can scrape it off and try to mix the wings again. Or, you can just scrape the bowl with a wing and eat it :) I find the latter is much more satisfying, allowing you to get a big hit of seasoning on some of your wings.
I like to use Vegetable Shortening for several reasons. First, it seems to fry better to me than vegetable oil. Most importantly, though, it solidifies once it cools down making it much easier to dispose. All you have to do is scoop it into the trash can. Nice and neat!
Here's what the shortening looks like after it has cooled down. Much easier to clean up than trying to pour the oil into an empty bottle for disposal.
If you don't want to deep fry your wings, lay them skin side up on an oiled Cooling Rack. Place the cooling rack inside a Jelly Roll Pan to catch the drippings. Cook for 30 minutes at 400 degree Fahreneit or until desired crispiness is attained. You can even broil them for a few minutes if they are done before the skin gets crispy. Just be careful you don't burn them.
Whether you call them rounds and flats or two bones and one bones, some people prefer drumettes and some people like wingettes better. Let me know in the comments what your preferences. BTW, I like flats :)
Separate the three pieces of the wing at the joint. Discard the wing tip and keep the drumette and wingette.
Heat your vegetable oil or shortening in a thick pan, like cast iron, on medium-high heat. Use just enough oil to almost cover the wings
Season wings on both sides with salt and pepper. Toss them together by hand to evenly distribute the seasoning.
Dredge your wings in flour. I like to use a plastic grocery bag so the flour doesn't go everywhere.
Deep fry the wings 5 to 6 minutes on each side.
Transfer the wings to a large bowl and add butter, lemon pepper seasoning, lemon zest and lemon juice. Toss till the wings are completely covered.
Wow....Crisco. My southern mother used vats of Crisco. When I began to cook I banned Crisco for health reasons. But there is no substitute especially for fried chicken. My mother Meme used half Crisco and half bacon grease to cook her chicken. Brined, salt, pepper, dredged, deep fried in cast iron. I have never tasted better fried chicken. Yeah for Crisco.