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Chicken Wings: Raw vs Precooked

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 

I was wondering if anyone works or has worked in a restaurant that deep fries chicken wings from raw to order?  At the restaurant I'm at right now they come in frozen, are thawed,  baked, portioned, frozen and then taken out and thawed then deep  fried as needed.  Is this the normal industry standard for average restaurants?  I prefer cooked from raw but is that functional in a restaurant kitchen?  Does it kill the oil a lot faster?  Take up lots of fryer time? We only have 2 fryers and they are used mainly for french fries, wings and a few other quick cooking apps.

post #2 of 47
I think frying from raw provides the highest quality wing.
That being said, yes, it does kill the oil faster.
In a high volume place that cooks enormous amounts of wings, like a brew pub, you'll replace your oil often.
But it does provide a juicier wing.
Smaller places and/or places with limited fryer space tend to use other methods.
We currently thaw and steam our wings until fully cooked.
This renders a lot of the fat off the wing.
When fried the oil lasts longer and we just have to bring the wing to temp.
Still a crispy skin, but notably dryer, though not a huge sacrifice in quality.

Another concern for cooking from raw is sanitation.
I won't describe some of the things I've seen at brew pubs unless asked, but suffice it to say that if you can't trust your crew to follow basic sanitation practices you are going to be creating batches of salmonella soup.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #3 of 47
defiantly you have to do what you have to do to make sure it comes out on time and tastes good. when i worked my first restaurant they had frozen ones(raw) and just put them in the fryer like that, they came out good but i always like to put blackening seasoning and put them in the broiler. at this other chicken place i worked it was raw chicken. i think it depends on your place and how much wings they sell like the previous poster explained
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Chef it up errrrday!!!
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post #4 of 47
We cooked ours from raw.  They came in frozen, were thawed overnight in a sink of running cold water then popped into a bucket in the walk-in until needed.  We had four fryers; two were used for wings, one for fries and fried apps, and one reserved for funnel cakes and fried ice cream.  The oil was changed twice per week, if I recall correctly.  I managed to be on bartender duty whenever the grease traps needed love.  * shrugs *

Oh, btw, our place was always packed on the days when we offered wings specials, and wings were our most popular app/bartop meal.  They were pretty good, and well appreciated by our customers.
post #5 of 47
Fresh and Raw is always the best. If a restaurant is pre cooking, portioning, and freezing, its probably an item on the menu, and not a big part of the success of the operation. If you have a high volume sports bar doing a lot of hot wings, they will be cook raw to order. Hot and juicy, the best quality so people come back for wings and suds;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;ChefBill
post #6 of 47
 Raw and fresh is the way to go with any dish.  People will wait a few extra minutes if the wings are good enough.  Also, they may buy a few more brews while waiting.
Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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post #7 of 47
Thread Starter 
Well I think I'll have to go with raw.  We only have two fryers so I guess I'll have to limit the amount of fried items.  We we're also thinking about doing our own fresh cut fries using the two fry process.  Does anyone have any experience with this in restaurants?  Can the fries be blanched in the fryer earlier in the day and then used later that night?  Would they keep for more than a day?  If not whats the wastage?
post #8 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrChris View Post
 Can the fries be blanched in the fryer earlier in the day and then used later that night?  

Yes.
They can be blanched, cooled and stored in buckets in the walk-in.

Quote:
Would they keep for more than a day? 
 
 

They should keep 2-3 days with no notable drop in quality.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #9 of 47
 I also blanch my wings dry them then fry. My reasons are Speed of service,Cross contamination, less oil consumed and I find less greasy. I dredge in seasoned flour then toss in Franks Hot Sauce and clarified butter. We do it on a daily basis. any left at end of day is for staff, I will not use second day.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #10 of 47
I've worked at places where both methods were done, and I have to say that nothing beats a freshly cooked wing (or most other meats for that matter).  No matter how you do it double cooking ultimately makes any meat drier and less succulent.  On top of that the place where we made wings to order was the busy brew pub, of course there was one guy working fryers and we had about seven baskets worth of fryer space... but it just goes to show that it is possible.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #11 of 47
Thread Starter 
 I have two double basket fryers and I want to do fresh battered fish and chips as well...  I think I need another fryer.
post #12 of 47

Grilled wings are my favorite just precook em a bit and hold, serve with a Jamaican jerk sauce, although we confit ours at my current gig and they are AWESOME...

post #13 of 47

The best quality wing is cooked from raw. Treat your oil as a food product, and include it in your food cost when you create your recipe standard. Replace it as often as needed. In my restaurant, I change my oil every 2 days at the minimum, every day if necessary. It's simply not worth sacrificing quality to push it. By factoring the cost of oil into my recipe standards, there is no "waste".

 

post #14 of 47

 

I leased a restaurant that was located in a very popular bar; we sold an enormous amount of pizza and wings. Although I preferred things to be as fresh as they could possibly be, we had to par-bake the wings in order to keep up with the demand from the bar and a three car delivery service.  We would dredge the raw wings in seasoned flour that also contained an adequate amount of cayenne pepper, they were great! Since we were located in a very remote area of Alaska, we only received one delivery a week by barge. I therefore had to keep several cases of frozen wings in the event that we ran short. The pizza oven was one of those conveyor ovens that was wide enough to pass through a large sheet pan of wings, this is how we par-baked them. We never had any waste since they were par cooked and had a longer shelf life.

Kenneth Tanasy

Chef / Owner

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Kenneth Tanasy

Chef / Owner

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post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Jim View Post

I think frying from raw provides the highest quality wing.
That being said, yes, it does kill the oil faster.
In a high volume place that cooks enormous amounts of wings, like a brew pub, you'll replace your oil often.
But it does provide a juicier wing.
Smaller places and/or places with limited fryer space tend to use other methods.
We currently thaw and steam our wings until fully cooked.
This renders a lot of the fat off the wing.
When fried the oil lasts longer and we just have to bring the wing to temp.
Still a crispy skin, but notably dryer, though not a huge sacrifice in quality.

Another concern for cooking from raw is sanitation.
I won't describe some of the things I've seen at brew pubs unless asked, but suffice it to say that if you can't trust your crew to follow basic sanitation practices you are going to be creating batches of salmonella soup.



Saw this post right here and got me thinking some. Right now we run through 300-400lb wings a week. We are preecooking our wings by baking them first then rapidly cooling them for a quicker frying time. Reason for precooking is the volume we go through. Saw that they where being steamed by Just Jim. Might have turned me on to a new way to precook our wings. Does the steaming of the wings keep them more moist than baking and if so what is the process you use to steam them?

post #16 of 47
Thread Starter 

If you don't have a steamer or combi oven you could put an extra sheet pan in whatever it is you're cooking your wings in and just toss a couple ice cubes on the pan every now and then. Or you could try boiling or braising the wings.

 

300-400 lbs wow, thats impressive.

post #17 of 47

 

Understanding that in this economy...operators need to maximize their profits if they are going to survive today! Understanding that "Chicken Wings are the most popular appetizer in the country, it is important to offer chicken wing on your menu. It is incumbent that you offer the best quality as well as the best customer service at the same time increase profits. The reality is mot operators purchase raw wings not for their eating quality but because the perceived notion that they are more profitable than paying the higher price of pre-cooked. The most popular size of raw wings is the 8 to the pound average count. You mentioned what you do to prevent water from destroying your oil, that is just one of the drawbacks of raw!, you have to monitor temperature, wash every surface that comes in contact with raw chicken, you have long cook times, space issues and shelf life concerns not to mention the concerns of cross-contamination and food borne illness.

 

Most operators, not all but most, offer 10 wing portions. If you are buying an 8 to the pound wing, it takes 1.5# to produce 1 order of wings. A 40 pound case of 8 count wings has an average of 320 wings or 32 portions @ an Average price considering market fluctuations of $1.75 per lb. ($70.00 per case) and a menu price of $7.99 your revenue is less the cost of goods is $185.68 or a return on investment of $4.64 per lb. Also understand that when cooking a raw chicken wing to 165 degrees in a fryer, will shrink 45 to 50 %! Producing a 15 to A 17 to the pound finished product (for every 40 pound case of raw wing you cook out 18 to 20# of water and fat).

 

The only real advantage raw wing offer is appearance (golden brown skin). Actually, raw wings are only juicy immediately after cook. If you are doing take-out or catering they lose temp and moisture faster than pre-cooked.

 

The good news is there is a wing that is available that has everything done to it you are doing now, cooked from fresh, steamed and then flash frozen. This process produces a replacement to raw providing a quality product without the issues of raw while providing increased profits. Let’s say you pay $3.35 per lb. for this product at an average count of 11, if you buy 40 pounds you pay $134.00 or $64.00 more than raw but you have 440 wings or 44 portions that is 12 more portions than 40 lbs. of raw. Selling at $7.99 generating $95.88 in revenue. Subtract the additional cost of pre-cooked and you have an increase in profits of $31.88 PER 40# CASE!!!! Most operators I know will switch suppliers on raw for a nickel a pound or $2.00 a case! If you can eliminate all the issues you have with raw, serve an equal to or an improvement in quality, with a cook time of 4 to 5 min. allowing faster customer service. I would think this is a no brainer.

post #18 of 47

I have a bar&grill and the way we do them is from raw to deep fryer sometimes we do from raw to deep fryer to bbq for that mesquite taste and boy do they keep coming back.

post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingL66 View Post

  Subtract the additional cost of pre-cooked and you have an increase in profits of $31.88 PER 40# CASE!!!! 


You lost me.  With your numbers I figure food cost 28% fresh vs 38% frozen.  The wing chains I've been to use frozen but it takes 15 minutes to cook anyway, at least thats what they told me. 

post #20 of 47

I would have to agree with the consenus here and say that fresh are a better product than frozen or precooked, but you also have to take into account the equipment you have available to you.  If you only have 1 or 2 fryers and sell a lot of fried foods then you really can't afford (time wise) to be taking up fryer baskets with wings for 20 minutes at a time.  So unless you have at least 1 fryer that you can use exclusively for wings they you will need to precook them or you will cause a train wreck at your fryer station.

http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #21 of 47

I used to work at Applebee's about ten years ago and we would drop wings into the fryer frozen and cook about ten minutes( I forgot the correct time) until they are half cooked. A little pink juice would still be present. Then they would be dumped on a sheet pan and cooled in the cooler. Next they would be portioned into 12 per order and placed in the pull box. They were cooked daily. When orders came in they were dropped into the fryer for about ten minutes until done and then dumped in a 2 qt cambro with the Buffalo sauce and shaken. Then placed in serving basket with celery sticks. 

post #22 of 47

On our wing nights we typically do 250 - 300lbs of wings in a 60 minute service. We have had the best results by par baking in a convection oven, cooling then frying in small batches before tossing in different sauces.

We have also done a lot of raw fries and the 2-3 days hold on fries blanched in oil works just fine. If blanched in oil, I am sure the lemon slice mentioned above would not be needed. Last fall we did about 200# ahead and then finished them on a propane turkey fryer and had a great product for an outdoor event.

To get the best result, we cut, rinsed, dried, par-fried, fried the potatos. Getting the starch off really helps extend the life of the fryer oil.

post #23 of 47

I live and work in Buffalo, NY and you'd be hard pressed to find too many restaurants out here that don't serve chicken wings.  I'd have to say raw and straight into the fryer is the generally accepted way to cook them, out here at least.  And as for taking up time in the fryers, it takes about 12-15 minutes, its up to you if thats too much time.

post #24 of 47

I buy fresh jumbo wings and stick them in a homeade brine for about 1 and a half hours then rub them down with my wing dust and roast them in the oven until they are around medium rare... after that I drain the excess grease and bag them up and fry them to order. I would love to brine them and fry them from raw but it tears up the oil in my fryers to much especially when you live in an area that wants everything deep fried and you have to change your oil almost every other night of the week..

post #25 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Jim View Post


Yes.
They can be blanched, cooled and stored in buckets in the walk-in.
They should keep 2-3 days with no notable drop in quality.


I do the same thing in the busy season here.. But if you want that extra thirty seconds pull them out about half an hour before hand and let them get to room temperature.. But normally I blanch and re-drop to order in the slower time as it only takes around 5 - 6 minutes as long as your baskets arent over-crowded... This is with two 45 gallon deep fryers in a 180 seat restaurant as well...

post #26 of 47

For us the fastest way although not the best ,only fresh is the best. We steam them, place them on a rack in a combi,  drain well and cool. Bag 10 to the bag and finish in fryer otherwise we get killed . 

     We keep one smaller table top fryer for fish only as the fish does impart a taste to other foods..

    To clean a fryer quick on the fly, drop a raw egg shell and all into it . The egg cooks and draws all the floating sediment from the oil into it . Then just take out the mass with a spider or large slotted spoon and disgard. We fry at 350. for wings and strain oil daily, and clean kettles.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #27 of 47

Raw to fryer is best if you want the best taste and moistness.

 

However, when I make wings I prefer lightly coating them with seasoned potato starch and double frying it.  The first time blanching them in low heat oil and the second time in high heat oil to crisp them up.

 

I also marinate my wings overnight with egg whites, baking soda (1 Tbsp for every 10 pounds), a touch of soy sauce, fresh minced garlic, garlic powder, kosher salt and ground white pepper.  This allows the wings to develop flavor and the egg whites and baking soda will tenderize the wings for a supremely moist and tender wing while the seasoned potato starch will give it unbelievable flavored crunch.

 

Double frying also helps in a restaurant setting since the wings can be blanched off just prior to service.

post #28 of 47

i,ve done from raw to fryer and par cooked. of course raw is best result if in high volume restaurant they usually have a fryer or 2 just dedicated to cooking meats so its farely easy to keep up but if u dont have the space or have time restraints then do what u have to also if your cooking wings in a fryer with other items such as fries the fries can take on that flavor

post #29 of 47
We confit ours in duck fat, garlic and thyme. Cool, snip off the pointy part/cartilage and pull out the bones. Then we vacuum bag them up and fry them to order.

Delicious.
post #30 of 47

I like the idea of confit, then fry to order. I have done that with duck wings. Just curious though why you use duck fat to confit chicken wings as opposed to schmaltz.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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