A crock pot is a type of electric slow cooker. It uses a light heating element that heats food very slowly, which also means it's one of the most hands-off cooking methods. A crock pot works especially well for foods that risk making a mess of your oven, such as BBQ chicken wings. Chicken can be temperamental and dry out easily, but heating it slowly through in BBQ sauce will ensure it's moist and flavorful.
Purchase between three to five pounds of whole chicken wings to cook in a crock pot. If you use less than that, they may be more likely to overcook. Cut the wings at the joint to form two pieces and throw away the pointy tip. Using smaller pieces will make the chicken fit into the crock pot more easily and ensure they heat through evenly. When cooking with a crock pot, do not skimp on adding liquid. If you're making your own BBQ sauce, prepare enough to make approximately two cups plus extra for dipping. Select an 18-oz. bottle of prepared BBQ sauce to save time. If you want to customize a bottled BBQ sauce, use 1 1/2 cups and add a total 1/2 cup of other ingredients, such as honey, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce or mustard.
Precook the chicken wings separately before adding them to the crock pot with the BBQ sauce. Bake them at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the insides are no longer pink. If you want a crispier skin, broil or grill them for approximately 20 minutes. Precooking the wings will give them a richer flavor and prevent them from becoming too soft. It will also ensure the BBQ sauce doesn't burn before the chicken is cooked through, especially if you use a sauce containing a lot of sugar or other sweet ingredients more susceptible to burning. The wings will still be edible if you don't precook them, but they will be very soft; however, it may be worth it for you to save hands-on preparation time.
Once your chicken wings are precooked, add them to your crock pot. Pour about two cups of homemade or bottled BBQ sauce on top of the wings. The safest way to cook BBQ wings in a crock pot is to set the appliance to "low" because crock pot settings can vary depending on the model. Heat the wings on "low" for up to five hours. If you want to save time, crank the heat to "high" and heat for up to two hours. Check the wings periodically to make sure the sauce isn't burning. If you don't precook the wings, they will require approximately eight hours on a "low" heat or about three hours on a "high" heat. Make sure the chicken is completely white with clear juices before removing. Serve the BBQ wings with extra BBQ sauce for dipping.
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