How to Make the Spiciest, Flamin’ Hot Cheeto-iest Wings You’ve Ever Had
Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co.'s decadent recipe even goes a step further: nacho cheese
Since it’s been a particularly hot fall, and snacks are in order to beat the heat, why not take a moment to learn how to whip up a world-class chicken wing? We’re not just talking your average Buffalo, barbecue or lemon-pepper wing, either, but a real novelty item: Flamin’ Hot Cheetos wings. Born from the brilliant minds at Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co., Boyle Heights’ beloved neighborhood joint, these wings are spicy, crunchy, decadent, and perhaps most importantly, doused in nacho cheese.
The restaurant’s founding chef, Mario Christerna, of MasterChef Latino fame, opened up Brooklyn Ave. in late 2020 with the goal of creating a community hub that gives back to the neighborhood that raised him. Situated in a historic building on Cesar E. Chavez Avenue (formerly Brooklyn Avenue), the pizzeria has a decidedly family feel, and the sports bar vibe means pizza, wings, pints of beer and roars as local teams rise and fall are par for the course on a normal night.
The fate of longtime residents of Boyle Heights, a predominantly Latinx area on the east side of Los Angeles, has been jeopardized recently as gentrification makes waves in the area. This made a new restaurant from a chef who was born and raised in the neighborhood even more important. Located right below the Paramount Ballroom, one of the oldest music venues in L.A., the restaurant is a great stop for fans to get a bite to eat before or after attending a show on the second floor.
The pizza is certainly delicious at Brooklyn Ave., but the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos wings are a menu standout. And former pizzaiolo sous chef Jorge Sandoval, who recently took over as head chef, cites an after-school snack as inspiration for the dish. “The Flamin’ Hot Cheetos wings were inspired by a high school snack,” Sandoval says. “Me and my teammates would often hit up 7-Eleven, grab a bag of Hot Cheetos and drizzle nacho cheese on top. It’s just such a classic snack in L.A., and we pride ourselves in having created a menu that’s heavily inspired by the surrounding community and caters to our local guests.”
For those preparing to attempt Sandoval’s cheesy and spicy wings at home, there are a couple pointers to keep in mind. First off, the wings need to be fried at a very hot temperature. And secondly? These wings work best when hit with a lengthy brine. “A common mistake is frying the chicken at a low temperature, which results in a soggy wing,” the chef explains. “My advice is to fry them at about 375 Fahrenheit to get the wings crispy and juicy. But the key to a good wing is always the preparation. That encompasses everything from the brining to the heat of the fryer.”
Though encountering the wings as a finished product might be a little intimidating, in reality, they’re pretty easy to get right. Of course, while discussing this recipe, we have one more, ahem, burning question: Has anyone from Frito-Lays reached out to Sandoval to help market and celebrate his creation?
“No, but that’s a great idea,” he laughs. We’ll just have to give credit where it’s due instead. When you successfully execute these wings, and your party guests ooo and ahhh over your innovation, make sure to credit the source: young Chicanos growing up in Boyle Heights.”
Chef Jorge Sandoval's Flamin' Hot Cheetos Wings
Prep Time: Overnight
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 12 hrs 30 mins
- 1 lb. chicken wings
- 1/2 cup salt
- 4 Tbsp. sugar
- 4 qt. water
- 2 cups ice
- Frank’s RedHot
- Nacho cheese
- Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, crushed
- Parmesan cheese
For the wings:
Combine ½ cup salt, 4 tablespoons sugar and 4 quarts of water in a pot, bring to a boil, then transfer into a container, toss in 2 cups of ice and allow to cool.
Once cooled, pour the mixture over your wings and allow to brine. Minimum 12 hours. For best results, brine for 24 hours.
After 12 to 24 hours, remove wings from the brine liquid, and lightly rinse under cold water. Roast your wings off at 500 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
Allow your wings to cool down before frying. Fry your wings off at 375 degrees between 5 to 6 minutes to crisp them up. If you want your wings extra crispy, cook for an additional 2 minutes.
For the toppings:
In a mixing bowl, toss your wings in Frank’s RedHot sauce and plate.
Once plated, top the wings with crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, drizzle on your desired amount of nacho cheese, add in the parmesan and finally garnish with cilantro. Eat and enjoy
This article was featured in the InsideHook LA newsletter. Sign up now for more from the Southland.
Suggested for you