To me, chicken wings are the fowl equivalent of sugar pie, which is when you take all the odds and ends from your pie crust and bake them with sugar on it. Chicken wings are what is left over when the parts of the chicken people actually want are spoken for: unsellable, weird pieces of what is very obviously a bird. The marketing department of Giant Chicken Conglomerate, however, figured out a way to make money off the pieces no one in their right mind would actually want: PUT A LOT OF SAUCE ON THEM. Realistically, chicken wings are vehicles for sauce. Which actually I am totally fine with, though it does raise a question that has troubled me for some time. Why must we use animal parts to ferry sauce from our grubby hands to our mouths? Why is it not ok to eat sauce with a spoon? Some questions just don’t have answers.
The good news is, these chicken wings have a really good sauce. It’s more like a glaze, really. And it can be modified very easily. If, for example, you are making these for someone who does not hate ginger, it would be lovely to put ginger in the sauce! I’m not usually one for recipes that require a long marinating time, because I don’t plan food in advance much, but the longer these marinate, the better they will be. Because you broil them, the skin gets all crispy and caramelized from the sugar and the fat, and soy sauce, garlic and sugar are a magical combination in any situation. Also, if, like me, you make these for a whole bunch of people during which time you drink a large quantity of red wine, you will appreciate how salty, sweet and spicy they are in contrast to how drunk you feel. And, if, like me, you ALWAYS want a snack when the red wine-drinking is over, these are excellent left over.
Vaguely Asian Chicken Wings (these proportions are for 1 lb of chicken wings, double, triple, 14-ple as needed.)
1 lb chicken wings
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tsp Sriracha, depending on how spicy you like things
Some other things you could add to the sauce if you wanted: minced ginger; sake, if you have some lying around; sweet Thai chili sauce; peanut butter, if you want a peanut sauce kind of thing; ponzu; FISH SAUCE, and I would highly recommend this; grated pear, which I use when I make Korean bulgogi, it is magic.
Method: Whisk together the sauce ingredients, coat the wings with it for at least 2 hours, but preferably 24. When you’re ready to cook them, put all the wings on a cookie sheet (reserving the marinade) and bake them in the oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or so, until they’re more or less cooked through. Take them out, brush the glaze you reserved back over them and put them under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Take them out, flip them all over, broil the other side for 2-3 minutes. If you want to then flip them one MORE time and broil the other side for a further minute, you can, because there’s so much fat in chicken wings it is basically impossible to overcook them, and you’d rather have the skin be crispy all the way around, trust me. Serve, with Sriracha and chopped green onion for garnish.