Korean BBQ Chicken Wings

IMG_2958Perfect long weekend food.  Historically I have not been a big fan of wings, then about a month ago I was at a bar and they had them as snacks during happy hour, so I ordered them and devoured them in an embarrassing short time.  These wings were baked and drowned in a gallon of Sriracha, not subtle, yet very satisfying.

This started me looking for a wing recipe I could make at home,something with maybe a little more complexity, some heat and a hint of sweet.  It didn’t take me long before I found this recipe in Susan Feniger’s wonderful cookbook: Street Food.

Here recipes always make sense, often call for exotic ingredients you have to hunt down – which I love, however if you didn’t live neat an amazing latin food market and chinatown in Manhattan you might find it a tad….er, challenging.

The recipe in the book is called  Miso Glazed Chicken Wings, which I changed because really the glaze the wings are dipped in really taste like BBQ sauce to me, albeit a really good one!  I have some issues with the product which contains both the fermented soy beans and the Korean hot pepper powder, which is incorrectly called Gochujang in the recipe, I’ll get into late for now let’s get to the recipe!

Korean BBQ Wings

If possible it’s best to make the BBQ sauce the day before, this way it’s done and the time spent over night in the fridge only helps to let the flavors meld.

In a heavy bottom pot over medium heat add 1/4 cup unflavored oil (Safflower/Sunflower  are my favorites). Add 1 large Red Onion roughly chopped cook stirring occasionally until it starts to brown then add 8 smashed and roughly chopped Garlic Cloves. Stir and cook another 2 minutes then add: 3 Large Tomatoes roughly chopped, 1 Cup canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes, 1 Teaspoon Harissa (sold in tubes at most groceries stores or make your own*) 1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar, 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar, 3/4 cups Sugar, 1 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt and 2 Cups of Water. Turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stirring often.

Reduce the heat to low and add: 1/4 cup Sweet Soy Sauce (available at most Asian/Chinese Grocery stores) 1/3 cup Dark Soy Sauce and 1/3 Cup Seasoned Korean Soy Bean Paste and simmer for 5 minutes:IMG_2930Here it is above spelt out in English, notice the hot pepper slices, here is the one I bought below:IMG_2967I bought it because it had a picture of meat being barbecued.  This is a fairly processed product that unlike Japanese Miso isn’t refrigerated and has as its third ingredient Corn Syrup. Genetically modified and high fructose most likely.   As I play with this recipe I will try making it with Japanese Red Miso, Korean Hot Pepper and maybe increasing the sugar.  For now tho, given I went all the way up to Korean Town on 32nd street to Han Ah Reum Asian Mart I figured I might as well make it true to the recipe, with an authentic ingredient.

Anecdotally, when I ask about Korean Miso no one had a clue what I was talking about. When I asked for gochujang they took me to the right shelf but pointed out the wrong item, this one:IMG_2928Which if I had bought would have made this one very hot barbecue sauce! Luckily with some help and lots of label reading I managed to get the right thing, corn syrup and all.

OK now back to the recipe:

Remove the pot from the stove and let cool to room temperature.  Working in batches (probably 2) blend the sauce until velvety smooth.

If making in advance cover and refrigerate.   Otherwise place back in the pot, put a lid on it and prepare the chicken.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.IMG_2923In a large bowl add 2 1/2 pounds of Chicken Wings, preferably the middle and end parts, cut off the wing portion if you buy whole wings and reserve for stalk.  Add 6 roughly chopped Scallions white and green parts, 3 Tablespoons of finely grated fresh Ginger, 1 1/2 Tablespoon of Salt and 2 Tablespoons of Hot Sesame Oil  (you can find this when you are buying your sweet soy sauce) mix with your hands until well coated.IMG_2924Evenly spread the wings out on a cookie sheet and bake in the top third of the oven for 20 minutes.  Flip the cookie sheets around so they cook evenly and bake for another 15 minutes.IMG_2927While they are baking, fill a large cast iron skillet about 3″ up with high heat oil like Safflower, using a thermometer heat the oil until it is 300 F – you don’t want it to smoke.  The recipe says 350 F which I think is too hot, up to you, the two times I have made them they have come out crispy and delicious.

When the baked wings are only slightly warm to the touch start heating your oil up  – it will probably take 4 Cups of Oil. When the oil has reached the desired temperature using tongs and wearing oven mitts fill the hot oil with wings – about 10 or so.  Cook about 3 minutes each side. Be careful!  Hot oil can splutter and spill so keep your distance, use tongs and wear oven mitts!IMG_2950While they are cooking place many layers of paper towel or old clean kitchen towels on a baking sheet by the frying pan to place the hot wings on when they come out of the oil.IMG_2953After each back has come out while you are waiting for the oil to come back to temperature skim the oil of any debris left over from the frying, place the cooked wings in a warm oven (225F).  Change Paper towel often.

When all of the wings are cooked, in batches dip them into the warmed sauce.IMG_2962You can if you wish serve crudités and garlic scallion dip which I did, the dip is supposed to be for the wings, but to my taste is totally unnecessary (yet very tasty). The recipe is below just in case.  Enjoy your long weekend!IMG_2965Ginger Scallion Dipping Sauce

In a small sauce pan add: 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil over low heat, then add 3 Tablespoons of finely chopped or grated fresh ginger and 1 Tablespoon of finely chopped Garlic. Stir and heat for about 2-3 minutes – not to cook as much as release flavor. Remove from heat and stir in 1 Tablespoon of Honey, stir it so it melts and integrates with the garlic and ginger, let cool a bit.

In a medium bowl add: 1 cup of Mayonnaise3/4 Cup full fat Sour Cream,  juice from 3 Limes and 3/4 cups finely chopped Scallions (green and white parts). Add the Honey, Ginger, Garlic and stir well.  Add a pinch of salt taste and serve with any crunchy vegetables you like – carrots and celery are a great foil for the wings.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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