Crispy, crunchy wings coated in a savory and sticky sweet sauce flavored with hoisin, ginger and tons of garlic and garlic chili sauce. These are the ultimate football food, if you ask me. And you can make them as mild or as spicy as you want by adjusting the amount of the chili garlic sauce you add to the wing sauce. But first, I need to be honest.
I’m just gonna level with you here. I had very different ideas about how these wings were going to turn out. Very different. But things don’t always turn out like we’ve planned, right?
First off, they’re delicious. Like, super delicious. Now.
I would love to tell you that when I’m developing recipes everything always turns out perfect the first time. But that would be a lie.
Let me start by offering a little insight into my recipe development process.
Ideas for recipes come from everywhere: friends, family, other blogs, cookbooks, the grocery store, restaurants, etc. Ideas are then worked out on paper to look at ingredients, cost, how easy they are to make. Then I get in the kitchen and work. Once I get the recipe to a place where I’m happy with it, I’ll cook it two to three more times, swapping out other brands of ingredients, just to make sure it all works. Then I’ll photograph it and get the post written. The glamorous life of a food blogger, right?
So let’s talk about these wings.
There’s this great local spot that makes these amazing wings with the most delicious sticky Asian sauce. When I inquired about what was in them, the only thing they would tell me was hoisin sauce. I thought, “No biggie, I bet I can figure this out.” So I got in the kitchen and went to work.
I had also recently come across several recipes that offered an ingredient that promised it would give you perfectly crispy wings in the oven. Yep, you could make chicken wings in the oven that would have delicious, crispy skin. Seeing several other folks mention this method, I decided it would be great to incorporate the method in this recipe to make them a bit healthier. I was stoked.
But they were awful. So I figured I had done something wrong. So I pulled up a few other blogs and sites that used the same method to ensure I had the technique down pat. And they were awful, too. To their credit, the skin was crispier than if I had not used that secret ingredient and just thrown the wings in the oven, but I discovered I just don’t like the flavor of baked wings. I’m just not sure what it is, but it’s just not an enjoyable flavor for me. So I went back and reworked the recipe to fry the wings in a more traditional fashion and they turned out amazing.
So here’s the thing.
In this version, the wings are fried. Because sometimes we just want food to taste good – regardless of the calorie count. Should we eat like that every day? Of course not. Is it OK to splurge and enjoy things just because they’re delicious? I say, “Absolutely.”
Now, can you bake these wings and still use this sauce to coat them? If you don’t mind the flavor of baked wings, of course you can. It works perfectly. I’m just not going to share food with y’all I wouldn’t eat. So I’m sharing them using a method where I know they’ll taste amazing. Y’all enjoy.
Asian Sticky Wings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 4 pounds chicken wing sections — drumettes and flats
- 4 teaspoons salt
- Vegetable or peanut oil for frying
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon Asian garlic chili sauce* (or more for more heat)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Sliced green onions and sesame seeds for garnish, if desired
- Toss the wings with the salt and spread them on a sheet pan with a wire rack over it.
- Place the pan with the wings in the refrigerator uncovered for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight to allow the skin on the wings to dry out a little.This will result in crispier wings. (This step is not required, but does produce a better end product.)
- To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic.
- Cook 1 minute, then add the hoisin sauce, Asian garlic chili sauce and ginger.
- Mix well to combine.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- When ready to fry, use a deep fryer or add enough oil to a deep Dutch oven and heat the oil to 350 degrees.
- Fry the wings in batches for 8 to 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.
- Drain the wings on a wire rack over paper towels.
- Add the wings and sauce in a large bowl and toss to coat.
- Garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds, if desired. Serve immediately.
*You can usually find this in the Asian section of your grocery store near the sriracha and the gojuchang.