Culinary Chronicles by Chef Noah Michaels
The chefs here at Symrise love chicken wings. They’re craveable, versatile and a great platform to highlight different preparations and flavors. In fact, America loves chicken wings so much that we ate 1.4 billion (with a B) chicken wings over Superbowl weekend alone last year. Our love of chicken wings has an interesting history much like many other great American foods.
The story of chicken wings is one of poverty cuisine and unintended consequences. During the dark days of the 1980’s we loved our health kicks. We ate grapefruits by the case and cooked baked, boneless and skinless chicken breasts. I still cringe at the thought of an unseasoned anemic and undoubtedly overcooked (sorry Mom) baked chicken breast dinner. While we were suffering, bars were able to buy chicken wings for next to nothing.
With a lot of fryer oil and hot sauce, the wing special was born. We were able to buy dozens of wings for just a few dollars while we watched sporting events at our local bars and reconfirmed that fat does in fact equal flavor. While the wings are more expensive than they were back then, we haven’t looked back yet.
Nashville Hot GRILLED Wings | The supporting insights: According to Technomic, Nashville Hot has grown by +16.4% menu mentions year-over-year.
• 16 - 32 cut wings (flats and drummettes)
• 2 teaspoons coarse salt
• 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
• 2 teaspoons onion powder
• 2 teaspoons garlic powder
Nashville Hot Baste
• 6 tablespoons cayenne pepper
• 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Step 1: Place the chicken wings in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Coat the wings evenly. Place wings on a rack lined sheet tray and refrigerate at least 2 hours to overnight.
Step 2: Nashville Hot Chicken Baste: Place the cayenne, sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, both paprikas, and salt in a heavy saucepan and whisk to mix. Cook over medium heat until the spices smell fragrant, 3 minutes. Whisk in the oil and butter and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Step 3: Set up your grill for indirect grilling and build a medium fire (325 degrees). Brush and oil the grill grate. Alternatively, preheat gas grill to medium heat.
Step 4: Arrange the wings skin side up on the grate away from the heat over the drip pan if using charcoal. If using gas grill, arrange wings over grates and grill flipping wings to ensure they do not burn.
Step 5: Indirect grill until the skin is browned and the meat cooked through, 50 to 60 minutes. After 30 minutes, start brushing the wings with Nashville Hot Chicken Baste. Baste once or twice more. Cook until internal temperature reads 165F on a thermometer.
Step 6: Pile the wings on a platter. Reheat any remaining baste and pour it over the wings.
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Korean FRIED Wings | The supporting insights: Honey is one of the top flavors paired with wings or buffalo wing entrees, according to Technomic.
• 3 lbs chicken wings
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
• 2" piece fresh ginger, peeled, coarsely chopped
• 1 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
• 1/4 cup gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
• 1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 2 teaspoons honey
• 2 tablespoons rice wine
• 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup potato starch
• Peanut or vegetable oil (for frying)
• 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Step 1: Season chicken wings with salt, cover, and chill at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
Step 2: Bring garlic, ginger, soy sauce, gochujang, brown sugar, lemon, honey, wine, vinegar, and pepper to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Strain sauce and discard solids. Set sauce aside.
Step 3: Place potato starch in a large bowl. Pat chicken wings dry with paper towels; add to potato starch and toss until evenly coated.
Step 4: Fit a large cast-iron skillet or other heavy straight-sided skillet (not nonstick) with deep-fry thermometer; pour in oil to measure 1" and heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 325°.
Step 5: Working in 3 batches, fry chicken wings, turning often with tongs and adjusting heat to maintain temperature between 300°–325°, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer wings to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet.
Step 6: Increase oil temperature to 375°. Working in 3 batches, fry chicken until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer wings back to rack, brush liberally with reserved sauce, and top with sesame seeds. Serve wings with any remaining sauce.
El Bulli Family Meal BRAISED Chicken Wings | The supporting insight: At 4.0%, garlic is a top flavor paired with wings and buffalo wing entrees.
(Recipe from El Bulli Family Meal)
• 24 Chicken Wings (Flats and Drums)
• ½ Cup Olive Oil
• ½ LB Mushrooms, Mixed (cremeini, white button, or shimeji work) stems removed, caps cut into thick slices
• 20 Garlic Cloves
• 2 Bay Leaves
• 2 Thyme Sprigs
• ½ C White Wine
• ½ C Water
• Salt and Pepper, TT
Step 1: Season the chicken wings with salt and black pepper. Pour the oil into a large cast-iron skillet set over medium heat. When oil starts to shimmer, add the chicken wings. Cook, flipping occasionally, until the wings are well browned, about 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low if the wings brown too quickly.
Step 2: If you haven't already reduced the heat to medium-low, do so now, and add the chopped garlic. Cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about five minutes.
Step 3: Add the bay leaves and thyme. Stir well, and let cook for a few seconds. Then pour in the white wine. Turn the heat up to medium-high and let the liquid reduce for a minute or so.
Step 4: Toss in the mushrooms. Stir well and let cook for two minutes. Then pour in 2/3 of the water, and cook until the liquid has reduced and the mushrooms are tender, about five minutes. Use remaining water if sauce is too thick or cooking too quickly. Serve immediately.
PRESSURE COOKED Crispy Asian Chicken Wings | The supporting insight: According to Technomic, 42% of consumers prefer chicken paired with tangy flavors.
• 3 Lb Chicken Wings, Cut
• 2 TBL Soy Sauce
• 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
• ½ inch piece of Ginger, Minced
• Salt and Pepper TT
• 1 C Mirin
• 2 TBL Sambal
• 2 Limes, Juice
• 2 TBL Soy Sauce
• 2 TBL Brown Sugar
• 1 TBL Fish Sauce
• 1 TSP Coarse Cracked Pepper
• Scallions, Mint, Toasted Sesame Seeds, Cilantro for Garnish
Step 1: Combine all marinade ingredients in ziplock bag and add wings. Marinade at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
Step 2: Combine all glaze ingredients, reserving garnish and bring to a simmer. Reduce glaze until it coats the back of a spoon and reserve.
Step 3: Add wings, marinade and 2/3 of the glaze to pressure cooker or instapot. Lock lid and cook on high under pressure for 3 minutes. Allow pressure to dissipate for 10 minutes and vent.
Step 4: Gently transfer wings to racked sheetpan and broil to crisp up skin, basting with remaining glaze.
Step 5: Transfer to platter and garish liberally with fresh herbs and toasted sesame seeds.
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