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eG Cook-Off #88: Wings


Duvel
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Wings – who doesn’t like them*?

 

In the past, we’ve had plenty of chicken dishes in our Cook-Offs, such as Fried Chicken (#5), Kebabs, Satays and Skewers (#24), Chicken & Dumplings (#51) and Grilled Chicken (#53), but somewhat surprisingly we’ve missed the probably most popular chicken part outside the dieter's classic “101 ways to cook a chicken breast”.

 

With the Football collegiate national championship game just around the corner and next month's Superbowl casting its shadow already, I feel it is more than appropriate to kick off the 2022 edition of our popular Cook-Offs with a dish you all will be eating (and hopefully making) a lot in the upcoming weeks. Even if you are not a football afficionado you should chime in to run a few tests until National Chicken Wing Day in July …

 

Now, similar to the accompanying sport, the humble wing itself can be the center of almost religious zealousness and dispute. Is it “just” a wing, a hot wing or maybe a “real” Buffalo wing – and if either SV'ed, fried, baked, smoked and then coated with which hot sauce, which butter, which ratio between the two? And what do you serve with it? If you find one recipe, you’ll find at least two guys disputing its authenticity. But this is not what this Cook-Off is about – this one is about what you like and make and what you want to share (at least virtually) with us. Hey, we will not even judge if you decide to take the bones out and make Modernist Cuisine's famous (& fancy) boneless teriyaki chicken wing …

 

Equally wholeheartedly contested is which part of the wing makes for the better fried wing** … are you a drums or flats kind of guy/girl ? Do you cut off the wing tip? Do you skewer the whole thing ? And since we are talking merely avian body parts: does it always have to be chicken ? Or maybe duck, goose, turkey or even … ostrich ?

 

And flavorwise, there is far more in the world of wings than the average dweller in the west might have on a regular basis: my family and I, for example, particularly enjoy Korean-style wings, baked & basted with a gochujang-based glaze. I am sure we’ll find other tasty examples from across the globe.

 

B9966B7B-35EC-4A2F-B4C8-69EC59438039.jpeg

 

 

So, I hope I’ve made a convincing pitch for the wing. All is left is me looking forward to some strong & enthusiastic participation, and really there is no excuse this time: Quick, inexpensive & tasty, with everyday to gourmet potential – let the Wing games begin!

 

See the complete eG Cook-Off Index here: https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/

 

* the ornithological variety, not Paul McCartney's venture after the Beatles …

** actually, we should all save us some time and agree it is the flat.

Edited by Duvel (log)
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Wings were always on my party menu, or "keep the hungry boys placated" go-to list - especially when I had a dedicated poultry guy down the road. He sold in 5 - 10 pound bags at great price. He'd have hacked off the tips and would give them for free to regulars. I used in stock. My personal preference is the flat - such sweet meat, but Americans in my experience prefer the "drumettes".  I baked them on sheet pans after coating with whatever I concocted from the condiment selection. Often soy sauce, BBQ sauce, mustard, garlic powder. I did not go too spicy as wanted to please the majority. A no-brainer party food especially when I finally "discovered" parchment paper. 

 

I never had the fried Buffalo Wings w/ Frank's hot sauce until a neighbor fried some up at a gathering. Not my favorite. Between the hot sauce and the blue cheese dip - "where's the chicken taste?". 

 

I'll refer back to see what everyone comes up with once I really get my kitchen back. The Cook-Offs are a great reference and jumping off point.

 

 

 

 

Edited by heidih (log)
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On 1/8/2022 at 9:27 AM, heidih said:

Wings were always on my party menu, or "keep the hungry boys placated" go-to list - especially when I had a dedicated poultry guy down the road. He sold in 5 - 10 pound bags at great price. He'd have hacked off the tips and would give them for free to regulars. I used in stock. My personal preference is the flat - such sweet meat, but Americans in my experience prefer the "drumettes".  I baked them on sheet pans after coating with whatever I concocted from the condiment selection. Often soy sauce, BBQ sauce, mustard, garlic powder. I did not go too spicy as wanted to please the majority. A no-brainer party food especially when I finally "discovered" parchment paper. 

 

I never had the fried Buffalo Wings w/ Frank's hot sauce until a neighbor fried some up at a gathering. Not my favorite. Between the hot sauce and the blue cheese dip - "where's the chicken taste?". 

 

I'll refer back to see what everyone comes up with once I really get my kitchen back. The Cook-Offs are a great reference and jumping off point.

 

 

 

 

I much prefer the flats too.

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I love to nibble on a crispy chicken wing. Just the right ratio of crispy skin to tender meat.  Most of the wing recipes I see, even those with ‘crispy’ in the title, end up getting bathed in some sort of sauce that would surely eliminate any crispness achieved in earlier steps. 
Does anyone make nice crispy wings and serve them with a dipping sauce on the side?  Or is there a way to maintain crispness in a sauced wing?

For this cook-off, I will likely go with a version of the former and adapt the recipe for Chicken Wangs from Vivian Howard's This Will Make It Taste Good.  The sauce contains salt-preserved citrus rind, honey, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and red pepper flakes and she says it can be simmered down and used on a pork tenderloin, roasted veg or any kind of poultry so it shouldn’t be a bust even if the wings are!  

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1 hour ago, blue_dolphin said:

Does anyone make nice crispy wings

My son-in-law used to make wonderful crispy wings and then dump them into buffalo wing sauce (Anchor Bar, Buffalo, N.Y.). The hotter the sauce the better the wings were judged to be. I despised them! One day I asked him to take out my share before everything got dumped in the hot sauce. Wonderful. I never looked back.

A Chinese restaurant we used to visit also made amazing wings.  They were seasoned but not sauced.
If there must be a sauce let it be as @blue_dolphinsuggests – – served on the side. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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As much as I love fried wings, my go-to method is to grill them. While they may not have the glassy, crispy crunch of a properly fried wing, the meaty and smoky grilled flavor is second to none. I hit the wings with salt and MSG and let them sit for a while before dusting them with a dry rub containing (in tonight's case) a blend of dried chilis, garlic powder, onion powder, and coriander. The chilis were a mix of ancho, chipotle, sweet paprika, Hatch, guajillo, and cayenne. Why so many? Why not. Anyway, I grill them on low on my Weber gas grill, putting the drums on before the flats and removing the flats before the drums. 

 

A8182D41-6C1E-40E8-9108-8661307B46DE.thumb.jpeg.325cb8f677b51a7ff10993e15d9b9c98.jpeg

 

We usually pair them with convection-baked tots. The store was out of normal tots, so I had to settle for minis.

 

BDB2AFEC-46D5-4CA6-B133-9312EBAA599F.thumb.jpeg.467b89637433c447ccfbda4424acd2ca.jpeg

 

We also usually serve them with celery, carrots, and strips of bell pepper. But tonight we served them with a huge salad (not pictured) as well as blue cheese and ranch dressings. And some Frank's wing sauce for dippin'. 

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9 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

Or is there a way to maintain crispness in a sauced wing?

 

That would be a very desirable goal for me as well - something along the lines of marinating, coating in Wondra and then frying before being sauced ?

 

I know that Korean fried chicken gets two or three rounds in hot oil with some "steaming out" time in between (at least that's what I have been told on my trips to the local ChiMeks in Korea), and it usually stays crisp for quite in while despite being sauced. That might be another option for those who can't obtain Wondra (such as myself). I'll give it a go and report back ...

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8 hours ago, btbyrd said:

Anyway, I grill them on low on my Weber gas grill, putting the drums on before the flats and removing the flats before the drums.

 

I assume you grill them directly over the flame, not with the sheet underneath ? I use the setup in your picture to do my "weekday" wings in the (convection) oven, which yields moderately crispy wings in about 20-25 min with minimum effort. 

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On 1/8/2022 at 9:50 AM, chefmd said:

Chicken wings are no longer inexpensive, at least in the US 🤨

https://www.wbtv.com/2021/12/03/increased-cost-chicken-impacts-restaurants-consumers/

But I was planning for a while to cook chicken wings in Anova oven.  You have just moved that project to the top of the list.

Yeah, they can be hard to find around here at times...and when you do, they can be really expensive.  Shortages especially around Super Bowl--and maybe even tonight for the college game.  We are planning to stop at a grocery store (haven't been in one for quite some time, but I'm out of milk and eggs so it must be done) so I'll check the wing situation out.  

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3 hours ago, Duvel said:

 

I assume you grill them directly over the flame, not with the sheet underneath ? I use the setup in your picture to do my "weekday" wings in the (convection) oven, which yields moderately crispy wings in about 20-25 min with minimum effort. 


That’s right. The rack/pan is just my default platter for taking stuff off the grill so it doesn’t steam out and get soggy. Plus I can throw the wings in the oven if they start to cool off too much. I’ve been meaning to try just cooking them in the oven, but the grill is basically just as easy. I may give it a shot sometime soon (probably with a baking powder or soda pretreat) and see if I can get a crispier result without frying.

Edited by btbyrd (log)
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Finding wings that aren't humongous is my problem.

I want the ones that you might get in a bar, not one that Fred Flintstone might be served.

Bell and Evans makes a nice small wing.

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4 hours ago, Duvel said:

 

That would be a very desirable goal for me as well - something along the lines of marinating, coating in Wondra and then frying before being sauced ?

 

I know that Korean fried chicken gets two or three rounds in hot oil with some "steaming out" time in between (at least that's what I have been told on my trips to the local ChiMeks in Korea), and it usually stays crisp for quite in while despite being sauced. That might be another option for those who can't obtain Wondra (such as myself). I'll give it a go and report back ...

 

Brandon Jew's book, Mr. Jiu's in Chinatown has a recipe for orange chicken wings that does a two-step frying method, first in a dry dredge, then in a batter..  He brines the wings first, then tosses them in a mixture of 2 types of glutinous rice flour (long grain and short grain) and cornstarch.  They get fried for a few minutes and are drained before dipping in a batter made of the same flours and back into the oil for a longer cook.  

In the header notes, he says that the short grain glutinous rice flour (such as mochiko) makes the batter stick while the long grain glutinous rice flour holds the crunch and the cornstarch seals the chicken juices inside.  

 

The whole dish is on the elaborate side.  The brine contains salt, sugar, coriander seed, fennel seed and star anise. There's a wing sauce made with rice vinegar, Shaoxing wine, orange juice, brown rice syrup, honey, ginger, garlic and habanero chiles. and it's served with a salad of thinly sliced fennel, jalapeño and green onions, dressed in a charred orange vinaigrette. 

 

If I can track down the flours, I might give it a try. 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Duvel said:

 

That would be a very desirable goal for me as well - something along the lines of marinating, coating in Wondra and then frying before being sauced ?

 

I know that Korean fried chicken gets two or three rounds in hot oil with some "steaming out" time in between (at least that's what I have been told on my trips to the local ChiMeks in Korea), and it usually stays crisp for quite in while despite being sauced. That might be another option for those who can't obtain Wondra (such as myself). I'll give it a go and report back ...

 

I use Wondra so much for thickening sauces. No need to screw with a roux.

 

You could have Wondra sent by a friend...

Edited by gfweb (log)
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not to get too OT :

 

as I understand it Wondra is AP flour very finely milled

 

https://www.goldmedalflour.com/our-flour/wondra-quick-mixing-all-purpose-flour/

 

if you cant get it at your usual shopping stop

 

you can make it if you have a cuisinart w a very sharp blade

 

I keep mine in the refrigerator , tight sealed

 

as it seem to eventually attract ' small critters ' if let in 

 

the wondra container on the shelf

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2 minutes ago, rotuts said:

not to get too OT :

 

as I understand it Wondra is AP flour very finely milled

 

https://www.goldmedalflour.com/our-flour/wondra-quick-mixing-all-purpose-flour/

 

if you cant get it at your usual shopping stop

 

you can make it if you have a cuisinart w a very sharp blade

 

I keep mine in the refrigerator , tight sealed

 

as it seem to eventually attract ' small critters ' if let in 

 

the wondra container on the shelf

That's not entirely correct.

 

Wondra and its equivalents are pre-gelatinized (ie, the starchy flavor is cooked out) and then dried and re-milled. When stirred into a hot liquid it gels almost instantly, like cornstarch. Finely-ground AP flour is still AP flour, and will need to be cooked out.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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4 minutes ago, chromedome said:

That's not entirely correct.

 

Wondra and its equivalents are pre-gelatinized (ie, the starchy flavor is cooked out) and then dried and re-milled. When stirred into a hot liquid it gels almost instantly, like cornstarch. Finely-ground AP flour is still AP flour, and will need to be cooked out.

Is our equivalent to Wondra Robin Hood's Easy Blend flour?

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4 minutes ago, chromedome said:

That's not entirely correct.

 

Wondra and its equivalents are pre-gelatinized (ie, the starchy flavor is cooked out) and then dried and re-milled. When stirred into a hot liquid it gels almost instantly, like cornstarch. Finely-ground AP flour is still AP flour, and will need to be cooked out.

 

Yes.

Unlike starch which is best added as a slurry, Wondra can just be slowly added as a powder to a whisked liquid and won't clump. In my hands, starch gels so fast if added dry it clumpifies no matter how hard I whisk

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9 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

Is our equivalent to Wondra Robin Hood's Easy Blend flour?

Yup.

 

I got tired of burning through the shaker canisters and bought the larger bag to refill my old one with...only to discover that the shaker had been discarded in my absence. :P

 

Not that it really matters.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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2 hours ago, chromedome said:

 

I got tired of burning through the shaker canisters and bought the larger bag to refill my old one with...only to discover that the shaker had been discarded in my absence. :P

 

Not that it really matters.

 

Can't have two people managing a home kitchen.

 

It leads to atrocities like  two bags of potatoes being combined...mixing the old with the new.  "they're all potatoes right?"  and "I didn't see any reason to separate those onions".

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9 hours ago, Duvel said:

 

That would be a very desirable goal for me as well - something along the lines of marinating, coating in Wondra and then frying before being sauced ?

 

I know that Korean fried chicken gets two or three rounds in hot oil with some "steaming out" time in between (at least that's what I have been told on my trips to the local ChiMeks in Korea), and it usually stays crisp for quite in while despite being sauced. That might be another option for those who can't obtain Wondra (such as myself). I'll give it a go and report back ...

 

I've never made wings, but I've found EverCrisp will maintain crispness till the end of time.

https://modernistpantry.com/products/evercrisp-breader-batter-boost.html

 

Modernistpantry.com ships world wide.

 

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