I started with the wings. Drummettes--$3.89 a pound!?! Even the whole wings rang in at $2.49 a pound. I can remember when the butcher could barely give those scrawny appendages away. Oh well. I went with the whole wings. They are easy to break down, and the wing tips could go in my stock bag in the freezer, ready to do their thing for a nice chicken stock (the recipe is for beef stock, but the method is the same for chicken stock.)
a cleaver makes quick work of chopping off the tips, and
jointing the wings--though a knife will certainly work as well
I scanned a couple of recipes for Asian chicken wings. They varied a bit, but all of them included soy, some heat, garlic, and a sweetener of some sort; most, hoisin and some sort of citrus element. A great way to create a successful marinade without sweating over a recipe and buying a bunch of stuff is to just consider the basic elements--here sweet, heat, salt, and citrus--then use what you have on hand. I wanted some orange flavor, but I didn't have an orange or any orange juice. I did have some orange marmalade. Perfect. That took care of both the citrus and the sweet. I had hoisin, soy, tamari, sesame oil, sriracha (oriental chile sauce), five spice powder, garlic, and honey.
measuring isn't that important--tasting is. Just add a bit
of everything, going easy on the sweet and the heat to start,
and adjust until it tastes good
the wings can marinate an hour--or a day or two
As soon as I stashed the wings in the fridge I realized I had a problem. I intended to bake these wings in a 400 degree oven, elevated on a rack, to encourage them to brown and crisp. The sugar in the marinade would certainly drip down on the pan and burn before the wings were close to done. I wasn't interested in a charred baking sheet and a smoke-filled kitchen. Foil, and a foil swap half way through the bake was an easy solution.
all that dripping marinade will burn. Just line the baking sheet
with foil, and swap it out with fresh foil once the marinade begins to smoke
Swapping the foil is pretty easy to do. Just lift off the rack of wings, pick up the old foil, and lay down a new sheet, then slide them back into the oven. While the wings cook, bring the leftover marinade to a boil, and reduce by about half, for a thick glaze to dip the wings in, before returning them to the oven for another 5 minutes.
reducing the glaze will kill any bacteria from the raw chicken,
and give you a thick glaze for the final trip in the oven
crispy wings, ready for a final dip and a few minutes in the oven
sprinkled with sesame seeds, and served with some Asian slaw,
these wings make a fun dinner, or a party appetizer