While I in no way, shape or form claim professional training or knowledge as a cook, I did spend a few years early in my university life as a line-cook in a busy downtown Calgary restaurant: Ed’s Restaurant. On the one hand, it served fillet mignon and lobster tails … and on the other hand, it had a menu that suggested it was a roadhouse restaurant. Crisis of identity aside, Ed’s was a great place to cut my teeth with respect to working on a line, learning the essential timing in a very busy kitchen, and some basic skills and knowledge of food and the food industry. While it no way apprenticed me as a saucier or pastry chef, the experience did teach me a lot about preparing chicken wings.
And though I love spicy food, I’ve always been a huge lover of sweet and tangy on my wings and so when I rarely do order wings out, I tend to order some version of “honey-garlic.” So when I set about to make wings at home without the aid of my deep-fryer to pre-cook the wings (which is what we did at Ed’s), I was committed to making the “best” sweet wings I could … but Dale-style.
The goal, build a remarkable and complex “sweet” glaze and infuse it with two flavours that go so well with chicken, sweetness, and my own palette: garlic and ginger. This was accomplished using a variety of sweetners that would create a more rounded and clingier glaze than if I’d only used honey. I also endeavoured to make a gluten-free version of a dry rub/breading (flour) to pre-coat the wings. However, if you’re not sensitive to gluten, simply use an all-purpose flour: easy.
In terms of cooking tips, there isn’t anything more to consider beyond the recipe instructions below. The various turnings of the wings may seem like a lot of extra work, but with a good set of tongs, it’s really quite easy and the result is an evenly cooked, relatively ‘crispy’ wing, that is completely glazed and totally imbued with the flavours of garlic, ginger, and sweet and tangy. My apologies for not producing a better ‘final’ picture, but the audience was dying to rip into these yummy wings … so you’ll have to take your own final pictures if you can before prying fingers swipe your subjects.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Rest time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
Sweet Ginger-Garlic Chicken Wings
- 1½-2 pounds (1kg) chicken wings, cut into pieces, tips removed
- ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
→ Gluten-free = ¼ cup rice flour + 2 Tbsp chickpea flour + 2 Tbsp potato starch
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus cooking spray oil
Sweet Ginger Glaze:
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon sweet Thai chili sauce
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- hot sauce or chili flakes/paste to taste (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400˚F
- Line 1-2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly oil them.
- If necessary, prepare your chicken wings by segmenting them at the joint and then by removing the tips (discarding the tips which otherwise have a tendency to cook faster and burn).
- Mix flour and seasonings together in a sturdy plastic bag.
- Place the chicken wings in 2-3 batches inside the bag and seal/hold tight and shake until chicken is fully coated and no ‘wet’ spots on the flesh remain. Arrange wings on baking sheets, making sure none of the wings are touching.
- Repeat with remaining batches of oil. Spray with vegetable oil.
→ I personally recommend doing this outside to keep the oil out of the air you’re breathing. This step will help crisp up the flour coating.
- Place baking sheets in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and turn oven down to 375ºF. Turn wings and return sheet(s) to oven for another 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a measuring cup, add vinegar, sugar, molasses, honey, corn syrup, soy sauce, and hot sauces. Taste for heat.
- Pour sauce into a small sauce pot and bring the mixture to a boil – reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until glaze has just started to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Remove wings from oven and spread half the glaze over them with basting brush making sure to coat them evenly. Return wings to oven and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Remove wings from oven, turn, and baste with remaining sauce, making sure to apply the ginger and garlic pieces liberally.
- Return to oven and cook for another 10 minutes. Then, turn oven to broil and watch carefully while wings crisp up, another 5 minutes.
→ Watch constantly to prevent burning!
- Turn off heat and let stand in oven another 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
→ You’ll know you’re done when the sauce has thickened over the wings and it removes from parchment with the wing altogether.