” This is the world’s longest recipe for chicken wings. Sorry. But they’re very, very good chicken wings.”
This recipe for these chicken wings comes from the fantastic book Momofuku and saying that they are very, very good is an understatement. The wings are brined, smoked, confited and fried! It may seem like a long process but rest assured they make for excellent wings (ingredients list is at the bottom of the page) and much of the preparation can be done days beforehand so you can throw this together in no time when you want to eat them. You can of course follow the recipe in the book, but I hope that by adding images in this post it may help the process.
First, take the wing tips off (you will be using these to make the beautiful umami rich tare sauce that dresses the wings), then cut the wings apart at the elbow joint. Pop them in a container and make up the brine by adding the hot tap water, sugar and salt. When dissolved pour over, cover, seal and refrigerate for at 1 hour (no more than 6).
Take the chicken out of the fridge strain and discard the brine. Now you cold smoke the wings. Follow your smokers guidelines on how long to smoke for. I smoked mine for 40 mins on a medium heat. If you have a stove top smoker, great, if not, you can google how to make a stove top smoker at home. If that all seems like a bit of a faff you can omit the smoking and add 2 rashers of smokey bacon when packing the wings ready to be confited.
Heat the oven to 180F/80C. Pack the wings tightly into a dish. Warm the pork fat in a pan. I used goose fat that was saved from a Christmas goose and had been stored in the fridge, worked perfectly OK or you can use oil. Pour over the wings and pop in the oven for 30mins. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature and then pop in the fridge. This step can be done days in advance.
Now to make the tare. Fry the wingtips in a wide saute pan until you have a really good colour. Add the mirin, sake and soy sauce, making sure you scrape all the naughty meaty bits stuck to the pan. Bring the liquid to the boil and then simmer for around 40 mins until it takes on a slightly syrupy texture and it silky shiny. Discard the wing tips, pop into a container and store until use.
When you’re ready to cook and serve the wings, getting exciting now and ever closer to tasting these delicious wings, heat the chicken confit in it’s pot, in a low oven (around 90-100C) until the fat liquefies. Remove the wings from the fat onto kitchen towel. Heat a cast iron skillet pan or a frying pan until the pan is hand hot from a few inches away. Add the wings in batches and brown them, 3-4mins on each side. Try and weigh them down as you do this. I used a saucepan with my pestle and mortar inside it, did the trick. While they are browning make the sauce by heating a couple of tablespoons of the confit fat in a pan, after a minute add the garlic and cook until softened. Add half of your tare (keep the rest for another use), turn the heat up and simmer for 8-10 mins.
When the wings are nicely browned on both sides add them to the tare sauce along with the pickled chilies if using. Turn out into a serving bowl and garnish with spring onion. Strain and save the fat in a covered container in the fridge, it will keep forever, only gets better and better.
Take the wings to the table and watch them be devoured. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
Ingredients – Serves 4-8
- 20 chicken wings with wing tips attached
- 2 ltrs of lukewarm water
- 225 g sugar
- 225 g salt
- 2 rashers of streaky bacon if not cold smoking
- 1.8 ltrs of pork/duck fat or oil
- 225 ml mirin
- 225 ml sake
- 225 ml light soy sauce
- 6 cloves of garlic – thinly sliced
- 5-6 pickle chilies if using
- 1 bunch of spring onions – thinly sliced (greens & whites)