What I love most about these wings is their crispy exterior followed by juicy interior, without ever having to fry them. The secret is in the baking powder and salt coating while sitting in the fridge all day. Add that to a layer of smoke followed by a spicy Korean sauce, and they’re simply amazing. If you don’t have a smoker, a bbq on indirect at 300°F or even an oven would work just fine for these.
Start by tossing your wings with salt and baking powder (1 tsp each per pound of wings) in a bowl to coat, then lay out on a wire rack and place in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. If I’m doing these around noon for a Saturday or Sunday BBQ, I’ll just do this right before bed and let them sit there for 14 hours. If I’m doing it in the evening, just do this right before going to work. You can even shorten it by a few hours, but you’ll lose some quality by doing so. What you’re doing here is dry brining with the salt, which only takes an hour or two, drying them in the oven, so the skin crisps up better, and adding a little surface area to the skin with the baking powder, so it has more crunch and holds more sauce, and also raises the pH to promote browning and weaken the skin.
Once the wings have both dry brined and had time to dry out, it’s time to cook them. I use a pellet smoker at 300, but an indirect bbq or oven at the same temp would work just fine. 1 hour gets these perfectly cooked and crispy while still juicy.
Meanwhile make the sauce. Heat the oil in a small pot, wait for it to start shimmering, then add the grated ginger and garlic. Once the garlic just starts to brown, about two minutes, add the gochujang. Cook this until it starts to darken, roughly 2 more minutes, then add the rest of sauce ingredients and cook until the sauce is reduced and thickened, about 4 more minutes. The sauce should be thick enough that a line drawn with a spoon in the sauce holds it’s shape long enough to take a picture of it. Or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, your choice.
When the wings are done cooking, toss them in the sauce. At this point, you can briefly toss them under a broiler for a bit of crisping, but I usually eat them as-is.
Spicy Korean Chicken Wings
Spicy smoked Korean Chicken Wings
- 1 lb chicken wings
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp garlic grated
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 2 tbsp gochujang
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 1/2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
Toss wings, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl, then place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and refrigerate 6-8 hours.
Remove wings from fridge and place in a 300°F smoker or oven, or over a bbq cooking at 300°F with indirect heat. Cook for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the sesame oil in a small pot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the grated ginger or garlic. Once the garlic starts to brown, about 2 minutes, add the gochujang. Continue to cook until the gochujang begins to darken, about 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened and sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 4 more minutes.
Toss wings with sauce.