Wings, wings, wings… The source of so much love and hate, joy and disappointment in my life. You’re out getting a beer or some food, you see the listing for ‘something something spicy chicken wings’ on the menu, and you inevitably order some, except, when they come they’re crap around 50% of the time. The number of wings I’ve been served that have no sauce, too much sauce (yes it is possible), are soggy when they’ve been deep-fried, or dry and hard when they’re roasted is ludicrous. But no more! Here are Sriracha and honey spicy chicken wings that are great, and deliver every time.
Here, we roast the wings in a sticky Sriracha and honey marinade that reduces down into a thick, sweet and spicy sauce which coats the juicy wings. What’s also great about these is that they’re perfect for the bbq. You can just make them in advance, and then reheat and finish on the grill for some added smoky notes that enhance the experience. If you’re one of those people who’s all “deep-fried or nothing” then I’m sorry, but I’m working on a taste sensation for you at the moment, so keep checking the blog.
The secret to getting your spicy chicken wings all juicy and succulent is giving them a good brining session before marinating. Think of it as the pre-lash for the night of flavoursome debauchery which is about to happen, except in the fridge, not Ministry of Sound… Anyway, this isn’t strictly necessary, but doesn’t require much more effort than the rest of the process and is 100% worth it.
When it comes to marinading, there’s always a tendency to overdo it with the flavours and just completely swamp your taste buds, but that’s rarely a good thing, especially when it comes to spicy chicken wings. Here we just keep it relatively simple with a zingy Sriracha and honey base (I’ve also used maple syrup in the past), which is then pumped up with some garlic, paprika and then every Food Network presenter’s favourite condiment to pronounce horrendously, Worcestershire sauce. The addition of celery salt provides a little bit of a bitter twang which is a nice addition, in the same way, you commonly find celery sticks served with buffalo wings (as a side note, in the photos you can see actual fresh celery because I didn’t have any celery salt).
As for the inclusion of the oil and bourbon, some flavour molecules dissolve better in different solvents to others. Therefore, the addition of this fat and booze is my bootleg science way of trying to get as much mixing of flavour as possible. The differences in what types of solvent flavour molecules dissolve in are actually why some foods taste better fried or roasted, and others steamed or boiled, but we’ll talk more about that another time. To be honest, I’m not positive it really does much to help in this case, but it tastes good, so whatever.
These sticky, succulent and spicy chicken wings with Sriracha and honey are the perfect friends of any barbeque and beer. No need to deep-fry, just brined, marinated and roasted to simple perfection.
- 1.5 kg chicken wings
- 750 mL water
- 52.5 g salt non-iodised
- 7.5 g bicarbonate of soda
- 4 tbsp Sriracha-style chilli sauce
- 4 tbsp honey
- 5 cloves garlic crushed
- 3 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp celery salt
- 2 tbsp neutral oil
- 2 tbsp bourbon
Take the wings and joint them all, if whole you should end up with three pieces, the ‘mini drumstick’ the ‘middle bit’ and the ‘wing tip’. The wing tips are tiny, have no meat and are practically inedible, but get in the way of eating chicken wings (annoying) and make a great addition to chicken stock (excellent).
Mix the brining ingredients. Put the chicken in the brine and refrigerate for three hours. I usually use a large zip-lock freezer bag as they’re easy to lay in the fridge and involve zero washing up, but do whatever works for you.
While the meat is brining, make the marinade.
Remove the chicken wings from the fridge and wash them thoroughly with cold water to remove the excess brine, pat dry with kitchen roll and combine with the marinade. Refrigerate the wings again, but this time overnight (I’ve done 3 or 4 hours before, and it was okay I guess, but overnight is the real winner).
Remove the wings from the marinade, but do not throw it away, we’ll need it again soon! Place the chicken in a large roasting tray in a single layer and cook for 30 minutes at 160oC.
Remove the wings from the oven and turn it up to 210oC. Discard any water released from the meat and cover with the marinade from earlier. Return to the oven and cook for around 1 hour, or until the marinade has reduced and coated the wings. Turn the wings every 10 to 15 minutes, ensuring that the cook evenly and the sauce coats the wings.