Grilled Korean Chicken Wings

Grilled Korean Chicken Wings

There are two sources of inspiration for these wings – the Sriracha Honey Cashew Chicken Stir Fry from Lea Ann at Highlands Ranch Foodie and the tub of Korean chili paste left over from our New Year’s Bo Ssam.

I really liked the way the honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha played together in stir-fry sauce, so I started looking at other recipes to bring this combo together and settled on using it as a wing sauce and substituting the it’s-taking-up-too-much-room-in-the-fridge gochujang for the sriracha.

The Brine
3 lbs chicken wings
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon powder ginger
1 teaspoon fresh-ground back pepper
1/4 cup kosher salt
8 cups water

Make the brine by combining the lemon juice, honey, garlic, ginger, pepper, salt, and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil for one minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat, pour into a covered non-reactive container and refrigerate until cool.

Once cool, add the wings, arranging so they are all covered in brine. Stash in the fridge for at least 12 hours, but no longer than 24.

The Sauce
3 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
3 tablespoons gochujang Korean chili paste (as best I can tell this one is gluten free)
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Combine the soy sauce, chili paste, honey, and vinegar in a small pot. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened – about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the sesame oil, and set aside.

Grilled Korean Chicken Wings

The Cook
About an hour before you plan to grill, remove the wings from the brine, pat them dry, and set them uncovered on a rack in the fridge. This will help keep the skin crispy.

Set your grill up for an indirect cook over high (400°F) heat. I set the Big Green Egg up using the inverted plate setter to diffuse the heat.

When the grill is ready, put the wings on and let them cook for 30 minutes. Flip them and let them go for another 20. Flip them again and check for doneness. The skin should be fairly crisp and the internal temp should be 165°F or higher.

Grilled Korean Chicken Wings

When they are done, baste them with sauce on both sides, then let them cook for another 5 minutes. Sauce them again and let them go for another 5 minutes. Sauce them one last time and move them off to a plate. Let rest 10 minutes, then serve with remaining sauce on the side.

The Verdict: ★★★★☆
The sauce on these babies absolutely rocked! It was the perfect blend of heat and sweet with a nice umami base. The gochujang I used wasn’t too fiery (Koreans probably use it as baby food), but the heat was very rich and consistent. I might add a teaspoon or so of garlic chili paste next time to brighten the heat a little bit. I also see this sauce glazing some pork chops in the near future.

Why not 5 stars? As I’ve said before: a good chicken wing must be crispy, it must be spicy enough to require a cold adult beverage, and it should be flavorful enough to be addictive. These wing hit 2 outta 3 – the brine made the wings nice and juicy, but it also made the skin a bit rubbery. I would ditch it next time.

The Nutrition:
Sadly, wings are 150 calories and 3 Weight Watchers points a piece.

One year ago – Yoga – Getting My Om On
Two years ago – Swamp Venom Thighs

2 thoughts on “Grilled Korean Chicken Wings”

  1. First of all, thanks for that shout-out! I’m so in love with that stir-fry recipe and how fun that it inspired you for this recipe. I agree, the flavors are some how perfect. And I had to chuckle over “Koreans probably use it as baby food”. Sounds about my heat speed. Enjoy your holiday weekend!

  2. You know that I am a HUGE fan on chicken wings. Like you, I rarely brine or marinade them because of the crispy factor.

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