Being bar food, most chicken wings are deep-fried, because deep-frying is fast and tasty, and most bars that serve food have commercial fryers. I would argue, however, that deep-frying is not the best way to cook chicken wings because they already contain enough fat to fry themselves.
But that in and of itself poses a problem, because if we roast the wings in the oven at a temperature sufficient to crisp the skin, we will produce a cloud of acrid, tear-inducing smoke that will stink up the house for days.
Nope, before they roast we’ve got to get some of that fat out, and the best way to do that is steam.
- 18-24 chicken wing "drumettes"
- 1 cup Sweet Thai Chili Sauce (Mae Ploy is pretty much the standard and it's really made in Thailand)
- 1/4 cup vinegar (rice wine or apple cider)
- 1/3 cup Dr. Pepper (trust me on this)
- Place a folding metal steamer in the bottom of a large sauce pot and add enough water to come up almost to the bottom of the steamer.
- Arrange wings on steamer like spokes on a wheel with the large meaty end pointing out and the bony narrow bit pointing inward. If you’re working with a standard steamer basket you’ll probably have to work in two batches.
- Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. When steam comes out from under lid, reduce heat to medium and steam wings for 10 minutes.
- Remove the wings from the basket with your trusty spring-loaded tongs and lay out on a wire cooling rack set in a half sheet pan lined with paper towels. Refrigerate 1 hour. If working in batches, make sure chill time is one hour from last batch.
- Meanwhile combine chili sauce, vinegar and Dr. Pepper in a small sauce pan and reduce down to a glaze over medium heat. Final volume will be about 1/3 original amount.
- Crank oven to 425 degrees F and place rack in middle.
- Remove paper towels from the half sheet pan and move wings to oven. After 20 minutes remove wings to a large mixing bowl and toss with the glaze. Return to rack and roast another 10 minutes.
- Arrange on platter, sprinkle with kosher salt and serve with plenty of napkins.