Momofuku Chicken Wings Print Email

20 chicken wings, with wing tips attached (about 4 1/2 pounds)
8 cups lukewarm water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sake
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
5 cups duck or pork fat (can substitute vegetable oil)
6 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
5 to 6 pickled red chiles, seeded and ribs removed
1 1/2 cups mirin
1 bunch scallions, finely sliced, for garnish

Separate wings into 3 pieces (tips, wings, and drumettes) by cutting at both joints. Reserve wing tips for the tare.

Combine water, sugar, and salt in a large container with a tightfitting lid or a large resealable plastic bag (at least 4 quarts) and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Add chicken wings and drumettes to brine mixture, cover, and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours.

To make the tare, heat the oven to 400F. Combine wing tips and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large oven-safe pan and toss to coat. Roast until wing tips are dark golden brown, about 1 hour.

Remove the pan from the oven, place over medium heat, and slowly add sake and soy sauce, scraping up any browned bits with a flat spatula. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by 1/2, about 40 minutes. Strain and set tare aside (discard the wing tips).

Once chicken wings and drumettes have finished brining, heat duck or pork fat in a large pot with a tightfitting lid over low heat until fat is 190F to 200F. Drain wings and drumettes from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Add wings and drumettes to hot fat and cook, covered, over very low heat until just cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. (Dont overcook the chicken; there should still be texture and bite to the meat.) When wings and drumettes are done, remove to a baking dish or baking sheet using a slotted spoon and reserve fat for another use.

When ready to finish wings and drumettes, heat the broiler to high and arrange a rack at the top. Broil wings and drumettes, rotating the pan halfway through, until skin is crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once shimmering, add garlic and chiles and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. (Make sure the garlic does not brown.) Add mirin and cook until the alcohol smell is gone, about 2 minutes. Add tare and reduce sauce to a light syruplike consistency, about 10 minutes. Add wings and drumettes and toss to coat, top with sliced scallions, and serve.

David Chang -