I was at the grocery store the other day and ended up talking with a kid wearing a Wake Forest ball cap. Since Doug and I had just watched Clemson steal a win away from Wake in the final minute of the game, I mentioned it to the young man, telling him it was quite a game.
He looked at me a bit puzzled, and asked, ‘Which one do you mean? We played two; won one and lost the other.’
It was my turn to look confused at that point, so I expounded and explained that I was talking about the basketball game. Mr. Wake’s expression changed immediately. While the questioning air lifted, it was replaced with one of barely veiled frustration. I could feel the eye-roll he was able to hold back (barely).
It turns out that my new Wake Forest acquaintance was on the tennis team and they had played two stellar matches. Of course, life being what it is, all college sports attention is turned to basketball as we edge closer to March madness, so other activities don’t have a chance to sit on the edges of the limelight.
So it is when people talk about this weekend and ‘The Game’ or ‘The Party.’ There are undoubtedly a plethora of birthday gigs, anniversary bashes and other celebrations that will take place on Sunday afternoon.
But when I talk about making these wings for The Game, it’s all about the Super Bowl, baby.
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This is the kind of slow cooker dish that everyone dreams about. It’s just a matter of stirring everything together in the pot, turning it on and walking away for a few hours. Before serving, the wings are removed, laid out on a foil-covered baking sheet and broiled for a few minutes to crispy-up the skin a bit.
First, the flavor. It’s fantastic. The sauce is spot on with Asian goodness. Some might think it could use a bit more heat, which is easy enough to add with a splash more sambal oelek or Sriracha, but I thought it was perfect. I felt the tingle but it didn’t overwhelm and keep me from enjoying the wings.
The only issue that both Doug and I had was with the texture. Even though the wings were under the broiler and the skin got somewhat crispy, there were still parts of the skin that was chewy; you know, the way it always gets after hours in a slow cooker. That was kind of a bummer, but not enough so to keep us from inhaling the wings in record time.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
I’d probably forego the slow cooker, roast the wings in a hot oven, simmer the sauce in a small saucepan and brush it on the wings when they’re close to done.
Asian Barbecue Chicken Wings
- 4-1/2 lb. chicken wing drumettes, winglets, or both
- 8 medium scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup hoisin sauce
- 3 Tbs. Asian sesame oil
- 1-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 1-1/2 tablespoons sambal oelek
- 2-1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- Asian chile oil (optional)
- In a 5-6 quart slow cooker, stir the chicken wings, all but 2 tablespoons of the scallions, the hoisin sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and sambal oelek until the wings are evenly coated.
- Cover and cook until the wings are cooked through, but not falling off the bone, 2-1/2 hours on high or 4 hours on low. The wings can stay on the keep-warm setting for up to 1 hour.
- Use tongs to transfer the chicken wings to a large foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Strain the sauce into a fat separator and set aside for a few minutes.
- Pour the defatted sauce into a 2-quart saucepan, add the vinegar, and boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
- Position a rack 4 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler on high.
- Brush the wings with the sauce and broil until browned, about 3 minutes.
- Turn the wings over, brush them again, and broil until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes more.
- Brush with the sauce once more before serving, topped with the remaining 2 tablespoons of scallions and drizzled with the chile oil, if using.
- Serve any remaining sauce on the side for dipping.
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