These crunchy wings are coated with a savory chili crisp and honey glaze to create the perfect sweet/spicy balance.
Around the football-centric time of year, and particularly the first weekend in Feb, I’m always trying to brainstorm new wing recipes. It usually starts by figuring out the method. Should they be smoked, grilled, fried or oven baked? It’s a tough call, because I’ve already created recipes for tangy bbq wings, smoke-fried wings and some pretty amazing Korean style golden fried ones, too. This year, I wasn’t guided by the method as much as the flavors. As soon as the idea for these wings popped into my head, I was at the grocerty store buying ingredients to test it out within the hour. That’s a pretty good indication of being REALLY excited to see if a recipe is going to work. Good news – the chili crisp honey glazed wings are even better than I thought they would be.
Firstly, you can never go wrong with a heavy coating of sauce on wings. Ain’t no one turning those away. Even better if it’s a sticky sweet glaze. The trick to REALLY great wings is that they are balanced in flavor. So for all the sweet, you need a little smoke or spice. If you have not yet been converted to the cult of chili crisp, allow me to induct you. Chili Crisp is a type of Asian condiment that starts off as a form of chili oil. But they also add in a variety of incredible aromatics like scallions, garlic and ginger which are toasted until they are crispy. So the finished chili crisp is a flavor packed umami bomb of hot, crunchy, salty goodness. It’s used similarly to a hot sauce – just add a touch to anything you’re eating. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of outrageously spicy foods, the name is a bit misleading. I would classify my spice comfort as being at “jalapeno” level, and I’m perfectly happy munching away at a plate of these babies. You can find chili crisp at your local asian or specialty grocery – I use Lao Gan Ma brand and absolutely love it (and it’s super easy to buy it on Amazon).
The chili crisp honey glazed wings are a celebration of flavor AND texture. The viscous honey coating with chunky flecks of chili crisp is made EVEN BETTER by cooking the wings until they have an outrageously crispy skin. You could definitely fry them to get that result, but I’ve finally nailed an oven method for shatteringly crisp wings that actually works. The only real advice I have with this recipe – is to prepare to double the batch and use AS MUCH oven space as you can, because they seem to get devoured really quickly!