Twice-Cooked Chicken Wings might just change your mind about those fat-laden fried wings. The secret is in the simple 2-step cooking method and the coating mix which produces a crispy, yet tender and juicy batch of oven-baked chicken wings.
I used this method often back in the 70’s, after picking it up from chef friends. You might be surprised to learn that many restaurants parboil fresh chicken wings before tossing them in deep-fryer. This allows the wings to cook faster and produces a crispier skin.
My method here borrows from that theory, but instead of frying, they are finished in the oven. I’ve included my own coating mix recipe, but feel free to use your favorite.
And what do you call those separated wing pieces anyway? I was surprised to learn how many different names there are for these pieces, many being region-related. (Check out the photo below of the different parts of the wing.)
The part that is connected to the body of the chicken is most commonly called the drumette or drummie. It does look like a baby drumstick, so this makes sense. This part is also called the stem or runner, probably another reference to its likeness to the drumstick.
The middle section between the drumette and wing tip is often called the flat or flattie. It is also known as the wingette, flier, skateboard (presumably because it is flat?), and is called a clothesline or clothespin in the Buffalo area. All of these terms appear to refer to the shape of the piece. Of course, the wing tip is…you guessed it…the wing-tip. 🙂
Please comment below with your preferred term for chicken wing pieces and/or if you try this method. I would love to read your thoughts.
Twice-Cooked Chicken Wings Recipe
4 to 5 pounds chicken wings (see Notes)
2 cups plain panko
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar, optional
1 Tablespoon table salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup prepared buttermilk ranch dressing
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (there are Thai varieties, but I use the less expensive Sweet Baby Ray’s® brand)
Fill a large stockpot about halfway with water (see Notes) and bring to the boiling point. To avoid hot splashes, use tongs to add the wings to the boiling water. Return to the boil, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, depending upon how meaty they are. Keep your eye on the pot so it doesn’t boil over. Stir often to get even cooking, moving the ones on the bottom to the top. The ones on top like to float. Drain thoroughly through a colander (save the water if you want to make broth–see Notes). Let cool about 10 minutes as they drain.
Preheat oven to 450. Line a shallow baking sheet (I use a 10- x 15-inch jelly roll pan) with nonstick foil. Coat with butter-flavored vegetable oil.
Measure the panko into a large zip-top freezer bag. Use a rolling pin to crush the panko into finer crumbs. (Alternatively, pulse the panko in a food processor.) Add the Parmesan cheese, cornstarch, brown sugar, salt, paprika, poultry seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, and chipotle powder. Squish the bag to combine.
Add the chicken wings, 4 or 5 at a time, to the coating mixture and toss to cover. Discard any excess coating mix. Place the wings on the prepared baking sheet, making sure the pieces do not touch each other. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken wings.
While the wings are baking, whisk together the ranch dressing and sweet chili sauce to serve as a dipping sauce. (Optional.)
Remove the wings from the oven and turn each piece over. Return to the top rack of the oven and bake an additional 10 minutes until golden. Serve Twice-Cooked Chicken Wings with the spicy dipping sauce.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
• Use your choice of whole wings, drumettes, flats, or a combination. (See the image below.) To save money, I buy the whole wings and cut them myself. Simply cut in between the prominent joints using a sharp knife. Just to give you an idea, I ended up with about 30 drumettes and flats out of a 5-pound package of whole wings.
• To make chicken broth, I boil the wing tips in with the other pieces. After boiling, save the water when draining. Add the wing tips back to the water (along with some chopped onion, celery, and carrots, if you like) and boil it down until it is concentrated. Discard the wing tips, strain if necessary, and you have chicken broth. No waste! The broth may be frozen for future use.
• You may have seen some methods similar to this that call for boiling the wings in salted water. Unless your chicken is fresh from your or a neighbor’s yard or farm, I do not recommend this. Why? Ninety-nine percent of chicken pieces and whole chickens available to the public through commercial markets have been what the industry calls “enhanced.” This means they have been injected with a saline solution or salty broth, not only to plump up the chicken, but also as a preservative method. Adding more salt to the water will compound the sodium levels.
• Feel free to substitute your favorite herbs and seasonings. It’s the method that counts.