Speaking Out on Wings: Volume 1, Issue 5

foghorn_leghornWelcome back.  In this Issue I present to you a selection of sauces that have no common theme other than an emphasis on Asian ingredients and that several of them were not as successful as desired.   I have been searching for a wing sauce that captures an Asian-ish flavor for a while.  I created several soy, teriyaki and peanut based off Japanese, Chinese, and Thai cooking that I like to do.  Not all of them were successes, but I believe that there is something there.  Maybe you can figure out what was missing or take what I started and make the next great wing sauce.  Until then, I will keep plugging away at making wing sauces using what I continue to learn.  That is why I love cooking, you can never know it all.

Fire Sauce

I use this sauce for a dish I call Fire Cracker Shrimp.  The sauce also works well on wings, although it is a thinner sauce than some people might like, however if you are looking for heat this sauce has heat in spades.  As a warning, this sauce did cause my nose to bleed the first time I had this sauce.

  • 1/3 cup Teriyaki Baste
  • 1/3 cup Teriyaki
  • 2 tbsp. Gochujang #5
  • 1 tsp. Dark Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp. Ponzu
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Small Yellow Onion, minced

Two options for making this sauce; option one which is easiest, put everything into a pot, cook over medium to medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to a simmer after sauce reaches a boil.  Allowing the sauce to reduce will make it thicker, but will make it a lot hotter.  Adding slurry (equal mixing of water and cornstarch-mixed together first and then added to sauce) will thicken sauce up.

Option two, cook onions and garlic in a pan in a small amount of butter for 30 seconds and then add onions, garlic and remaining butter to sauce in pot.  Cook as above.

Peanut Wing Sauce

This sauce was a dud, not in flavor, but in appearance.  This sauce clumped up so bad, that in the words of people there, “Looks like a baby turd.”  Admittedly, the wings clumped together under a light brown sauce with peanuts, did look like a baby turd.  However, the wings tasted damn good, lots of peanut flavor and an extra crunch from the peanuts.

  • 1 can Coconut Milk (not lite)
  • ¼ cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 tbsp. Soy
  • 2 tbsp. Peanuts, chopped

Put all of the ingredients in a pot and cook on medium heat, stirring a lot, until boiling, then remove from heat.  I haven’t given this sauce much thought since I moved on to other variations, but if I were to make it again I would add some water, about 2 tbsp. for a start and some minced green onion, and 1/2 tsp. cumin for additional flavor.

Better Peanut Sauce

This is a much, much better peanut sauce; great for everything from Peanut Thai to wings.  The Better Peanut Sauce is creamy, smooth and has a deep flavor that is not solely peanut.  What more can I say?

  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • 1 1/2 cups Peanut Butter
  • 3 Green Onions, chopped
  • 2 to 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • 3 tbsp. soy
  • 6 tbsp. Brown Sugar, dark
  • 3/4 tsp. Lemongrass Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Curry Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Coriander
  • 3/4 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 6 tbsp. Water

Put every ingredient, except water, in pot.  Stir until well mixed and simmering.  Let simmer for 1 minute then remove from heat.  Add water 1 tbsp. at a time to thin out, if needed.

Peanut Sauce #2 or 3

Unlike the Better Peanut Sauce above, this was actually the next peanut sauce that I made.  I was determined to redeem myself after the “baby turd” incident.  This sauce used House Tsang Peanut Sauce as the base, which I don’t know if it is still available in stores.  House Tsang Peanut Sauces is a pre-made peanut sauce in a bottle that has heat, some peanut flavor, but mostly spice.  Mix with the rest of the ingredients and it became a peanut sauce with a lot of flavor and some heat.

  • 1/2 cup House Tsang Peanut Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 tbsp. Soy
  • 2 tbsp. Peanuts, chopped
  • 1 Lime Quarter, squeeze in while cooking

Put all of the ingredients into a pot and cook on medium heat, stirring frequently.  Add lime before boil.  Remove from heat after boil.

Teriyaki Sauce

A simple teriyaki flavored sauce that is good topped with green onion.

  • 1/4 cup Teriyaki, Baste preferably
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp. soy

Put the garlic and butter in a pan, cook until fragrant (30 seconds.)  Then put rest of ingredients in to the pan.  Cook on medium heat until boiling, and then remove from heat.  The sauce will thicken upon standing and can be reduced for a thicker sauce.

Faux-Teriyaki Sauce/Glaze

Out of teriyaki or want a sweeter teriyaki?  Then give this sauce a try.  The key is to let the sauce reduce by at least 1/3 volume.  Also, apply this sauce while hot, to hot wings because upon setting the sauce does not thicken, the sauce becomes like a soy-colored paste.  Great on fresh wings.

  • 1 cup Soy
  • 1/4 cup White Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. water (save for thinning)
  • 1 tbsp. Ponzu (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. Dark Sesame Oil (optional)

Put all ingredients, EXCEPT water, into a pan and cook on medium heat until boiling.  Then reduce to a simmer until reduced by at least 1/3.  Dark Sesame Oil, for those that don’t know, will add a little kick to the sauce.

Asian-is Wing Sauce

Before any of the peanut sauces, this was my first attempt at an “Asian” flavor wing sauce.  This had an okay flavor, but something just seemed off flavor and consistency wise.

  • ¼ cup Teriyaki Baste Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Butter
  • 1 tbsp. Dark Sesame Oil
  • 2 tbsp. Teriyaki

Put all ingredients in a pot and cook on medium heat until boiling, then remove from heat.

Asian-ish Sauce #2 or #3

I lost count on which version this was, but this was the best version.  Good flavor

  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. Shallots, minced
  • 1 tbsp. Butter
  • Cook 30 seconds
  • 1 tbsp. Hoisin
  • 1 tbsp. Dark Sesame Oil
  • ¼ cup Teriyaki
  • 1 tsp. Ponzu

Start off by cooking the garlic and shallots in butter until fragrant (30 seconds).  Then put everything else into the pan and cook on medium heat until boiling.  Remove from heat.

Garlic Dipping Sauce

This is not a sauce for wings, but for wings to be dipped in.  This has a most awesome garlic flavor that can be increased through the use of more garlic.

  • 3 tbsp. Butter
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced

Put all of the ingredients into a pan, cook until butter is melted and garlic fragrant, remove from heat and serve in bowl for dipping.  If you have butter warmer, this sauce can be kept warm which will keep it from congealing.

Bonus Sauce

Look what I found while going through my recipe book, a bonus sauce.  I first used this for ribs, the sauce was very popular.

Apple Flavored BBQ Sauce

An apple and BBQ flavor sauce, what more can I say…oh yeah YUM!

  • 1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Apple Juice (Juicy Juice)
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar, Light or Dark

Put all ingredients into a pot and cook on medium heat until boiling, then remove and use.  Adding more apple juice will make the apple flavor pronounced.  Same with BBQ sauce.  Adjust amounts to suit your tastes.

Well that is all of the sauces, batters and information on wings that I have for now.  If you have any comments, suggestions or sauces you would like me to try out drop me a line.   I’m sure there will be more issues, but nothing planned for right now.  Enjoy.

Speaking Out on Wings: Volume 1, Issue 4

255torchicLast Issue I showed you the BBQ and heat sauces that I use for wings, butI didn’t tell you how Iapply the sauce to my wings, an oversight of mine.  Oops.

How to Apply Sauces: I used to toss the wings and the sauce in the sauce pan or pour the sauce over the wings and give a quick toss.  Neither of these coated the wings the way that I desired.  While waiting for a pizza I saw how they put sauce on wings: pour the sauce into a bucket with a good sealing lid, put the wings into the bucket, seal the bucket, and shake vigorously.  Pour or pick out the evenly coated wings.  I have three different buckets now. 🙂

This Issue will be about what I call Citrus sauces.  Don’t give me any gruff about the fruit sauces in here.  I learned how to make a lemon sauce before I learned how to make any other sauce, and now any sweet sauce made with citrus or fruit is a citrus sauce to me, in name only.  Here is what is great about these sauces over the BBQ-heat sauces, they can be used for wings and/or other dishes.  I have used the lemon sauce for Chinese, the cherry for cooked hams and so on.  All of them are sweet and great for desserts.  As wing sauces go they are a very mixed bag, there will be some that people love and some that people will give you the “Why?” or “What the hell!” look about.

“Citrus” Sauce

This is not one sauce, but the recipe for several, just change the primary ingredient to make a different flavor.   Given that I use these sauces for regular dishes and desserts this was not that much of a surprise that they would receive a mixed reaction on wings.

  • 1 cup lemon, lime, or orange freshly juiced or strawberries juiced
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp zest from appropriate “citrus”
  • 1 cap full vanilla coffee syrup (optional)
  • 1-3 drops sesame seed oil (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (optional)

Mix all ingredients, EXCEPT cornstarch, into pan.  Cook on medium-high heat until boiling.  Boil for one minute, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for one additional minute.  Sauce will thicken upon standing.  The vanilla coffee syrup adds sweetness to any sauce.  The sesame seed oil will add a kick to any sauce.  To thicken a sauce more, add the cornstarch after the boil, make sure to whisk briskly to keep cornstarch from clumping (ick).

Orange-Orange Sauce

Orange-Orange sauce is an extremely flavorful sauce, lots and I do mean lots of orange flavor.  This sauce was well received on wings.

  • ¼ cup Iron Chef Ginger Orange Sauce (found in grocery store “Asian” aisle)
  • ½ cup Orange Marmalade
  • 1 tbsp White Sugar
  • 1 10 oz can Mandarin Oranges
  • 2 tbsp Orange Juice

Mix everything into a pan and cook on medium-high heat until the sauce reaches a boil then remove from heat.  Cook either after wings are done or while wings are cooking to apply as soon as possible.

Sticky-Orange Sauce

A good orange flavor, but extremely sticky.  This was a fun sauce to make and watch people eat.  Not as much orange flavor as the Orange-Orange Sauce above, good with pork and chicken in non-wing form.

  • 2 tbsp Iron Chef Ginger Orange Sauce
  • ¼ cup Orange Marmalade
  • 2 tbsp White Sugar

Mix everything into a pan and cook on medium-high heat until the sauce reaches a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until reduced in volume by 1/3 or more.  Stir frequently to keep from burning and sticking to pan.

Orange-Balsamic Glaze

This is a good orange glaze with a sweet tang.  Good on just about everything.

  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vingar
  • 1/3 cup Orange Marmalade
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Stock

Cook in a pan on medium heat until reduced to a glaze.

Cherry Sauce

I use this on hams that I cook all of the time.  Not great for wings, but if you have a cherry fan or someone that wants to try something different (I get that request all of the time, witness the above sauces).  Great on ham!

  • 1 can Cherry Pie Filling
  • 1/2 cup Ginger Ale
  • 3 tbsp White Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch

Mix all of the ingredients, EXCEPT cornstarch, into a pan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  After boil, whisk in cornstarch, and continue whisking for 2 minutes until sauce thickens.

That’s all I got for “Citrus” Sauces, an odd bag of wing sauces I admit, but give them a try.  If nothing else you may find something that you can use for a non-wing dish…people eat non-wing dishes right?

Next Issue, just plain odd and experiments in progress.

Speaking Out on Wings: Volume 1, Issue 3

boba-chickenI like to make sauces for wings.  Sauces are easy to make.  Seriously, easy to make.   Have I shown you anything that was difficult?  No.  So follow along.

At a minimum, all sauces require a pot to cook in and an stove to cook on.  After that, if you want easy and who doesn’t, you grab ingredients out of your refrigerator and off your shelves that you have on hand.  With the exception of one sauce I try to keep them simple so that I can make them on the fly.

I have three categories of sauce, these are my categories, so bare with me; BBQ, Citrus and Odd Stuff.  I thought I would start out with the most liked and probably most used which is BBQ.  I don’t have any advice with any of these sauces other than if you think something else would work better go with it.  That’s how I do it.

Basic instructions for all sauces, put everything into the pot, cook on high until boiling, and remove from heat for application.  Stir often to keep from burning to the pan.

The asterisks (*), are how hot a sauce is, as told to me by others; it takes a lot for me to notice heat.  For a baseline, Sweet Baby Rays Honey BBQ is * in heat to me.

Sweet With Heat BBQ **

Sweet with Heat sauce is a simple BBQ based sauce with some extra sweetness added in the form of honey and sugar.  The heat comes from the hot wing sauce or sriracha.  The sriracha also adds a smoky flavor to the sauce.  This sauce is a favorite with everyone.

  • ½ cup Sweet Baby Rays Honey BBQ (good for apx. 24 wings)
  • 2 tbsp Frank’s Hot Wing Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Honey (2 tbsp max)
  • 1 tbsp Brown Sugar, Dark (2 tbsp max)
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha (optional) (2 tbsp max)

Tangy with Heat Sauce ***

Tangy with Heat Sauce is a variation on Sweet with Heat, with less heat and more of a tangy flavor.  Popular, but not as popular as the Sweet with Heat sauce.

  • 1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 tbsp Sriracha
  • 1 tbsp Honey

Upfront and Backside Kick Sauce *** to ****

This sauce has a heat-spice immediately and as you finish the wing a second heat-spice.  The gochujang, adds a lot of heat, but a deeper flavor to the sauce.

  • ¼ cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ
  • 1/3 cup Frank’s BBQ Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 3 tbsp Gochujang #3 (this can be found at your local Asian market)
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar

Just Heat Sauce ****

This sauce is just heat.  There is flavor, but I don’t find this sauce as flavorful as other BBQ sauces that I make.  Make this for people who want heat and don’t care about flavor.  Just Heat Sauce is done in two steps; step one cook the butter and garlic until you can smell the garlic (roughly 30 seconds).  Step two, put everything else into the pot and cook until boiling as per the Basic Instructions above.  To make the sauce hotter, reduce heat to medium after boil and allow to reduce in volume by 1/4 to 1/3.

  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Butter

Cook 30 seconds

  • 1/3 cup Frank’s Hot Wing Sauce
  • ¼ cup Frank’s BBQ Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Jalapeno Wine

“Manly” Wing Sauce  *****!

Manly Wing Sauce was a dare, “Make the hottest sauce you can make and I will eat more wings than you.”  Unfortunately for the person who made the dare with me I have a lot of hot stuff on hand and I eat it regularly (for the record 2 for him and 8 for me).  The base of the sauce is hot, but not overly hot, but by adding the optional ingredients the sauce will only get hotter.  There is flavor to this sauce, but the goal was all HEAT.  “Manly” Wing Sauce can cause spice burns .

The four ingredients below are the base of the sauce.  The ratio of Wing Sauce to BBQ sauce can be adjusted as you desire, as long as ¾ cup is the result.

  • ½ cup Frank’s Hot Wing sauce
  • ¼ cup Franks BBQ sauce
  • 4 drops Sesame Seed oil
  • 2 tbsp Butter

Below, are all optional ingredients that I have used that can be added to the base to increase the heat and flavor.  I have used all of them in one sauce for a very HOT sauce; the sauce was hot enough while cooking that it caused me and passerby’s to cough.

  • 1 clove Garlic, minced (cook separately in butter for 30 seconds before adding to sauce)
  • 1/4 cup Jalapeno Wine
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha (smokey flavor)
  • ½ tsp Wasabi Powder (notice powder)
  • 6 drops Tabasco
  • 1 tbsp Dark Sesame Oil
  • 4 Tbsp Gochujang #3 or
  • 1 Tbsp Gochujang #5  (Number 5 is A LOT hotter than #3)

Those are the BBQ sauces that I use for wings.  Nothing too special.  Gochujang might be a problem if you don’t have an Asian Grocer near you, but other than that everything else can be found at your local grocery store.  Don’t be afraid to add or subtract from my sauces, they are very basic sauces and can take a lot before getting funky.  If you do come up with something that you find interesting let me know and I will put it in another sauce issue.

Next issue citrus sauces…yes I know strawberries aren’t a citrus.  🙂

Speaking Out on Wings: Volume 1, Issue 2

cartoon_chicken22_mnyrLast “Issue” I wrote about choosing wings, dissecting wings and cleanliness.  Lots about cleanliness.  You don’t want yourself or anyone else getting sick from food you prepared because you didn’t bother to wash your hands. So wash your damn hands.  Wash them often.  Your stomach, your family’s stomach, and your friends stomachs will appreciate your efforts. With that PSA out of the way, onto the next stage of making wings, how I make wing batters.

To batter or not to batter, it’s not the question.  Trust me, it’s not.  There are times when I do not want to deal with the hassle and mess that batters can be and I go batterless (commando wings?).  I do not make commando wings when I am serving them to people, unless they ask for batterless wings, or have an allergy to an ingredient I am using in a batter.  Speaking of which, as a good cook you should find out what food allergies people have before having them over to eat.

Batterless Wing Batter

If you choose not to batter the wings, the least you can do is season your wings; salt and pepper are excellent seasonings, easy to use and generally right there in the kitchen.   If you want to get “fancy,” toss on some other herbs and spices that match well with your wing sauce (see Issues 3 through 5 to follow) or if you are going sauceless (bare back wings…ugh need to stop that) then use herbs and spices that you like.  I usually go with a little bit of salt and pepper before the wings go into the fryer.  When I take the wings out of the fryer give them the herb and spice treatment.

  • Give the wings at least salt and pepper for some flavor.
  • Season immediately after they come out of the fryer.

Single and Three-Bowl Batters

I use two types of batter; a single-bowl batter and a three-bowl-batter.  The single bowl batter is quick, easy and has worked for me without fail.  The three-bowl-batter is not quick and has worked without fail, just more dishes to clean up afterwards.  Both the single and three-bowl batters start with the following Basic Batter.

Nate’s Basic Batter

  • 1 cup of flour (good for up to 30 wings)
  • 2 tablespoons of herb and spice (at a minimum) typically a BBQ style mix like McCormick’s.

Nothing overly special in making a batter that will coat the wings.  After all, most people are looking for the crunch of a batter and the taste of a sauce.  Unless you serve wings without sauce, most people will never notice the herbs and spices unless the wings are really spicy or totally weird in flavor.

Three-bowl-batter instructions:

  1. One bowl with just flour.
  2. One bowl with a 1/3 cup of milk.
  3. One bowl with your flour and seasonings.

Dredge or coat wings (I do six at  time because that is how many my fryer will hold) in the bowl of flour.  Then quickly dip the wings into the milk.  Finally dredge or coat the flour and milk coated wings in the final bowl of seasoned flour.  Shake off excess seasoned flour before placing the wings into a preheated 375 degree fryer.

One-bowl batter instructions:

  1. One bowl with flour and seasonings.

Dredge or coat wings with the seasoned flour.  Shake off excess season flour and place wings into a preheated 375 degree fryer.

Frying

When frying make sure to pre-heat your fryer to 375 degrees.  Place a single layer of wings into your basket.  Drop into fryer.  I fry my wings for 15 minutes which gives them a very crispy exterior.  Shake the fryer basket at least once during frying.  I shake the basket to loosen or free any wings that might be stuck to the basket or to each other.  Remove the wings from fryer.  Place on a paper towel covered plate or if I am feeling really froggy on a grate over a paper towel covered plate.  As soon as the wings are removed from the fryer season the wings with additional seasoning if you like.  I let the wings sit drying and draining for no more than four minutes before the wings get the sauce treatment, more on that next “Issue.”

Batters I Use

These are the three batters that I consistently used.  You should be able to find the spice blends at your local grocery store.

My Normal Batter

I use this batter the most.  This batter works well goes every sauce that I will share.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp Emeril Essence
  • 2 tbsp McCormick BBQ seasoning

Asianish Batter

This batter has a nice cinnamon and herb flavor.  This batter was best with the citrus and Asianish Sauces.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 2 tbsp McCormick Lemon & Herb seasoning

BBQ Batter

This batter has a bite.  This batter goes best with any of the spicy and flavorful sauces, not so great with the citrus sauces.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp McCormick Sweet & Smoky seasoning
  • 1 tbsp McCormick Smokehouse Maple seasoning
  • 3 tbsp McCormick BBQ seasoning

Next Issue, the first of the Sauce Series.

Speaking Out on Wings: Volume 1, Issue 1

cartoon_chicken22_mnyrWhile I am working on the next installment of Building A Better Blogger and as the season turns towards warmer temps, I thought I would start work on the wing cookblog.  Where should I begin, wings, batters or sauces…that is the question?  I think that I will start at the beginning with the wings.  You cannot have wings without the wings themselves.

I prefer to buy whole wings and then cut them down into winglets or drummets myself.  This is just my preference, I like to practice my knife skills cutting wings apart and I like the wing tips which is something you don’t get when you buy winglets or drummets.  I also like that I get more wings when I buy them whole than when I buy them already cut apart.  My advice is as follows:

  • Always buy the best wings you can buy.  Try not to buy cheap wings, there is so little meat that quality really does matter.
  • Cheap wings can come with broken bones.
  • If you don’t mind the work of cutting the wings apart, then buy whole wings.
  • If you don’t want to cut wings apart, buy the winglet or drummet parts.
  • Always compare prices, if the price on whole wings is much cheaper you may want to buy them and put in the extra work.

So you’ve gone and bought whole wings, but do not know how to cut them apart.  It is a three step process and requires a cutting board, a sharp knife, a container for the cut wings and a container for any waste.  Please remember the basic safety when using the knife and working with chicken.

  • Keep your fingers out of the way when working with the knife.  Chicken can be slippery so work carefully.
  • Anything that touches raw chicken must be cleaned with soap and hot water.
  • Do not use the cutting board or knife on anything other than chicken before cleaning with soap and hot water.
  • Wash your hands with soap and hot water before touching anything after working with chicken.

wing4labels2A whole wing has three parts the drum, the wing and the tip (my terms by the way, just in case).  See the image to the left for the anatomy of a wing.  The drum (Humerus) is where the wing formerly attached to the chicken.  The wing (Radius and Ulna) is the middle section and the tip (Manus) is the end.

There is an elbow and joint; drum to wing and wing to tip, these are where you will make your cuts.  If you have never worked with a wing, flex the wing and feel the joint move.  You will notice a space or gap as you move the joint around.  This is where you want to place your knife, in/on the gap and cut.  If you are in the right spot the wing will separate easily.  When done you will have three parts.  Most people don’t like wing tips, you can keep or discard them as you choose.  I keep them because they can be used to test out batters and sauces before serving the wing and drum.  They can also be tossed in with other parts for a stock.  I find them good to gnaw on in addition to the above.

That is all I have on wings for the moment.  Next issue, batters.