Want the tenderest chicken wings with a sticky glaze and glassy skin? First, start by dry-brining for at least 6 hours, preferably 24. This seasons them to the bone, dries out the skin, and begins breaking down their fat. Next, go for a two-stage roast, starting with moderate heat to render all the fat, then increasing the temp to caramelize the sticky glaze. This all takes time but, aside from a couple flips and tosses, the action is mostly hands off.
These wings are inspired by the Vietnamese fish sauce wings originally sold at a roadside stand in Ho Chi Minh City and later brought to Portland, Ore. via Andy Ricker’s restaurant Pok Pok. They have big punchy flavors: perky from lime juice, funky from fish sauce, and full of tongue-tingling spice from lots of chopped chiles and garlic. Finish with a shower of chopped peanuts, cilantro, and mint.
Want a variation? Try Sticky Pomegranate & Black Pepper Chicken Wings and read more about this chicken wing technique here—so you have the confidence to take it off-script. —Sohla El-Waylly
- Prep time 24 hours
- Cook time 1 hour 20 minutes
- Serves 2 to 4
- Dry brine
2 to 2 1/4 pounds
- Fish sauce glaze
neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola
palm sugar or granulated sugar
garlic cloves, finely grated
4 to 6
Thai green chiles, finely chopped
limes, zested and juiced
roughly chopped cilantro, lightly packed
roughly chopped mint, lightly packed
roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Flaky salt (optional)
- Line a sheet pan with foil (for easy cleanup) and set an ovenproof wire rack inside. If your wings are whole, use a sharp knife to separate them into three parts: drumette, flat, and tip. Reserve the wing tips for stock down the road.
- Brine the wings: Pat the wings dry with a paper towel and place in a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the salt, sugar, baking powder, and MSG (if using). Sprinkle this mixture over the wings and toss until evenly coated. Arrange the wings on the wire rack and refrigerate uncovered at least 6 hours or preferably overnight, flipping the wings halfway through. (Wash the bowl and keep it handy—we’ll be using it again.)
- When you’re ready to roast, heat the oven to 350°F.
- The first roast: Transfer the wings to the big bowl, toss with the oil until evenly coated, then return them to the wire rack. Roast the wings, flipping them once halfway through, until the skin is lightly browned, the flesh of the drumettes is starting to pull away from the bones, and the fat from the skin has mostly rendered, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: Wash the large bowl. Add the sugar and pour 2 tablespoons of boiling water on top, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Add the fish sauce, garlic, chiles, and lime zest (not juice!), whisking until combined.
- The second roast: Remove the wings from the oven and increase the temperature to 375°F. Transfer the wings to the bowl with the glaze and toss to coat. Use tongs to return the wings to the rack, reserving any remaining glaze in the bowl, and roast until lightly charred and glossy, about 20 minutes.
- Whisk the lime juice into the remaining glaze. Once the wings are out of the oven, transfer them to the bowl and toss again in the glaze. Transfer the wings to a platter and garnish with cilantro, mint, and peanuts. Sprinkle with flaky salt if desired. Pour any remaining glaze into a small dish and serve alongside.