About the author: After graduating from MIT, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt spent many years as a chef, recipe developer, writer, and editor in Boston. He now lives in New York with his wife. Got a suggestion for an upcoming topic? Email Kenji here, and he'll do his best to answer your queries in a future post. Become a fan of The Food Lab on Facebook for play-by-plays on future kitchen tests and recipe experiments
Tea-Smoked Chicken Wings
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup honey , divided
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced on a microplane (about 4 teaspoons)
- 24 chicken wing pieces
- 6 scallion greens, sliced fine
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup green tea leaves
- 2 cloves star anise
- 12 coriander seeds
- 1/4 cup white rice
Combine soy sauce, vinegar, 1/4 cup honey, ginger, and garlic in small bowl and whisk to combine. Place chicken wings in medium bowl and add 1/4 cup of soy sauce mixture. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, add remaining honey, scallions, and red pepper flakes to small bowl with remaining soy mixture. Stir to combine and set aside.
Remove chicken wings from marinade and carefully pat dry. Line inside of wok (see accompanying slideshow) with heavy duty aluminum foil, allowing foil to extend 5 inches over each end. Add sugar, tea leaves, star anise, coriander seed, and white rice to foil in wok. Stir to combine.
Set wok over medium-high heat and cook until mixture begins to release smoke, about 5 minutes. Set cooling rack over wok and add chicken wings, making sure to keep them within the perimeter of the wok. Tent wings with second large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil. Lift ends of bottom piece of foil over the edges of rack and crimp together with top foil to form an air tight seal. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to continue cooking for 20 minutes off heat.
Open foil and remove chicken wings. Discard foil and smoking mixture.
Preheat broiler to high. Place wings on foil-lined broiler pan and cook under broiler about 4 inches from element until deep burnished mahogany color is achieved. Flip wings and cook second side. In medium bowl, toss wings with remaining soy sauce/honey mixture. Serve immediately.