I love Buffalo Wings as much as the next guy, but as far as hot wings go, sometimes I like a little bit of sweetness to go with the spice. To that end, I found that a bottle of ginger beer goes a long way in adding the sweetness I was looking for, as well as some gingery zip.
To start, I marinated some chicken wings in a mix of ginger beer, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes. The marinade not only helps to add some additional flavor to the chicken, but it also helps the wings to brown when cooking. After soaking about an hour, the wings are drained from their marinade and then baked in a hot oven. While the wings were baking, I set my sights on making a sticky-sweet glaze made from more ginger beer, fresh ginger, soy sauce, honey, and a habanero chili pepper.
Along with fresh minced ginger, the ginger beer in the glaze adds a nice ginger spice to the sauce, as well as sweetness to help round out the heat from a single habanero chili pepper. The addition of honey not only created another layer of sweetness, but it also helped to thicken the sauce so that it could cling to the chicken wings. The resultant dish is a great balance of sweet and spicy that provides a nice change of pace from standard Buffalo wings.
- 1 cup ginger beer
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 pounds chicken wings, separated at the joint, wingtips removed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
- 1 habanero chili pepper, split in half lengthwise with stem end intact
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 green onion, very thinly sliced
To make the marinade, combine 1/2 cup ginger beer, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, canola oil, and red pepper flakes in small bowl. Place the chicken wings in a large zip-top bag, then pour the marinade over the wings. Close the bag and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 1 hour, flipping the bag over halfway through.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then place a cooling rack into the foil-lined baking sheet. Drain the chicken and discard the marinade. Pat the chicken wings dry with paper towels, then arrange the wings in a single layer on the rack in the baking sheet. Place the wings in the oven and bake until the skin is crisp and the chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes.
To make the glaze, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and cook until very fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the chili pepper and stir in the remaining ginger beer and soy sauce, along with the honey. Bring to a boil and reduce, stirring often, until the sauce reduces by half and thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the glaze to a large bowl.
Add the baked wings to the large bowl with the glaze and toss to coat. Garnish with the green onions and serve immediately.
Rimmed baking sheet fitted with a cooling rack