Eric Akis: Throw some chicken wings on the barbecue

Eric Akis

Once in a while, I get a craving for chicken wings. If it’s summer, I’ll head out and cook them on the barbecue. Last week, I barbecued some wings that I flavoured Asian-style.

I first marinated the wings in an oil mixture rich with dried spices, including five-spice powder, a flavourful and aromatic blend of star anise, fennel seeds, Szechuan peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon.

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When the wings were done marinating, I charred them a few minutes on one side of my barbecue. I then turned the heat off under the wings, left the heat on the other side of the barbecue, and closed the lid.

This indirect-heat method to finish cooking the wings turns your barbecue into sort of a convection oven, where heat rises, hits the lid, then swirls around and over the chicken, cooking it without flames scorching it.

When the wings were cooked, I put them in a bowl and tossed them with a hot Asian-style barbecue sauce made with a simmered mixture of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, chili sauce and roasted sesame seeds. When served, the wings were sticky and yummy and paired very well with cold beer.

To make a meal, I served the wings with steamed rice and an Asian-style slaw where shredded cabbage was tossed with such things as dried chow mien noodles and crunchy cashews.

Sticky, Yummy Asian-style BBQ Wings

Wings, marinated with aromatic spices, grilled and then tossed with hot Asian-style barbecue sauce. In other words, sticky, yummy wings you’ll happily devour.

Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus marinating time
Cooking time: About 26 minutes
Makes: 32 wings

3 Tbsp vegetable or peanut oil

2 tsp five-spice powder (see Note 1)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

32 chicken wing drumettes or wingettes, or mix of both (see Note 2)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp sriracha or other smooth, Asian-style chili sauce

1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger

1 tsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds (see Note 1)

1 green onion, very thinly sliced (optional)

Place oil, five-spice powder, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and black pepper in a bowl large enough to hold the wings. Add the wings and toss to coat. Cover wings and marinate in the refrigerator two to four hours.

Preheat your barbecue until the temperature in the chamber is about 400 F. While the barbecue heats, make Asian-style barbecue sauce by placing the soy sauce, ketchup, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, sriracha, ginger and sesame oil in a small pot. Set the pot aside.

When barbecue is ready, toss the chicken wings again so they are evenly coated with the oil mixture. Set wings on one side of the grill. Grill and char the wings about three minutes per side.

Turn heat off under the chicken. Leave the other side of the barbecue turned on. Close the lid and cook the wings about 20 minutes, or until cooked through. During cooking, check the temperature in the chamber and ensure it stays around 400 F, adjusting the flame as needed.

When wings are almost cooked, set the pot with the Asian-style barbecue sauce over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Now turn the heat to low, cover and keep the sauce warm on the stove.

When cooked, set the wings in a clean bowl. Pour the hot Asian-style barbecue sauce over them. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and toss to coat the wings. Arrange wings on a platter, sprinkle with green onion, if using, and serve.

Note 1: Chinese-style five-spice powder is sold in the bottled-spice aisle or Asian-foods aisle of grocery stores.

Note 2: Chicken wingettes, the middle portion of the wing near the tip, and chicken drumettes, the meaty section attached to the breast, are sold cut that way at most grocery stores.

Note 3: Roasted sesame seeds are sold in the Asian-foods aisle of many grocery stores. If you want to toast your own sesame seeds, place regular sesame seeds in a non-stick skillet set over medium heat. Cook the seeds, swirling the pan from time to time, until lightly toasted, about three to four minutes.

Asian-style Slaw with Chow Mien Noodles and Cashews

Shredded cabbage, other vegetables and dried chow mien noodles combine in this tasty slaw flavoured with such things as sesame oil, ginger and soy sauce.

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: None
Makes: six to eight servings

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger

1 tsp sriracha or other smooth, Asian-style chili sauce

1 tsp rice or cider vinegar

1 tsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds (see Note under wing recipe)

1 tsp sesame oil

3 cups thinly shredded green cabbage

1/2 cup coarsely grated carrot

1 1/2 cups dried chow mien noodles (see Note)

1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely diced

1/2 cup (about 50 grams) unsalted roasted cashews, coarsely chopped

2 green onions, thinly sliced

Combine mayonnaise, soy sauce, ginger, sriracha, vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds and sesame oil in a salad bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, toss to combine and slaw is ready to serve.

Note: Dry chow mien noodles, such as the Farkay brand I used, are sold in the Asian-foods aisle of grocery stores.

Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.

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