Wed Jan 8, 2014
January tends to me one of my favorite grilling months as my attention turns towards recipe that would make one damn tasty Super Bowl party. As much as I love barbecue, I find apps (AKA: appetizers) like potato skins, jalapeno poppers, and nachos even more irresistible. In honor of this, I've decided to dedicate all of my January recipes to my favorite of all the party foods—wings! I already have a healthy collection of recipes for wings here that span the standard Buffalo to spicy Cajun to sweet Hoisin to Jamaican Jerk. Still, I don't think I could ever stop variating on these crown jewels of finger foods and have so many more tasty incarnations to share, like these garlic and parmesan wings.
My process to get juicy wings with crackling skin on the grill has been well documented on this blog over and over again. Inevitably just about every recipe this month will follow the same procedure and I figure it best to go over it once again for any newbies out there.
Grilled wings can be pretty damn good, by so many fail due to flabby skin when compared to their crispy fried cousins. A few years ago my editor Kenji over Serious Eats found a way to get crunchy wings in the oven though, and I've used it ever since without fail on the grill.
The "secret" is coating them with baking powder and letting them air dry in the fridge for eight hours in the fridge prior to grilling. The rest in the fridge dries out the skins, so they can more effectively brown and crisp over high heat, while some of the chicken juices absorbed by the baking powder expand when heated, creating a textured skin that's closer to fried chicken, creating the desired blistery texture to give them and enhanced crunch and more sauce holding power.
The rest in the fridge may seem long, but it allows ample time for the creation of sauces. In this case, I went with an Italian influence to pair with the primary ingredient of Parmesan. The coating sauce was comprised of extra-virgin olive oil, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes, and black pepper whisked together in a small bowl.
After their rest in the fridge, the wings were grilled over high indirect heat. Thanks to the high amount of fat in chicken wings, they can take this type of intense heat and still remain juicy, so I cook my wings for the right texture on the skin rather than internal temperature. When they start to look like this—light golden brown with a crackling skin—they're done. If any aren't quite there yet after about 45 minutes, they can be quickly crisped over direct heat, but be careful because they can burn pretty quickly since most surface moisture is long gone.
Off the grill, the wings were immediately tossed with the basil and oil sauce while they were pipping hot.
The sauce coated the wings entire and created moisture for the Parmesan, which was tossed in next, to cling onto.
The wings were now ready for devouring, and they went quickly. The sauce created a pleasing herbal base with a little heat thanks to the red pepper. The cheese layer then complimented the basil and oil with a sharp nutty flavor that rounded out wing and made it feel whole and balanced. They were a fitting start for what's going to be a month of recipes that take wings to new great places and will certainly make any Super Bowl shindig more interesting and delicious.
Garlic and Parmesan Chicken Wings
- Prep Time:
- 15 Minutes
- Inactive Time:
- 8 Hours
- Cook Time:
- 40 Minutes
- Total Time:
- 8 Hours 55 Minutes
- 4-6 servings
- 3 pounds chicken wings, cut into drumettes and flats
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh basil
- 2 teaspoon freshly minced garlic, about 2 medium cloves
- 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup grate Parmesan cheese
- Pat chicken wings dry with paper towels. Place wings in a large bowl and sprinkle with baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt, tossing to coat evenly. Arrange wings in a single layer on wire rack placed over a baking sheet. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours.
- In a large bowl, olive oil, basil, garlic, thyme, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place the wings skin side up over the cool side of the grill, cover, and cook until skins are crisp and are starting to brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Transfer wings to bowl with oil and herb mixture. Toss to combine. Add in Parmesan cheese and toss again to evenly coat wings in cheese. Transfer to a serving tray and serve immediately.