This recipe is air fryer chicken wing perfection. Crispy dry-brined wings, paired with a spicy, sweet and savory sauce that coats the wing like a thick blanket. This sauce has a wonderful balance of heat and flavor. I ate 20 of them in one sitting without any regret… Actually, if I am being honest. I regretted not having 20 more wings to eat. :p
- Chicken Wings
- Soy Sauce
- Rice Wine Vinnegar
- Toasted Sesame Oil
- Fresh Garlic
- Green Onions
- Sesame Seeds
Say it with me… Go-chu-jang… nailed it! The star of this show is the gochujang. Go-chu-jang is a fermented chili paste from Korea, and has become readily available in most major chain grocery stores. Its flavor is a more “earthy” take on fermented chilis, opposed to the heavy vinegar flavor you may be used to in western style hot sauces. I would say it is about as spicy as sriracha sauce, but since it represents 1/3 of the finished sauce, for this recipe the wing sauce would qualify as a very mild sauce.
If you want it really spicy, add some red pepper flakes or whatever ghost reaper demon pepper gives you the most street cred.
Dry brining is a simple process that is designed to reduce the water content of a protein, while seasoning its interior. This means: tasty and crispy wings.
Simply place the wings on a rack with a pan underneath. Lightly salt both sides, then store in the refrigerator overnight uncovered. The salt will pull water from the chicken skin, which will then evaporate while the salt slowly penetrates to the inside of the meat.
Cooks around the world use this process for a variety of proteins from steak to octopus.
What About the Sauce?
I’m glad you asked. I recommend making this sauce by the bucket! It is mild enough to be good anytime, on practically everything. Make it in advance since it just gets better with time. The fresh garlic needs at least overnight to transfer all its goodness into the rest of the sauce. So when you start the wing brine, make the sauce as well.
I did some digging, and I could not find a concrete definition for ‘sticky wings’. I found plenty of recipes which I refused to read in order to keep my idea for this sauce as original as possible.
Most of what I saw looked like BBQ or Asian inspired recipes. Makes perfect sense. Those sauces do be sticky.
The term “sticky chicken” seems to be applied to any chicken with a sweet and sticky sauce on it. There are loads of households in the U.S. where common Chinese takeout dishes when made at home, are referred to as “sticky chicken” General Tsao’s, sesame chicken, orange chicken just to name a few.
I really hope you try this sauce. The journey this recipe has taken me on has transformed me from someone who is morbidly fascinated by people’s obsession with hot wings, to shopping around for the best price on some plump juicy wings to slather in sauce and eat like a caveman… and I’m good with that.
Till next time, eat well my friends. – Chef Eric
Air Fryer Chicken Wings – Korean Style Sticky Wings
- Air Fryer
- Small Mixing Bowl
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Cutting Board
- Pan with Cooling Rack
- 20 chicken wings
- 1/4 cup gochujang
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice vinegar (rice wine vinegar)
- 1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 cloves fresh garlic (minced)
- 1 green onion (minced) Can be added directly to sauce or used as a garnish. For best results try both.
- 1/2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
- Using kitchen towels pat chicken wings dry and place on rack over sheet tray
- Lightly salt both sides of wings and store in refrigerator overnight 8-12 hours.
- In a small mixing bowl combine all of the sauce ingredients and mix well.
- Store covered in refrigerator for up to a week. The sauce gets better with time so make in advance.
Air Fry Wings
- Spray air fryer basket with cooking spray and preheat air fryer to 360 F or 182 C
- Place wings in air fryer basket spaced as evenly as possible.
- Cook for 12 minutes shaking basket and flipping wings every 2 minutes.
- Increase heat to 400 F or 204 C and cook for 2 more minutes.
Sauce the Wings
- For best results warm sauce in microwave, or on stove top before using.
- Add hot wings to mixing bowl then pour half of the sauce over wings and combine well. If they need more add a little at a time till wings are well coated.You may have leftover sauce. This is a good thing. Enjoy 🙂
- Garnish with sesame seeds and minced green onions.
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