Wild Wild Wings

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 9 hr 10 min (includes cooling and brining times)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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4 cups water

1/4 cup sugar 

1/4 cup coarse kosher salt 

3 pounds chicken wings, separated into flats and drumettes 

Wing Sauce:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon minced garlic 

1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger 

1 cup hot sauce (we use Cholula) 

1 tablespoon sugar 


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cornstarch 

1/4 cup cornmeal 

3 tablespoons chipotle powder 

Peanut oil, for frying 


Chicken Shake, recipe follows

Blue cheese dressing, optional

1/2 English cucumber, sliced into sticks, optional

Chicken Shake:

1/4 cup berbere

1/4 cup hot smoked paprika 

2 tablespoons ground cumin 

2 tablespoons freshly ground white pepper 

2 tablespoons celery salt

1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic 

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt 


  1. For the wings: Bring 2 cups of the water, the sugar, and salt to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the remaining 2 cups water and cool the brine completely.
  2. Put the wings in a bowl and pour in the brine, making sure all the wings are submerged. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  3. For the wing sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic and ginger are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the hot sauce and sugar and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 5 minutes to develop the flavors. You can leave the sauce on the back of the stove until you need it.
  4. For the frying: When you're ready to fry, drain the wings and pat them dry with paper towels. Put the flour, cornstarch, cornmeal, and chipotle powder in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Dredge the wings in the seasoned flour, making sure each piece is well coated. Leave them on a rack while you heat the oil.
  5. Fill a large saucepan one-third full with peanut oil. Set over medium-high heat and heat to 360 degrees F.
  6. Working in batches, fry the wings until they're fully cooked and golden brown, 8 to 9 minutes. Keep an eye on the heat and adjust it to keep the oil between 350 and 375 degrees F. Drain the wings on a rack set over a baking sheet.
  7. For serving: When you've fried all the wings, put them into a large bowl, pour in the wing sauce, and toss to coat all the wings with sauce. Pile the wings onto a platter, sprinkle on some of the Chicken Shake and serve with blue cheese dressing and cucumber if desired.

Chicken Shake:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix to blend.

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