I have now officially started a year of having to count by twos in odd numbers. My fourth born is now five years old. As the years have gone by it seems time just keeps accelerating faster and faster. It seems like just a couple weeks ago I brought a pink little bundle of boy home to meet his three elder brothers. Now Leif is a sweet little Viking boy.
Leif requested a massive birthday spread that would’ve had me working for three days straight. He settled for a more modest birthday menu that included French toast for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with grapes and chips for lunch and the dinner of his dreams; sticky chicky bones, pizza, grapes, bananas, clementines and ice cream cake.
Sticky chicky bones (also known as chicken wings) have been my kids’ most requested birthday menu item for as long as they’ve been capable of voicing their preferences. One of our kids kept calling them chicken bones and it just stuck.
I have some pretty serious wing bona fides. I didn’t work at the Anchor Bar, but I worked for a guy who did. Having worked the pub grub station in his restaurant/bar less than an hour from the mecca for wing lovers -Buffalo- I’m pretty well versed in the wonderful world of chicken wings. While the authentic Buffalo-style wings I served in the pub were delicious, I knew I could do better. I decided to set out on a quest to find the perfect wing recipe.
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, while great on lumpia, popcorn, rice and other various things, was the first thing I nixed in my wing recipe. I prefer Sriracha with it’s amazing garlic flavor and a balance of chile-zip and vinegar bite that is, to my mind, superior to Frank’s. Sriracha pairs pretty naturally with soy sauce and ginger and the rest just fell into place.
In my experiments, I was looking not only for the ultimate wing sauce but for the best preparation. I wanted the wing recipe that would translate from a catering setting to a restaurant setting to a home setting. I’d love to say that I slaved for years to find this recipe, but the truth is that it didn’t take that long to find the recipe of which I’d been dreaming.
The recipe we’ve been making for years now combines my favorite flavors -the Sriracha, soy sauce, honey, toasted sesame oil, garlic and ginger- with some fantastic supporting players -orange juice, hoisin sauce, and green onions. In simplifying the cooking process, the wings are mixed with sauce, roasted and then broiled in the same roaster pan instead of deep fried. The sauce is cooked onto the wings instead of being tossed on them as an afterthought. The honey in the sauce gives a nice full mouth-feel to the finished wings.
If you only try one wing recipe this year, please let this be the one. It’s so good.
Since these wings were destined for the kids’ table they did not get a coating of green onions.
Sticky Chicky Bones
You can make these ahead of time if you’re entertaining with them. They reheat beautifully!
The first set of ingredients is for the adult’s version. To make them less spicy for the small fry, replace the Sriracha with good quality ketchup. They are still delicious.
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons Sriracha (To lower the heat in the wings you can reduce the amount of Sriracha. To increase the heat, increase the Sriracha.)
- 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
- 2 tablespoons dark Asian sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 pounds fresh chicken wings, cut in 2 pieces at joint or 2 pounds frozen chicken wings, thawed.
- Thinly sliced green onions, green and white parts, optional
Preheat oven to 450F.
Combine honey, soy sauce, ketchup, orange juice, sesame oil, ginger and garlic in large bowl. Add wings and toss to coat. Oil or spray a large, rimmed broiler-safe baking pan or roaster pan. Place wings with sauce in single layer in prepared baking pan.
Bake, turning occasionally, 25 minutes or until chicken is browned evenly.
Increase oven temperature to broil. Broil wings close to broiler element, turning occasionally, for 8 minutes or until sauce is thickened. When the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and leaves a clear line when a finger is drawn across the spoon it is done. Remove wings to a serving dish and spoon the sauce over top. Top with a generous sprinkling of sliced green onions.
Eat. Lick fingers. Repeat.