Umami Bomb Chicken Wings

Umami Bomb Chicken Wings
By Chef Phillip Schaaf

Chicken wings are a family favorite for many, and this quick and easy marinade is a refreshing flavor upgrade for those flats and drummies. There are only a handful of ingredients needed to put this recipe together, and after a few hours of marinating, the wings are ready to hit the grill.

Fish sauce is the main ingredient in this marinade. This pungent and flavor-packed liquid is made by slowly pressing salted and fermented anchovies. The resulting product is a densely colored umami salt bomb that adds punchy flavor to anything it touches.

Because fish sauce is so salty and earthy, it needs to be balanced out with some sweet and sour notes. For this marinade we are going to use brown sugar and lime juice, and we are going to use them in a ratio of equal parts, or 1:1:1. Fresh minced ginger and garlic round out the marinade with aromatics, A minced jalapeño or serrano pepper will add a medium level of heat to the dish, while bird’s eye chilies will bring some serious heat.

All of these flavors combined unleash a seriously addictive chicken wing. Add a little bit of fresh chopped scallion and cilantro and a dash of reserved marinade to really take it up a notch.

What you’ll need

2 Packages of Grass Roots flats and drumettes or wings

⅓ Cup Fish sauce

⅓ Cup Brown sugar

Juice of one lime

2” knob of ginger, peeled and minced

4-6 Cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 hot chilies, as preferred

4 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro

2 Tbsp fresh sliced scallion

1 Tbsp butter, optional

The Recipe

Prepare the marinade by combining everything but the wings, cilantro and butter in a mixing bowl. Reserve one fourth of the marinade to dress the wings after cooking.

Add the wings to the mixing bowl containing the remaining marinade and toss to coat the wings completely. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the wings for at least three hours or overnight if necessary.

Prepare a grill for both direct and indirect cooking. If using a charcoal grill, move all hot coals to one side of the grill. If using gas, turn the burners on one side to high heat and the other side will be set to low heat.

Take the wings out of the marinade and grill on direct high heat, turning every three minutes. Once the wings are charred on all sides, move them to indirect heat to finish cooking. This will take about 15-20 minutes. When the wings have cooked through, the internal temperature should register 165 degrees.

Remove them from the grill and then place the reserved marinade into a small saucepan and then place the saucepan on the grill or a stovetop. Add the butter if you’d like and stir until it is fully incorporated. Toss the wings in a bowl with the warm sauce and garnish with the herbs.

Serve in the bowl or on a platter and go ahead and get another batch going because these are going to go fast.