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opposite land

Recipe: korean barbecue chicken wings

When I left my house early yesterday morning, the predominant color of my neighborhood was white. The snow has steadily deflated and melted, but it’s still there. Within 25 minutes, we were zipping through Boulder’s streets where trees dripped with the confetti of springtime: bright yellow greens, pinks, whites, purples. My head hurt because it was early and because I had gone to bed late. This always happens when I travel – it’s the “wrapping up of things the night before” and the “catching a flight the following morning” head hurting thing.

robin perched in the aspens from the last storm

cute dark-eyed junco on our deck

My noggin did the deep sleep bounce several times during my flight to the East Coast. It woke me with that heart-racing jolt – you know, the one that makes you instinctively touch the corners of your mouth to see if you were drooling in your sleep. Each time I peered out the window to find a sea of clouds stretched out beneath us, like a giant down comforter. I searched for signs of landforms, but the weather prevailed and so did sleep. On my connection to Virginia, our puddle jumper rose above the clouds for a mere three minutes before beginning the descent. Underneath the cloud deck, I marveled at how green the Tidewater area was. Green and flat. Flat such that the only shadows thrown in the setting sun were from the trees and not from the topography of the coastal plain. Dominated by the estuaries that branch into this green and flat land with a million brackish fingers. It’s the opposite of where I make my home. And yet, I was coming home.

mixed weather and sun over the tidewater

dogwood blooms in the backyard

It’s been some time since I have visited Virginia, but we have this short window to travel before The Summer of Puppy commences. Of course, Dad has planned nearly every minute of my stay with activities, meals, and wine. I expressed my doubts that it is humanly possible to consume ALL of the food he has in mind for a long weekend (he just asked me when we’re going to eat soft shell crab). That’s the problem with going back to a place you know – there’s never enough time (or waistband). But you should save some belly room for these Korean barbecue chicken wings I tried from Irvin’s beautiful food blog. They’re baked, which in my opinion is far easier to make and less messy to clean up than frying, and they taste fantastic.

rice vinegar, soy sauce, green onions, garlic, ginger, kiwis, sugar, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, black pepper, chicken wings

chop and mince

ready to make the marinade

I’ve never made wings before. I suppose that might be because I’ve never attended nor hosted a Superbowl party, opting instead to spend my day skiing. So when I went to Whole Foods in search of chicken wings, I fully expected that I would need to prep and break them down. I was surprised and delighted to learn that they had already been split, trimmed, and marketed under the name “party wings”. Party, indeed. How much easier could this get?

place marinade ingredients in a large bowl

mix them together

reserve 1/2 cup of marinade and pour the rest into a ziploc with the wings

i let the wings marinate overnight

As with many Asian recipes, the chopping and prep of the vegetables takes the most time (ten minutes, tops). Then you stir the marinade together, save out a half cup, and pour the rest into a ziploc bag with the chicken wings. The recipe suggests a marinate time of 8 hours and I let mine sit overnight – however you don’t want them to go longer than 12 hours or the proteins will start to break down due to the meat tenderizing properties of the kiwi. In other words, the chicken will turn to mush. When you’re ready, bake the wings in the oven and purée that 1/2 cup of marinade you almost forgot about in the refrigerator. That gets cooked down into a thick sauce which in turn gets tossed with your wings.

pop these in the oven to bake

blitz the reserved marinade

cook the purée until thick and dark (it takes 2-3 minutes)

fresh and hot out of the oven

gently toss the wings with the sauce

Oh man, these were good. I normally taste whatever it is I’m shooting, to make sure the recipe doesn’t suck (hey, it happens), but on this day, I ate about four before I realized I needed to save enough for the final photo. Jeremy, who typically gives chicken wings the side eye, walked into the room and declared, “That smells amazing!” I was done shooting, so I handed him the board piled with wings as I cleaned up. Every other sound out of his mouth was, “Mmmm” or “Wow”. It’s a perfect balance of sweet and savory and a little spice (you can add gochujang if you want to up the heat). These wings are delicious, simple, and not very greasy. Just don’t confuse “not very greasy” with “not messy” because they’re kinda messy. I think that’s the definition of chicken wings. Totally worth the mess!

garnish with green onions and sesame seeds

make more than you think you’ll want

Korean Barbecue Chicken Wings
[print recipe]
from Eat the Love

6 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
4 stalks green onions, sliced thin (1/4-inch)
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
3 tbsps granulated sugar
2 kiwis, peeled and cut into small dice
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsps red pepper flakes
2 lbs. chicken wings
vegetable oil

Combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, green onions, sesame seeds, sugar, kiwi, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade in the refrigerator. Place the rest of the marinade in a ziploc bag with the chicken wings. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, but not more than 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with oil (I lined mine with parchment paper and brushed oil on the paper). Bake the wings for 30 minutes. Flip the wings and bake another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place the wings in a large bowl. Purée the reserved 1/2 cup of marinade. Cook the purée for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until the sauce darkens and becomes thick. Gently toss the chicken wings with the sauce. Serve hot. Serves 4-6.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

galbi korean bbq short ribs korean barbecue pork lettuce wraps bibimbap kimchi

21 nibbles at “opposite land”

  1. Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous) says:

    Kiwi?? That’s definitely a new one for me on wings, but I could definitely see it working (wings flavored with Asian seasoning are my favorite- I will forever love the San Tung wings in SF).

  2. Thalia @ butter and brioche says:

    These chicken wings look pretty incredible and the marinade looks so flavourosme and delicious. I love that you used kiwi in it – that’s something I’ve never tried adding into a marinade before!

  3. Jane M says:

    DID you SAY PUPPY????? So excited for you! I’ve got 2 now! In poodle heaven! WEEEEE!

  4. Kristin says:

    I’m guessing The Cheese Shop isn’t on his list. I need to make your sauce and slap it on some sandwiches. It’s been too long. Like Jeremy, I am not a wing fan but, given his reaction, maybe I should try these! The robin and junco shots are gorgeous!

  5. hungry dog says:


  6. farmerpam says:

    Have a lovely visit with your parents.

  7. Ruth says:

    Amazing post as always. Really appreciate your photos—they’re so relaxing :)

  8. Melanie says:

    I, too, keyed in on PUPPY!!! I’m so excited for you!! These wings look wonderful and I’m very glad the marinade all got used. It looked so yummy, it would have been a shame to marinate and then toss the yumminess. Can’t wait to hear all about the puppy plans!!

  9. Irvin says:

    Yay! So glad you and Jeremy liked the recipe. How could you have never made wings? They are AJ’s favorite… Also THE SUMMER OF PUPPY!!! I’m so excited for you guys! I expect LOTS of pictures please…

  10. Tina Degenhardt says:

    Enjoy your stay in VA. Love the photo of dogwood. So excited about the puppy. You are very brave to stat again. Wings look great, must try. Safe travels!

  11. Chefhelen says:

    Puppy?! Puppy?!

    Do tell!

  12. Diana says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! Yummy!
    I love your photos and your puppy hint!

  13. Veronica says:

    Puppy ? I am hoping for summer of puppy pictures, please ! Can’t wait.

  14. Nekkutyttoe says:

    Thanks for a great recipe, I used this marinade to make pulled chicken and it was delicious. I added some extra vinegar at the end, after tasting it, and served the chicken with some home made pickles (ginger & cucumber) and bread rolls. Congrats on the puppy!!

  15. Zvi says:

    Hey! This looks delicious. Can I make this with chicken thighs, either bone in or boneless skinless?

  16. Lisa says:

    I like chicken wings because their meat is tender than the chicken breast. I can see myself eating several of these at times and enjoy them.

  17. jenyu says:

    Heather – Kiwi makes a great meat tenderizer in several Korean barbecue marinades :) Tastes awesome!

    Thalia – try it, you’ll like it! An alternative is to use a pear.

    Jane M – yes!

    Kristin – The Cheese Shop was on my list :)

    hungry dog – :)

    farmerpam – thank you!

    Ruth – thanks, you’re very sweet.

    Melanie – ah well, the marinade is mostly used, but the bit the chicken sits in gets ditched (I suppose you could cook it down to toss with the wings, too).

    Irvin – I know! But thanks to you, you totally tempted me with your post! :) Love you, Irvin! xoxo

    Tina – thank you! xo

    Chefhelen – she’ll be coming in May.

    Diana – thanks :)

    Veronica – yes, we are too!

    Nekkutyttoe – oooh, that sounds lovely! And thanks!

    Zvi – I can’t imagine why you couldn’t, but just make sure you marinade long enough (but not too long so that it turns to mush).

    Lisa – yes, they’re yummy!

  18. LizzieBee says:

    Kiwi!! What an interesting addition. I like citrus as a tenderiser (well, I guess that’s what it does) (orange, lemon, lime), I would never have thought of Kiwi as a tenderiser.

    Also, Gosh am I EXCITED about The Summer Of Puppy!!!!!

  19. jill says:

    It’s almost MAY! Puppy time!!!!!!

    And these do look delicious. xo, j

  20. Maggie says:

    these were dinner last night… finger licking good! :)

  21. Madhavi says:

    I have been a long time follower of your blog. Never had a recipe of your fail on me. This thanksgiving I scaled this recipe to make two bone-in turkey breast and it was one of the best tasting turkeys I’ve ever made. Thank you!

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