Chef Timon Balloo Shares His Recipe for Asian-Style Barbecue Chicken Wings
Skip the beer, he says, and pair these with a nice pét-nat
When it comes to the perfect wings, chef Timon Balloo is deviating from classic Buffalo flavors to craft a sticky sweet-and-savory recipe marrying multiple Asian influences. Born to Chinese and Trinidadian parents, the chef has culled culinary tips and tricks from around the globe, with experience working under Dominique Michou in Belgium, Miami’s Allen Susser and others. A former Eater “Chef of the Year,” Balloo’s most recent project has been to bring unique, internationally-inspired flavors to Fort Lauderdale at the Katherine — thus, this tasty wing recipe.
“We play with all types of wing recipes,” Balloo tells InsideHook, noting that “the sweet, sticky and tangy elements” give this particular take “more of an Asian-style barbecue” flair.
To make these wings, you’ll start the day before with a simple yet flavorful brine made with sugar, salt, garlic, onion and pepper. After a 24-hour infusion, the wings will have taken on a lovely depth of flavor, not to mention a load of moisture. The brined wings are then tossed in a combo of cornstarch and flour, which Balloo says is a technique that “many Asian-style breading recipes” use to help create a crisp outer crust.
“Allow the wings to sit in the mix for two to three minutes,” he suggests. “This assures a firm coating of breading.”
Once the wings are deep-fried, they get doused in a richly flavored sauce that couldn’t be simpler to make. Soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, sriracha and Chinese five-spice are combined with teriyaki glaze and cooked just until the sugar dissolves.
“Glaze is a little thicker, helping with the final consistency,” says Balloo of the slightly less common iteration of this sweet-and-savory Japanese staple made with soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Teriyaki glaze is indeed a bit tougher to come by than teriyaki sauce, unless you’re looking to purchase a massive gallon container. We found some on Amazon, but Balloo also notes that “if you can’t find it, it’s OK to sub teriyaki sauce.”
These wings are so jam-packed with flavor and the final sauce is so thick that an additional dipping sauce, according to Balloo, is totally unnecessary. On the other hand, he adds, “We are traditionalist, so we do love blue cheese or ranch.”
More important is the wine pairing. Yes, we said wine.
“Traditionally most people would do beer,” says the chef, “but honestly, we like a nice skin-contact (white wines made like red wines) or pét-nat (pétillant-naturel/natural sparkling) wine.”
Chef Timon Balloo's Sweet N' Tangy Sticky Wings
- For the wings:
- 15-20 jumbo party chicken wings, cleaned
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup corn starch
- 64 oz. vegetable oil
- Shredded cabbage and pickles (optional, for garnish)
- For the brine:
- 32 oz. water
- 4 oz. salt
- 4 oz. sugar
- 1 tsp. granulated garlic powder
- 1 tsp. granulated onion powder
- 1 tsp. black pepper, ground
- For the wing sauce:
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup teriyaki glaze
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup sriracha chili sauce
- 1 Tbsp. Chinese five-spice powder
Make the brine. Heat the water, and add the brine ingredients, stirring to dissolve. Cool and set aside.
Once cool, marinate the wings in the brine overnight for up to 24 hours.
When ready to cook, make the sauce. Heat the ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and spices (4-5 mins). Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pot until an instant-read thermometer registers 350 degrees. While the oil is heating, remove the wings from the brine and pat dry. Combine the flour and corn starch, and toss the wings in the mixture. Allow the wings to sit in the mix for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove, pat off any excess coating and carefully add to the hot oil. Cook the wings until a thermometer reads an internal temperature of 165 degrees, approximately 6 to 8 minutes depending on wing size.
Remove the wings from the oil and toss with wing sauce. Serve with desired garnish.
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