I seriously love using slow cooker in summer. After the success of healthy beef stew, my love for slow cooker was renewed and I went through Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2 searching for recipes to try. As luck would have it, my cravings for chicken wings coincided with the weekly sale at grocery store next door. I bought 4lb of wings with no hesitation.
Unlike the original Slow Cooker Revolution, America’s Test Kitchen placed a strong emphasis on easy prep in volume 2. A majority of recipes get a bit of help from premade sauces and ready-to-use ingredients. Normally I am not a big fan of such shortcuts but I make exceptions. Sriracha and hoisin sauce are two Asian cooking pantry staples that I happily buy from stores. Coincidentally, they are key to success of slow cooker Asian-Glazed Wings (recipe is available on Eatocracy).
I ate a lot of chicken wings as a kid. Wings marinated in soy sauce and baked in oven were mainstay in my mother’s repertoire. Though never overcooked, I recall the wings were toothsome to say the least. I was captivated by the promise of tender wings from the slow and low approach of slow cooker.
As you can see from the recipe, the wings were given a dry rub and cooked for 3 to 4 hours in low heat. The process broke down cartilage and rendered out most of the fat from the wings. The texture was almost fall off the bone tender and definitely far from toothsome. However, braised wings are not exactly finger licking good. The wings sizzled and crisped under the broiler. I carefully painted a lacquer of hoisin sauce, Sriracha sauce, and rice vinegar onto the wings and they caramelized in the heat. It’s amazing how combining three pantry staples can create such an addictive flavour. The glaze was a little sweet, a little spicy, a little tart, and whole lot of caramelized goodness. With barely any work, I piled the bowls high with irresistibly burnished, sweet savoury wings.
Dinner would not be complete without a couple of sides. I made a batch of my signature kielbasa potato salad (recipe here) and smitten kitchen’s vinegar slaw with cucumber and dill (recipe here). The slaw provided a refreshing counterpoint to the wings. The potato salad was hearty and filling. Neither of them shadowed the real star of dinner. As I found out, 4lb of wings really were not THAT many wings…time for an encore!