These delicious Sweet & Spicy Korean BBQ Wings are deep-fried until crispy then glazed in a sticky, sweet, and spicy sauce that will have you licking your fingers.
The name of this dish in Korean is Dakgangjeong. If you haven’t had it before, Korean fried chicken is legendary. We have a local Korean fried chicken place nearby, but when it closed during the lockdown, I had to learn how to make it myself.
So glad I did. It’s not nearly as difficult to make this dish as it seems. There are a few tips that will help you get super crispy chicken wings, and the sauce comes together easily and with so much flavor.
I often have a hard time deciding between these chicken wings and these Baked BBQ Wings. Such a problem to have.
The Key to Super Crispy Fried Chicken
The key to making super crispy chicken wings is corn starch and a double fry. The cornstarch helps by absorbing moisture on the chicken, so the surface gets crispier. It also prevents the formation of gluten.
If you’ve ever made fried chicken and lamented that the crunchy crust doesn’t stay on the chicken, cornstarch will prevent that as well.
Double frying the chicken wings isn’t strictly necessary when using cornstarch – the exterior will be pretty crunchy after just one fry – but this is a signature element of Korean fried chicken, so we do it!
How to Make Dakgangjeong (Korean Fried Chicken)
Start by making the sauce. Just add all the sauce ingredients to a pan over medium heat until boiling. Then reduce the heat and continue simmering for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and slightly thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
These Korean BBQ Wings have so much flavor because of the layers of flavor. You start with a marinade of rice wine, garlic, ginger and salt, which the chicken wings absorb for about 30 minutes.
The next step is to coat the chicken wings with the cornstarch. It doesn’t need to be thick, just make sure each piece gets coated.
Next, add cooking oil to a large skillet. I don’t fully submerge the wings. It’s not necessary to get a nice even crispiness. I just coat the bottom with about 1/4 inch of oil. If you have a deep fryer, go ahead and use that.
For cooking oil, I generally use peanut oil, but you can use vegetable, canola, or avocado oil. It just needs to have a high smoke point, so you don’t smoke up your house in the process.
Heat the oil until it reaches 375°F. You want the oil to remain between 350 and 375°F, for the best crunch, and least amount of soaked up oil.
Add the chicken wings to the skillet, making sure they don’t touch. Overcrowding the pan will lower the temperature of the oil and make it impossible for the wings to get crispy. Cook the wings in batches to prevent overcrowding.
Cook for about 5 minutes per side, until the wings are browned. Remove the wings to a wire rack to drain.
When all of the wings have been fried, reheat the oil to 350°F. Deep fry the wings a second time until golden brown, about 30 seconds per side. Remove the wings again and place them in a large bowl.
Reheat the sauce, then pour it over the chicken and stir well until evenly coated.
Serve the wings while hot. Once the sauce has been added, the crispy exterior will begin to soften.
What to Serve with Korean BBQ Wings
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Korean Sticky BBQ Wings
For the marinade
- 1 tbsp rice wine
- 1/2 tsp garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp ginger grated
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
For the chicken wings
- 1.5 lb chicken wings
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- oil for deep frying
For the sauce
- 3 tbsp ketchup
- 3 tbsp rice wine
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp Korean chili paste
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- Mix together the rice wine, garlic, ginger and salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken wings and toss to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, add all the sauce ingredients and whisk together. Bring it to a boil. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until it thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Sprinkle the cornstarch over the chicken wings, stirring to make sure each piece gets coated.
- Add cooking oil to a large skillet to coat the bottom with ¼ inch of oil. Heat on medium-high until the oil reaches 375°F. Add the chicken wings to the skillet, making sure they don’t touch. Overcrowding the pan will lower the temperature and negatively affect the outcome. Cook the wings in batches to prevent overcrowding.
- Cook for about 5 minutes per side, until the wings are browned. Remove the wings to a wire rack to drain.
- When all of the wings have been fried, reheat the oil to 350°F. Deep fry the wings a second time until golden brown, about 30 seconds per side. Remove the wings again and place them in a large bowl.
- Reheat the sauce. Pour it over the chicken and stir well until evenly coated.
- Use a digital thermometer to make sure the temperature of the oil remains between 350-375 degrees.
- The second frying can be done in one batch (no need to worry about crowding.
- If you’re short on time, you can skip the second frying.
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