With the weather increasingly autumnal in temperament it seems the British summertime is on its last legs, but with the sun making one last determined attempt to shine this weekend I had to share this recipe for delicious BBQ wings which is everything I love most about summer eating: big flavours, messy, sociable eating just perfect for sharing with friends. Chicken wings are a deliciously inexpensive way to feed a crowd – I keep them in bags in the freezer from jointing whole quality birds for breast and legs so they’re essentially free, but most butchers will sell you free-range for a pittance, and even the divine organic ones sold online by Sheepdrove Organic Farm will only set you back about 40p a wing.
Such gloriously charred and sticky wings demand you use your hands, get smeared in sauce, gnaw bones and lick your fingers afterwards. As such this is not food for dates or strangers: share it with your loved ones in the sunshine with a drink and you’re guaranteed a good time – no one can be down or serious with food this gloriously messy.
The marinade is super-simple to make, and can be tweaked to taste and made a day in advance. You start the wings in the oven, freeing up barbecue space for other things, and this technique also ensures they’re cooked through (no one likes a pink wing!) They’re then finished off on the barbie, giving them a lovely smokey note to their charred edges – but if the sun fails to shine you could always flash them under the grill instead.
Spicy sticky orange chicken wings
Serves: 2-4 (so much depends on the size of your wings and what else you’re eating!)
800-900g chicken wings (8-10 large wings)
3 small oranges
For the marinade-sauce:
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp kecap manis (or dark soy sauce plus a little extra honey)
1 tbsp Sriracha chilli sauce*, or more to taste if you want real fire
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Squeeze the juice from two of the oranges, then mix together with all the other marinade ingredients, and toss with the chicken wings in a roasting dish large enough to take the wings in a single layer. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5/190˚C. Cut the remaining orange into six wedges, pour off all the excess marinade (don’t bin!), then add the orange wedges to the chicken and roast, uncovered, for 40 minutes, turning once halfway through. In the meantime, make sure your barbecue is getting good and hot.
Pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan, and add the butter. Heat gently, stirring to melt the butter, until it comes to the boil, and simmer for 2 minutes. Keep warm.
When the wings’ 40 minutes in the oven are up, brush them with some of the reserved marinade and transfer to the barbecue. You can grill the oranges too, if they’re not already browned. Cook the wings for around 15 minutes on a hot barbecue until they’re a little charred all over. Serve with the orange wedges, the remaining cooked sauce for dipping, and plenty of napkins!
*If you’re a big fan of dear old Sriracha you might like to take a peek here at the beautifully funny ode to Sriracha by online comic strip The Oatmeal. Teehee!