One of my favorite Asian dishes is bulgogi, a Korean dish that is literally translated as ‘fire meat’. Most commonly bulgogi is made with beef, and sometimes chicken. But what about chicken wings? I can’t say I’ve heard about chicken wing bulgogi before. I made them, and the results exceeded my expectations. Grilled marinated chicken wings are hard to beat, but these Korean-flavored grilled wings were nothing short of exceptional. I think they easily rival my Irresistible chicken wings on the grill.
These wings reminded me of teriyaki marinated chicken wings, but with less sweet, cleaner and more refined taste. There was a perfect balance of sweet and salty, with a little kick from red pepper flakes. I think the flavors added by roasted sesame seeds and the pear made the wings really shine.
Ideally you would want to grill your marinate chicken wings. Gas or charcoal will do just fine. I think that little char and caramelization you get from cooking over direct heat make any meat taste awesome. Wings are no exception.
If you don’t have access to a grill, I suggest you roast them in the oven at 450F on top rack for 30 minutes for best results.
Bulgogi-Style Marinated Chicken Wings
- 3 lbs chicken wings separated and wing tips discarded
- For the bulgogi marinade:
- 1/4 cup / 35 g sesame seeds
- 1 cup / 240 ml soy sauce see notes
- 1 bunch of scallions white and green parts, sliced thinly on the bias
- 1/4 cup / 50 g sugar
- 6 garlic cloves crushed
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml sesame oil
- 1/2 ripe pear grated
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
If you are starting with raw sesame seeds, you need to first toast them. In a pre-heated skillet over low heat, toast the sesame seeds for about 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until you start to smell the aroma of toasted sesame seeds.
To prepare the chicken wing marinade, combine all the ingredients in a medium size bowl and whisk until all ingredients are well combined.
Transfer the marinade to a large Ziploc bag. Add the chicken wings, close the bag and massage the wings really well to make sure they are properly covered with marinade. Expel as much air as you can, close bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight and up to 24 hours.
Preheat an outdoor grill to about 350F-400F.
Remove the marinated chicken wings from the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel.Try not to remove all of the sesame seeds, red pepper flakes and sliced scallions. They will add flavor to the wings once on the grill.
Brush the preheated grill grate with vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Cook your marinated chicken wings on the preheated grill, lid closed, for about 10-15 minutes on each side. You may want to use an instant read thermometer is not sure. The wings are ready when the temperature in the thickest parts registers at least 165F. I find that 180F internal temperature gives me the best results.
Recipe NotesIf you want to cook the chicken wings in the oven, roast them at 450F on top rack for 30 minutes for best results. Roasting at 425F convection is even better as that will give you a crispier skin.
Soy sauce - I find that low sodium soy sauce is not sufficient to give the wings enough saltiness. I recommend using regular soy. For best results, use 1/2 cup dark soy sauce and 1/2 cup light soy sauce if you have them. See my Irresistible Chicken Wings on the Grill post for more details.
Just as good: