Believe it or not, there was a time in my life when I just didn't get the point of chicken wings. The effort-to-reward ratio just seemed off-kilter to me - too many bones, not enough meat.
And then, one day, a particularly delicious batch of wings showed me the error of my ways.
What I hadn't understood until that moment is that chicken wings aren't about the meat... they're about the delicious crispy chicken skin and, by extension, the delicious sauce said skin is smothered in. The meaty bits are just a bonus, really.
I'm still kind of a snob when it comes to my wings, though. I much prefer plump drumettes to scrawny wingettes. I hate overly gloppy or overpowering sauces. And I'll take untraditional seasonings like jerk spice, honey-turmeric or chili-lime over the basic Buffalo butter-and-hot-sauce combo pretty much any day of the week.
Which is pretty much why these Chinese-style Coca-Cola Chicken Wings are right up my alley.
My Secret Ingredient for Perfectly Juicy and Tender Wings... the Easy Way
These meaty little drumettes are tender and juicy, and coated with a lovely sticky sauce that owes its deliciousness to a rather unexpected ingredient: soda pop.
Traditionally, Coca-Cola is the beverage of choice (and it's also what I used in this case), but you can use your particular cola of choice, whether it's Pepsi, RC, or Cott.
Heck, even root beer would do, if that's more your thing. Just make sure not to use diet pop... you need good ol' fashioned tooth-rotting sugar to make the magic happen.
Can You Really Taste the Cola in This Recipe?
While you might expect a half-can of cola to make these wings sticky-sweet, they're actually not all that sweet.
The cola reduces down into a lovely sticky glaze, but the flavours that really end up shining through is the garlic, black pepper and ginger. The soda adds just enough dark caramel sweetness to balance out the saltiness of the soy.
And the cola flavour? It's so subtle that you'd be hard-pressed to guess the secret ingredient if you didn't already know what it was.
Honestly, I don't see myself going back to Buffalo sauce anytime soon.
Cola Glazed Chicken Wings
- Total Time: 4 hours 40 mins
- Yield: 4 1x
These Asian-style chicken wings get their sweet-and-savoury flavour from a surprising ingredient: a generous splash of cola! Serve up a big platter as part of your game-day spread, or add a bowl of steamed rice and some sliced cucumber for a regular dinnertime spread.
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Cola Chicken Wings:
- 2 lbs chicken drumettes
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- ¾ cup cola
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sherry
- Chopped green onion, for garnish
- Sesame seeds, for garnish
Marinate the Chicken:
- In a large zip-top plastic bag, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and pepper. Add the chicken wings to the bag, zip shut, and toss until chicken is well coated with marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight if at all possible.
Cook the Wings:
- Heat oil in a wok or large heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium-heat. Add the chicken wings and cook for 3-5 minutes per side, or until the skin is crisp and browned. Add the cola, soy sauce and sherry to the pan, and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the sauce reduces down to a thick glaze, turning the wings occasionally to make sure they cook evenly.
- Transfer the finished wings to a serving platter and garnish with a sprinkling of green onions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately, with lots of napkins to wipe up afterwards.
- Prep Time: 4 hours
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Chinese
Hi! Loving it!! I don't have sherry can I omit it??
Isabelle Boucher says
You sure can, Stella! As I mentioned in an earlier comment, the recipe works just fine without the sherry (though I'm a fan of that added something-something it adds to the finished sauce).
Can I substitude the sherry and just use grape juice instead?
Isabelle Boucher says
Grape juice is much sweeter than the sherry and won't have quite the same flavour, so I probably wouldn't use it as a substitute here. If you're concerned about alcohol, just leave it out - it won't drastically affect the end result.
I made these tonight and they were great! I don't think I gave the sauce enough time to thicken up though.
Also, I substituted the sherry for dry white wine and it worked great!
I am with Carla about licking the screen. The Chinese influence looks delicious and the recipe looks pretty easy.
I'm so trying these out this upcoming weekend. These look deliciously sticky for movie day with the family.
OMG, these were out of this world. You received 10 thumbs up from my family yesterday, the hubby and kids were upset I didn't make more. I cannot rave enough about these, they're so good that today I'm making another batch but this time we are doing 4 lbs of wings.
Dipti Joshi says
This looks very tempting, I love chicken wings and would love to try your recipe :)
cynthia | two red bowls says
LOVE these! How hilarious is it that they're an Asian dish? A grad student from China introduced these to me a few years ago -- prob the best use of Coke I've ever heard of, and the wings were SO. SO GOOD. I can't wait to try them now that I have a recipe! Thanks so much for sharing this dish!
Km Beaulieu says
Dude, seriously. I'm on my way over.
These sound incredible! I may even try this recipe on chicken breasts!!!
shannon @ a periodic table says
...aaaand you just determined what type of chicken wings i'm making for our Super Bowl party. and by "party," i should clarify that it's me using mr. table's love for football as an excuse to make party food and then consume it. Still happening. :)
Yes yes yes yes yes yes. That's all I can manage to say as I lick my screen. I love wings.
Christiane ~ Taking On Magazines says
So I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that you and wings weren't in sync at some point in your life. When it's my turn to pick a restaurant for date night, I always choose Buffalo's. I love having all the choices. And the cold beer. Beer and wings. I'm definitely going to make these though. I might even make a special trip to the store today to buy some Coke and wings (I have DC in the house, but not the regular stuff).