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How Do I Cook Duck Wings?

A frying pan, which can be used to cook duck wings.
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  • Written By: Lee Johnson
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2014
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Duck wings can be cooked in a variety of different ways, but shallow frying, oven roasting, and boiling in a stock are the most popular methods. Generally, chefs will marinate the wings before cooking them, and often cook the wings in a sauce or with a seasoning rub. Most of the methods for cooking duck wings aim to make the meat more tender, because unlike chickens, ducks fly a long way and therefore have firm wing muscles. Cooking the wings for a long time in the oven, or precooking them in stock and then oven roasting to finish are the most effective methods.

The most common method of cooking duck wings is to simply roast them in the oven. Many chefs suggest baking them in the oven at 330 degrees Fahrenheit (165 Celsius) for 40 minutes to an hour, and then turning the oven down and cooking for a further three hours at 270 Fahrenheit (132 Celsius). This essentially slow-cooks the wings, which is more likely to produce tender meat than a quicker cooking time. Some chefs do suggest cooking the wings for around an hour and then serving, but this is likely to produce tough meat.

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Many recipes for suggest shallow-frying the wings in olive oil until they are golden. Generally, the wings will be cleaned and salted by the chef before being added to the frying pan. Once the wings have a golden coating, they are added to a stock and allowed to cook in it for around 15 minutes before serving. Whilst the wings could be shallow-fried until they are ready to serve, cooking them in stock helps to make the meat tenderer.

Using duck stock to cook the duck wings is a popular method and provides arguably the tenderest result. Most recipes suggest using a duck stock with some bay leaves for the main part of the cooking, and then adding other spices such as paprika and chili paste later. Chefs should let the wings simmer in the stock for between 90 minutes and four hours. The meat can still be cooked in the oven, submerged in the stock at 330 Fahrenheit (165 Celsius) for the entire time. Essentially, the wings are finished when the chef can pull the meat off the bone with little effort.

After cooking in stock, some recipes suggest baking the wings to crisp the skins. This could be done equally well under a grill or on a barbecue, if the chef wishes. The simmering stock the duck wings were cooked in is discarded, and then the chef makes a marinade from hot sauce, paprika, olive oil, and chili paste. The duck wings are marinated in this mixture for at least an hour before being cooked in the oven for a final 40 minutes, or until crispy.

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Four hours! Never again!

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