There are many ways to cook chicken wings, partially because they are a versatile and inexpensive option for feeding large groups of people. Nearly all cooking methods can be used for chicken wings, in part because they are relatively small cuts of meat. Some of the ways to cook chicken wings, such as grilling or deep frying, produce a very decadent treat while other ways, such as poaching or oven roasting, can produce a healthier meal. The various ways to cook chicken wings each result in a wing that has a slightly different taste, texture and role in meals.
Grilling is one of the most popular ways to cook chicken wings. The wings are usually marinated or coated in a rich sauce before being placed on the grill and could be mopped with more sauce as they cook. The resulting chicken wings have a crisp skin and moist meat on the inside. Overcooking on a grill, especially if there is no added moisture, can lead to dry wings covered in burnt skin.
Oven baking chicken wings is a convenient and common way of cooking them. This involves lining the wings up in a baking pan or on a sheet, sometimes coating them with a sauce such as an Asian stir-fry sauce, and then baking them for an hour or more. This method creates wings that are a little drier than most other methods but with crunchy skin and less fat.
Deep frying, or even shallow frying, chicken wings can create wings that are very tasty and have an interesting texture. The wings are usually coated in breadcrumbs, or can be dipped in a tempura-style batter. They are then submerged in oil and allowed to cook all the way through while the outer crust becomes crisp and golden brown. This makes very moist chicken in a short span of time but requires a good amount of oil and space.
One of the lesser used ways to cook chicken wings is to poach them in a liquid. This could be because the skin does not crisp up and becomes a soggy mess, but it is a healthy way to draw out the fat in the meat and ensure that it remains moist. The poaching liquid can be water or a mixture of stock, wine or even beer. The wings are submerged in the liquid and boiled until they are done. The meat will take on any spices or flavors in the liquid and is appropriate as a complement to salads or other dishes that need pre-cooked chicken.
Pan frying or sautéing is another convenient way to cook chicken wings. This involves putting the wings in a pan and either frying them over direct heat or cooking them along with a sauce. The wings cook quickly but have to be watched to make sure the skin does not burn before the inside has cooked. One way to prevent this is to crisp the skin in a frying pan and then allow them to finish cooking in an oven.