I love college football because I went to a big football university, the University of Florida, home of the Gators. I usually don’t care for professional football until recently when former UF players started showing up in Pro teams. Aaron Hernandez and Brendan Spikes both currently play for the Patriots, and of course their much more famous former team captain Tim Tebow is the quarter back for the Broncos.  For this year’s Superbowl, I wanted to make chicken wings,  a staple for Superbowl parties.

When I thought of chicken wings, the recipe from Momofuku’s cookbook came to mind immediately. It’s described by David Chang, the author (and owner of Momofuku restaurants in NYC), as the world’s longest chicken wing recipe, and man is it worth it. The wings are brined, cold smoked, confit-ed in lard, chilled overnight, reheated and seared, and finally tossed in a sauce that is made from chicken carcasses, sake, and soy sauce. You want to start this recipe at least a day beforehand, and especially since the chicken can chill in the pork fat for up to a week.

My first experience with Momofuku’s came about 3 or 4 years ago visiting one of my best friends from highschool in NYC. She had told me about this restaurant that serves the best Ramen noodle bowls in the world. Prior to this I had no inkling who David Chang is, but after the visit, I became a super fan of this man and all of his restaurants, recipes, and publications.  The noodle bowl came with braised pork belly, pulled braised pork shoulder, pickled vegetables, fresh peas, Nori, and a soft boiled egg. The broth that held it all together was one of the tastiest things I’ve ever had: salty, meaty, smoky…

I pre-ordered the Momofuku cookbook as soon as it was announced, and I tried the Ramen recipe immediately after I got the book. I did not fully understand how much time was required to make the broth, so while the individual meat and pickled vegetable and eggs tasted great, the broth was not there. Since I was going to make the Momofuku chicken wings anyways, I decided to give the ramen recipe another go.

Starting with the wings, the first thing I decided to make is the Tare, which is the sauce made out of browned chicken carcasses, Sake, and Soy sauce. The Tare is also used as the seasoning for the Ramen broth. The recipe called for roasting chicken carcasses in the oven for 40 minutes, then cooking the burnt goodness on the bottom of the pan up with sake and light soy sauce until it’s thick. You can buy chicken carcasses from Asian supermarkets for very cheap, and I think if you ask butchers in stores like Whole Foods or Central Market, they will sell you some as well. You can also toss in the wingtips from the chicken wings if you’d like. It’s also very important to use light soy sauce as regular soy sauce will be too salty. You can buy light soysauce in Asian supermarket or Japanese specialty stores, or you can probably thin it out with water. The Tare recipe in the cookbook will yield way more than you need for the chicken wing recipe, but like I said, you can use it for seasoning for the Ramen broth and almost anything else.

The photo below shows the stage where I’ve just put in the sake and light soy sauce in the browned bones and I’m scraping up the burnt bits on the bottom of the pan.

After sectioning and cleaning up the chicken wings, they are put into a brine of salt and sugar for at least an hour but no more than 6. I then smoked the chicken for 45 minutes in a 150C grill to give it a smoky flavor but not cook the wings. The wings are then submerged in lard (or you can use grapeseed oil, or any neutral tasting oil) and confit-ed in a low heat oven for 30 minutes.

Then the chicken wings need to chill overnight in the fat until you are ready to use them the next day. If using Lard, the lard will congeal and turn white, if using oil, it will stay clear and fluid in the fridge. When you are ready to use the wings, you want to heat up the container a little bit and melt the lard enough to be able to pull out the chicken. Drain the chicken wings before cooking.

The wings are seared in a hot cast iron pan, and I put another smaller cast iron pan on top to press the wings down to make sure it gets a good brown sear.

The wings will take approximately 3-4 minutes on each side to sear, once it’s a nice dark golden brown, it’s ready to be sauced.

The Tare is heated up with some garlic and pickled Thai bird chilies, and poured over the wings to cover. I let the wings simmer for a few minutes longer in the pan to get the sauce nice and thick.

The wings were smoky and tender, and the sauce sweet, salty, and finger licking good. You can find these recipes from the Momofuku cook book. There are also a lot of websites dedicated cooking all Momofuku recipes such as Momofukufor2.com that you can check out to get recipes and ideas.