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Delicious Sticky Sesame Hoisin Chicken Wings + Giveaway

by Kristina Gill

Chicken wings are one of those foods that command my attention on a menu, and of course the description is everything. Common flavors aren’t enough to hook me because I only eat them once every few years. The most memorable wings I’ve had in the past few years were the Fish Sauce Chicken Wings from Smoking Goat in London. I can still remember the salty and sweet flavor and the shattering crunch of the wings. A++!! This week, you have the chance to make your own memories with the Sesame Hoisin Chicken Wings from Bill Kim’s (with Chandra Ram) new cookbook, Korean BBQ. The book is a small collection of recipes that are built using one or a combination of seven foundational sauces which reflect Chef Kim’s Korean-American heritage and cooking style. We chose the easy wings recipe to feature here so you could try them out this summer during World Cup, French Open, Fourth of July, or just because you want some good chicken wings!  —Kristina

For a chance to win a copy of Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces, respond in the comments section by July 3, at 5PM EST to the following question: What is your go-to BBQ food either as a host/hostess or as a guest at a BBQ potluck or what is your favorite style of chicken wings? Make us wish we were coming to your BBQ! The winner’s name will be posted in the comments section.

About Bill and Chandra: Bill Kim is an award-winning chef who got his start in the restaurant industry and honed his culinary skills at world-renowned establishments Charlie Trotter’s and Le Lan. Chef Kim would eventually partner with Chicago legend Michael Jordan and venture out on his own in 2008, bringing his imaginative Asian-inspired cuisine to his highly acclaimed Chicago restaurants Urbanbelly, bellyQ, and Belly Shack. He has been featured in Food & Wine and Bon Appetit as well as on Eater. Find Chef Bill Kim on Instagram @chefbillkim.

Chandra Ram is the editor of Plate magazine. A former cook, bartender and server, she holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University Chicago, an associate’s degree in culinary arts from The Culinary Institute of America, and has passed the certificate level of the Court of Master Sommeliers exam. She is the co-author of The Eiffel Tower Restaurant Cookbook (Chronicle). Find Chandra on Instagram @chandrasplate.

{Food photography and Bill Kim portrait: Johnny Autry. Chandra Ram portrait: Geoffrey Smith}

Image above: Bill Kim

Image above: Chandra Ram

Image above: Sesame Hoisin Chicken Wings

Sesame Hoisin Chicken Wings

I’m a big sports fan, so great tailgating food is important to me (especially if your team is dogging it with bad plays). I like to use smaller wings and/or drumettes because they are more tender than the monster-size ones you get at a lot of bars. Keep an eye on the wings while they are cooking, as they can char quickly because of the sugar in the marinade. If they start to brown too much, move them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Marinate Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Feeds: 6 people

{Note: Please factor in making the Soy Balsamic Sauce and Magic Paste in addition to the times listed above for the chicken wings.}


  • ½ cup Soy Balsamic Sauce (below)
  • ¼ cup Magic Paste (below)
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onions, white and green parts
  • 3 pounds chicken wings and drumettes
  • Korean chili flakes (optional)
  • Soy Balsamic Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, or as needed
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • Magic Paste
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup Korean chili flakes



To make the Sesame Hoisin Chicken Wings:

In a large bowl, combine the Soy Balsamic Sauce, Magic Paste, hoisin sauce, and green onions and mix well. Measure out ½ cup of the marinade and reserve for basting the wings on the grill. Place the chicken wings and drumettes in a large, shallow dish, pour the remaining marinade on top, and turn the wings and drumettes to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Heat the grill for indirect heat cooking to medium (350°F to 375°F). (If using a charcoal grill, rake the coals to one side of the charcoal grate; if using a gas grill, turn off half of the burners.)

Place the wings and drumettes on the grill grate away from the heat, close the lid, and cook for 5 minutes. Flip the wings and drumettes over, baste them with some of the reserved marinade, close the lid, and cook for another 5 minutes. Flip the wings and drumettes over two more times, moving them directly over the fire, basting, and cooking for 5 minutes on each side. Sprinkle on some Korean chili flakes, if you like things a little spicier.

Transfer the wings and drumettes to a platter and serve.


To make the Soy Balsamic Sauce

This recipe is very dear to my heart, as it was my first attempt to use ingredients that didn’t normally go together, but made sense to me. In Asian cooking, vinegar is often used to cut saltiness from soy sauce or other ingredients. For me, balsamic vinegar has the perfect mix of sweetness, acidity, and body to combine with the brown sugar and soy sauce here.

Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 cup

In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water until the cornstarch dissolves and the mixture is the consistency of heavy cream, adding more cornstarch if the mixture is too thin.

Combine the brown sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir the cornstarch mixture briefly to recombine, then stir it into the soy-vinegar mixture and simmer over low heat for about 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove from the heat, let cool completely, then refrigerate in an airtight container. This sauce will last for months without going bad.


To make the Magic Paste:

I call this Magic Paste because, for me, it’s the ideal combination of ingredients. It’s got sweet spiciness from the ginger, funkiness from the fish sauce, nuttiness from the sesame oil, and gentle heat from the Korean chili flakes. This paste is the secret to how we make kimchi every day at our restaurants.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 cup

Combine the ginger, garlic, and fennel seeds in a food processor and process until minced, periodically scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all of the ginger gets chopped. Add the fish sauce, oil, and chili flakes and process for 30 seconds.

Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months. Or freeze in standard ice-cube trays, then transfer the cubes (about 2 tablespoons each) to plastic freezer bags and freeze for up to 2 months.



Reprinted with permission from Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces, copyright © 2018 by Bill Kim with Chandra Ram. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Johnny Autry

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  • yum! my favorite thing to grill for guests: ripe summer peaches. it’s always such a surprising treat.

  • I’d love to make this and I have the ingredients on hand… but I’m a little confused!

    How much soy is in the soy balsamic sauce? I don’t see it in the ingredients list.

  • Ummm, there is no soy listed in the ingredients for the soy balsamic sauce. How much should you use?

  • I love making a potato salad for any BBQ. So easy and always a hit. My fav wings are red thai curry wings

  • Can’t wait to try these wings! My go-to dish to bring to BBQ potlucks is country style ribs in Chilean marinade with lots of chipotle peppers and red wine vinegar. So quick and so good and so portable — just hand the Ziploc bag over to the host to throw on the grill.

  • I love grilling steak and serving a taco bar, but I’m never disappointed with ribs at a BBQ!

  • I have two go-to dishes, to make sure my vegetarian friends are covered! First, grilled vegetables–I chop up squash, zucchini, mushrooms (white and portobello), red and orange peppers, broccoli, and red onion, and add a little olive oil, some lemon juice, some garlic powder, and some italian seasoning. I grill that in a grill basket.

    Meat-wise, I do a marinated flank steak—the marinade involves soy sauce, sherry, ginger, honey, garlic, red pepper, and sesame oil and it is AMAZING :)

  • Any kind of veggie with a drizzlenof olive oil, but mostly corn. I’ve even converted my hubbie.

  • Any kind of veggie with a drizzlenof olive oil, but mostly corn. I’ve even converted my hubbie. Or in winter a good steak on the fireplace.

  • I like Buffalo style chicken wings. I guess I would say New York Steak is my go-to BBQ food

  • My go-to BBQ food: slow-cooked (either in the oven or on a grill with the top pulled down) baby back pork ribs that have been marinated in apple and lemon juice and then treated with a yummy rub, served with add-your-own spicy tomato-based BBQ sauce, corn bread and cole slaw — now that’s a meal!

  • Thanks everyone for sharing your go-to BBQ food and chicken wings ideas! I wish I could make a stop at everyone’s place! Lisa, you’re the winner with your country style ribs in Chilean marinade – ready to grill straight from the container you bring with you!

    • Thank you! Really looking forward to it — there’s still lots of grilling time left this summer!