These Korean oven-roasted barbecue chicken wings, known as tong dak or tongdak, are good for almost any occasion. They work well as an appetizer or a main dish, as a drinking snack (anju), as a casual meal or part of a picnic, and as part of a large celebratory dinner.
In fact, Korean barbecue tong dak chicken wings have grown substantially in popularity in Korea. These days, you can find them offered practically everywhere in South Korea, and the concept has been exported to the U.S. Tong dak is featured on menus from Baltimore to Chicago and San Francisco. Major South Korean restaurant chains such as Kyochon Chicken and Bonchon have opened locations in the United States, bringing their own versions of Korean barbecue chicken wings across the Pacific.
Some recipes for tong dak feature twice-fried chicken coated in flour (usually potato starch or rice flour), while others, like this one, offer healthier, baked alternatives with spices and a barbecue sauce but no starchy coating. Tong dak can refer to an entire chicken, or to chicken wings ... and it's the wings that are increasing most in popularity.
These Korean tong dak chicken wings are juicy, spicy, and sweet, and it's impossible to just eat one. When choosing your fresh chicken wings and drumettes at the store, bear in mind that smaller wings (from younger chickens) are likely to be more tender, while larger ones will have more meat and may be juicier.
The key to this Korean barbecue chicken wings recipe is cooking the wings twice—once while browning them in a pan on the stove, and again while roasting them in the oven. If you want to boost the hot factor for these wings, add some extra kochujang—just be careful not to add too much.
- 2 pounds chicken wings and drumettes
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 6 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp honey
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 small onion, minced
- 1 tbsp red pepper paste (kochujang)
- Mix all ingredients together for the sauce (everything but the chicken).
- Marinate chicken for at least an hour in the sauce (a few hours is better).
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a heated pan on the stove, brown the chicken on all sides, reserving the marinade for later.
- Transfer chicken wings and drumsticks to a shallow roasting pan, pouring sauce over pieces.
- Put chicken into preheated oven.
- Turn once during cooking, covering with more sauce if needed.
- Cook chicken for a total of 40-50 minutes in the oven.