Sous Vide Triple Threat Wings, Smokafried!

Chicken wings are as popular as ever. There are entire restaurant chains devoted to their status as the premier pub "snack."

sous vide wings


Chicken wings, 30 pieces.
Egg whites, 2 each. Reserve yolks for sous vide Hollandaise!
salt and pepper, as needed.–approximately 1 Tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Flour, 1/4 cup/30 g.
Smoked paprika as needed.

Crispy Biscuit breading:

Combine in Kitchenaid type mixer (or by hand) until the consistency of coarse cornmeal:

Flour, 2 cups/240 g.
Shortening, 1/3 cup/80 g.
Baking powder, 1 Tablespoon/15 ml.
Salt, 2 teaspoons/10 g.
Powdered milk, 1 oz./30 g.

Pastrami coating:

Pepper, coarse ground, 1 Tablespoon.
Oregano, 1 Tablespoon.
Coriander seeds, whole, 1 Tablespoon.
Mustard seeds, whole, 1 Tablespoon.
Fennel seeds, whole, 1 Tablespoon.
Garlic, dried, 1 Tablespoon.
Ginger, 1 teaspoon.
Chiles, crushed, 1 teaspoon.
Nutmeg, ground, 1 teaspoon.

Equipment requirements
Immersion circulator, portable or stationary.
Heat rated container, minimum of 2 gallons/8 liters.
Heat rated sous vide bags, 2 each.
Flour shaker or fine meshed strainer.
Flat bottomed skillet, approximately 12″/30 cm. and 3″/90 mm deep.
Kitchenaid type mixer.
Hot smoker.
Kitchen tongs, metal.
Infrared or probe thermometer.

Serves 6-8
Level of difficulty 3

All three recipes start the same way:


Seal the wings in single layers in vacuum bags or Ziploc Freezer Bags. Process sous vide at
135 F/57 C for 4 hours.

After sous vide processing, cold shock the wings in iced tap water until they achieve 70 F/21 C. Refrigerate at 40 F/4 C.

Remove the wings from the packaging. In a large bowl, toss the wings with the salt and pepper. Add the egg whites and toss again. Add the flour and toss again. This should give you a very sticky film on the chicken wings. They should be moist and sticky. Be it simple or complex, this preliminary treatment can be applied in literally hundreds of applications. It is specifically designed to firmly attach seasonings/coatings/breadings while having little or no recognizability on its own.

Crispy Biscuit Wings

Cover a sheet pan with parchment and spread out the crispy biscuit breading on it. Lay one third of the wings on the breading so they are not touching.

Carefully flip them over, or shake the pan back and forth if you have room. I like to use a fork, to avoid clumping on my fingers. After flipping them all, lay a piece of parchment on top and press lightly to attach the breading. Let this rest for 15 minutes.

Remove the wings to another sheet pan with a screen.

Again, handle carefully so the breading doesn’t come off on your hands. Make sure they are covered with the breading; patch with crumb mix if necessary. Remove and save all of the biscuit breading except for one cup, which you leave on the parchment.

Pastrami Wings

Lay another third of the wings out on the parchment and sprinkle just enough pastrami mix to coat on both sides. The remaining biscuit mix will merge with the seasoning; this is by design. Move the wings around until they are well coated, and then remove to the sheet pan with the screen. There should be a little pastrami mix left on the parchment when you’re done, that’s fine. No need to remove it.

Paprika Wings

Lay out the last third of the wings on the parchment and sprinkle paprika on both sides. Toss well. That’s all there is to it! Remove to the screen. Let everything rest for a few minutes, including yourself!


Now that you have all your wings on the screen you can put them in the smoker. If you don’t have a smoker, an oven works great for these too! I use a pellet grill which allows you to set the precise temperature. Other smokers may require more observation and adjustment. I use:
350 F/176 C for 2 hours+

Do not open the smoker for at least the first hour. This can really slow down the cooking and browning process. The temperature would have to be a LOT hotter than 350 F/176 C for the wings to burn in one hour. At 450 F/232 C, it will still take at least one hour.

These are the results after almost three hours. I wanted to explore the outer margin to demonstrate the resilience of the processed chicken. The flavor is extremely concentrated and the wings are extra crispy, but still tender and moist.

Even though the wings were “safe” before they ever went into the smoker, many people like their wings extra extra extra done, crispy, and dark. It’s not a safety concern, as much as a style statement. And it’s true. They are absolutely fantastic with a nice cold beer.


The Crispy Biscuit

The Pastrami

The Paprika

One of the other great things about wings is that they require very little presentation. Some blue cheese dressing and celery sticks are familiar companions, but the wings don’t usually last long enough for people to notice whether or not there was a bed of lettuce.

I decided to experiment a little, so I lowered my expectations. The resulting dish turned out to be fun and well imagined. I had some Crispy Green Beans , I made some Beurre Monte, cooked some Spaghetti frantumati (broken spaghett’), and tossed it all together to make this:

sous vide wings
Experimenting is fun, as long as you don’t expect anyone else to share your enthusiasm. This particular dish could be a show stopper.

“Don’t call them leftovers”

In the unlikely event that all of your wings aren’t eaten the day you make them, they are safe as long as they are properly cooled after cooking and refrigerated overnight. They still benefit from the sous vide processing and your careful handling so far. This is why we always stress the importance of temperature management.

I saved some Crispy Biscuit Wings from the day before, and deep fried them in paprika stained oil. The spicy vinegar sauce pictured is a common accompaniment. Here are the results.

Just looking at these makes me thirsty, but in a GOOD way!

Norm King



Crispy Biscuit Wings and Pastrami wings are not new, but are not frequently seen on contemporary menus.

Paprika wings provide simplicity and familiarity to the less adventurous among our party guests. The flavors of all three varieties are surprisingly complex, while the texture is inalterably familiar.

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