Fish-Sauce-Caramel Grilled Chicken Wings

Marcus Nilsson

Marcus Nilsson

6 to 8 servings

45 minutes

Fish sauce caramel is so delicious that it would be practically criminal to not slather it on a grilled chicken wing (or any other meat, seafood, tofu, or vegetable you feel like cooking on the grill). Keep a close eye on things; the sauce can burn quickly (it’s caramel, after all).


3 pounds chicken wings
Neutral oil
½ cup fish sauce
½ cup sugar
2 whole fresh, red hot chilies
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste


1. Cut 3 pounds of chicken wings into 3 sections; save the wing tips for stock. Toss the wings with a little neutral oil to keep them from sticking.

2. Heat a charcoal or gas grill; the fire should be moderately hot and the rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat. Leave one side of the grill cooler for indirect cooking.

3. Put the wings on the cool side of the grill. Cover the grill, and cook, checking and turning once or twice, until most of the fat has been rendered and the wings are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

4. While the wings cook, combine 1/2 cup fish sauce, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 whole fresh, hot red chilies (like Thai), 2 tablespoons minced garlic and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Whisk to incorporate the sugar. Put the sauce in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until it thickens into a thin syrup (essentially a fish-sauce caramel).

5. When the wings are cooked, move them to the hot part of the grill and cook, uncovered, turning as necessary and basting with the caramel until they’re nicely browned on both sides.

Recipe from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix