What Are Trashed Wings? A Guide to the Tastiest Chicken Wings
What Are Trashed Wings?
Trashed wings, also sometimes called dirty wings, are chicken wings that are cooked not once, but twice. Traditionally they are cooked by deep frying. This double fry method allows the wings to develop a shatteringly crispy exterior while still maintaining a moist, tender interior.
To make trashed wings, raw chicken wings are fried or smoked for just a brief time. If you are frying, you fry them for less than a minute. This partially cooks the wings and starts rendering some of the fat. The partly-fried wings are then tossed in a sauce, often a classic Buffalo wing sauce made with hot sauce and butter. Then the sauced wings go back into the hot oil for a second, longer fry.
This second fry allows the sauce to caramelize onto the exterior of the wings, forming a crisp, flavorful shell around the juicy interior. The sugars in the sauce essentially candy onto the skin of the wings, amplifying the flavor. The result is an incredibly crunchy wing with intense Buffalo flavor concentrated into every bite.
You can use the same approach with grilled or smoked wings. Cooking them partially, saucing/seasoning, then finishing with a final cook.
The History of Trashed Wings
The invention of trashed wings is credited to Bill Gianino Sr., owner of Frankie G’s Grill and Bar in suburban St. Louis, sometime around 1990. The story goes that he started experimenting with frying the wings twice to see if he could make them extra crispy. Dubbing them “trashed wings” because the oil got more use, the twice-fried wings became an instant hit.
Soon the concept spread to other restaurants in the area, a food culture hub known for popularizing now-famous dishes like St. Louis style pizza, gooey butter cake, and toasted ravioli. Now trashed wings can be found on menus across the country, especially at sports bars and wing joints.
How Trashed Wings Are Cooked
While frying is the traditional cooking method for trashed wings, they can also be prepared by grilling or smoking. For smoked trashed wings, smoke the raw wings for 30-45 minutes until partially cooked. Toss in sauce and then finish on a hot grill or in the smoker at high heat to caramelize the sauce.
How Trashed Wings Differ from Other Wings
Trashed wings differ from traditional naked wings in that extra step of double frying. Naked wings are simply seasoned and fried once until cooked through and crispy on the outside. The single fry doesn't allow sauce or seasoning to penetrate the skin in the same way the double fry does.
They also differ from breaded wings, which have a wet coat followed by a breading that creates a crunchy exterior. The breading shields the wing from the fryer oil, resulting in a crispy but slightly softer texture compared to trashed wings. Trashed wings end up shatteringly crispy since the wing makes direct contact with the hot oil twice.
Tips for Making Trashed Wings at Home - Fryer
Making trashed wings at home is easy, though it does require a deep fryer, or a Dutch oven and deep frying thermometer. Here are some tips for crispy, flavorful trashed wings every time:
- Pat the raw wings dry before frying to allow them to get extra crispy. Any moisture on the exterior will steam instead of frying.
- Don't overcrowd the wings during either fry. Cook 4-5 at a time max so the oil maintains the proper temperature.
- Allow the oil to come fully back up to temperature between batches. The wings should sizzle immediately when added.
- Toss the wings gently to evenly coat without breaking up that crispy exterior after the second fry.
Tips for Making Trashed Wings at Home – Smoker/Grill
- Combine wings, olive oil and seasonings. Toss until wings are evenly coated.
- Heat your grill to 350-375 degrees, preparing for indirect heat.
- If using a heat deflector, add that over your coals now. We prefer this method because it allows them to smoke, but not overcook.
- Place the wings on the grill and cook for 45 minutes, flipping every 15 minutes.
- While wings are in the home stretch of cooking, prepare your wing sauce. Put hot sauce and sliced butter into a bowl and microwave until butter is melted.
- Wings are done when they are cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Remove wings from grill and place into a large bowl. Cover with hot sauce and toss.
- At this point the wings are ready for serving, but if you truly want a “trashed” style, add them back on the grill for a 5-10 minutes to finish.
Sauces for Trashed Wings
While the classic version uses Buffalo sauce, trashed wings work with any sauce you love. Garlic parmesan, barbecue, sweet and sour, and mango habanero are all delicious options.
You can also season with dry rubs to add an extra zing of flavor!
What Are Trashed Wings? The Perfect Game Day App
Trashed wings have become a game day essential thanks to their crunchy exterior that provides the perfect vehicle for sticky, crispy sauce in every bite. This twice-fried preparation takes chicken wings to the next level of flavor and texture.