This is all about the color, that deep dark black that can transform ordinary chicken wings into unearthly cuisine. With nerdy kids and a new Star Wars movie on the way, I have the dark side on my mind. What a great excuse to play with color!
Disclaimer: This blog is not affiliated with Disney or the Star Wars franchise… we are just humble fans.
Back to the food…
We could always throw some black dye into a straight-forward hot wing sauce, and that would work. But if you want to avoid all those chemicals and stuff, why not pull color and flavor from nutrient-dense delicious real foods?
To get really dark while adding flavor, this sauce starts with calcium-rich blackstrap molasses, and dark tamari. There is a slight bitterness in the molasses which I am not mad at. It is balanced with the sweetness of the honey, and frankly, a little heat from ginger and hot sauce and even a little bitterness are flavors that just seem to elegantly fit with the dark side. Ginger and molasses are great friends! Tomato and butter add depth. A black sauce should have depth.
The secret ingredient in this sauce, the thing that really deepens the color, giving you a a beautiful black sheen, is activated charcoal. Yep, it is hard to get blacker than charcoal. You could use squid ink, but that would alter the flavor. Activated charcoal is really easy to find in any health foods store, and is actually a beneficial product for most people. You can read all about it here on the Wellness Mama site. Be sure to check for any possible contraindications on the Wellness Mama page link… just to be as safe as possible.
Below is my son’s ginger-molasses recipe, to which he adds sriracha. But if you have a wing sauce recipe that you love, you could simply make your sauce and stir in activated charcoal for color.
These are served with orange spaghetti squash – because I could not resist buying it, and crispy potato skins.
Levi’s Ginger-Molasses Black Wing Sauce
- 4 T blackstrap molasses
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 t. ground ginger
- 6 T vinegar (apple cider or distilled work well)
- 4 T ketchup
- 4 T dark tamari
- hot sauce, to taste
- 2 T butter
- activated charcoal, start with 1 t and add more if needed
- chicken wings, about 20-24 drumettes or 10-12 whole wings
- flour, for dredging
- salt, as needed
- cooking oil, as needed
In a sauce pot, combine molasses, honey, ginger, vinegar, ketchup, tamari, and hot sauce. Bring to a simmer and melt in butter. Stir in activated charcoal. Add more if needed for color. Simmer for a few minutes and set the sauce aside so that the flavor can develop and charcoal can fully dissolve. Taste, and adjust seasonings and flavors as desired. There may be enough salt from the tamari; if not, add salt to taste.
Meanwhile, cook your chicken wings any way that you normally cook them. They can be floured and fried in a skillet on medium-high temperature until golden browned and cooked through. Or dredged in flour and baked on an oiled sheet tray in a 400° oven. This will take 30 – 45 minutes. Salt, as needed. If you like a gluten-free wing, you can use Alton Brown’s method here.
If your sauce has thickened and cooled while your wings were cooking, reheat it. Then toss wins in the sauce.