Duck Wing Cravings

Florence Fabricant is all about duck wings! In today’s New York Times she dishes about her obsession, and shares tips from our friend Chef Justin Smillie, who has perfected the duck wing at Upland in NYC (yes, those are D’Artagnan duck wings).

With chicken, I covet the wings. With duck, not really; they tend to be sinewy and dry, without chicken’s succulence — or so I thought.

Then I ordered the duck wings at Upland in the Kips Bay neighborhood in Manhattan and instantly became a duck wing disciple.

The fried wings from that first encounter a little over two years ago, made by the chef Justin Smillie, combined crisp skin, rich meat and gamy flavor emboldened by Asian seasonings.

– Florence Fabricant

That sounds perfect to us. Feast your eyes on the glorious duck wings as served at Upland. Looks like something you want to try, doesn’t it?

Duck Wings NYT Emon Hassan
The duck wings at Upland, photo Emon Hasson, The New York Times

While we don’t sell duck wings at  – they are available to our chef clients only – the adventurous home cook can call 800-327-8246 and special order them (off the menu, as it were).  Our customer service department will be happy to help make your duck wing dreams come true.

Preparation is key, so read on for Chef Smillie’s technique, and Florence Fabricant’s experiences making duck wings at home.

It’s a three-step project, mostly unattended.

First, you cure the wings (having defrosted them if they were frozen) with a generous rub of salt, some sugar and spices. Mr. Smillie uses coriander, Aleppo pepper, fennel seeds and granulated garlic; I opted for Chinese five-spice with salt and sugar.

Leave them in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours. Then rinse and dry them and give them the confit treatment. Mr. Smillie poaches them in duck fat for three hours. I accomplished much the same by arranging them in a single layer in a large roasting pan, covering the pan with foil, and letting them bake at 225 degrees for three hours.

I then removed them from the pan and refrigerated them, first draining all excess fat back into the pan. I strained the fat and refrigerated it for future use, like frying potatoes. While the wings were still warm, I peeled off and discarded the skin, which can be rubbery when you fry or grill them at home.

At this point, they are ready for the final treatment. Or, as Mr. Smillie suggested, they can be set aside in the refrigerator or freezer to finish cooking and serve later.

“They hold up to various cooking techniques,” he said. “I fry them, but I’ve also done them on the grill and hot-roasted them.”

-Florence Fabricant

Become a Disciple of Duck Wings, bAPRIL 18, 2017, New York Times.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Rob F Collignon says:

    Delicious sounding recipe but the skin would nave makes great cracklins.

    1. D'Artagnan says:

      Good idea! If you remove the skin, keep it for duck cracklins!

  2. Suzanne Douglass says:

    The picture that appears with this article seems to show the wings (though they look like legs to me) with the skin on. The thought of going through all that work and then taking the skin off is a bridge too far for me. For home cooking, I’ll stick with D’Artagnan’s more conventional duck cuts, although the spicing sounds like a good idea.

    1. D'Artagnan says:

      You are right, Suzanne. It looks like there is skin – and we love that stuff! Removing the skin might be something Florence Fabricant did. Chef Smillie seems to leave it on.

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