It’s Crunch Time

Appears in the August 2022 issue.

By Peter Gianopulos

The sad secret about chicken wings? They travel about as well as a cranky toddler on a cross-country flight. Fresh out of the fryer, they’ll give you snap, crackle, and pop. Sealed up in to-go packages, they become saggy shadows of their former selves. 

A notable exception? The Korean-style wings from Dak Dak, which opened in 2021. Chef Joey Cornell’s creations were painstakingly engineered to retain a blistering postcommute crunch.

Working in his home kitchen, Cornell channeled the spirit of Alan Turing. So many combinations, so little time. Different brines. Different batters. Different fry times. Thankfully, he had a system: Always four wings at a time, each batch lowered into a four-quart fryer. 

There were setbacks. Disappointments. Then glory. His winning combo? A wet dry brine spiked with ginger, garlic, and lemon. A 50-50 blend of all-purpose flour and tapioca starch. Followed by a double dip in the fryer. 

“Their texture is fluffy yet crackly,” Cornell says. “They blister, but their skin remains wispy and light.” Enjoy them bone-in or bone-out, straight up or slathered in one of four sauces. Each to-go order comes in specially ventilated paper boxes designed to preserve their kettle-crunch crispiness.  

Photos courtesy of Dak Dak