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James Beard Foundation Book Award-winning chef JJ Johnson is best known for cooking the food of the African diaspora. Here, he shares his sweet & spicy "island" wings recipe. They are so easy to make and Rach went nuts for them, exclaiming "ridiculous!" after devouring one. Check out JJ on Cleo TV's "Just Eats with Chef JJ" and at his "rice bowl concept" restaurant, Fieldtrip, which now has two locations in NYC.
For another recipe from JJ, check out his Fried Sweet Plantains with Hot Honey and Fire-Roasted Bell Peppers. And for more wing inspiration, check out these Korean Chicken Wings by former NY Giants running back Rashad Jennings.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan, add enough oil for deep frying and heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F. Line a sheet tray with a wire rack or paper towels and set aside.
Season the wings with salt, carefully lower into the oil and fry until golden brown, crispy and completely cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. (You might need to do this in batches to avoid overcrowding.) Adjust the heat as needed to maintain the temperature. Transfer the wings to the prepared sheet tray and let drain.
Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, mix the pineapple juice, honey, habaneros and smoked salt to taste and bring to a simmer. Reduce the liquid until syrupy, about 10 minutes, depending on the size of your cooking vessel.
Lower the heat and whisk in the butter. Add the wings and toss to combine, making sure each wing is coated in the syrup.
Sprinkle cilantro on top of the wings and serve right away.