Great Recipe for a Snack – Pig Wings
Pig Wings, also known as “pork wings,” or “grilled pig snacks” are an amazing idea for when you want grilled snacks that are different, innovative and delicious. Pig wings are different than other snacks because they are fun to eat and are a conversation starter on their own.
Moreover, they are perfect for meat lovers, as well as for people on high protein, low carbohydrate diets. Most importantly, they are delicious. Check out how you can handcraft your very own meaty, tender, and delicious pork wings.
What are Pig Wings/Pork Wings?
Pig wings, also known as pork wings, are portions of ham shank that are cut and trimmed to look like the traditional buffalo chicken wings you get at the sports bar.
You can cook pork wings however you want: deep fried, baked, pan fried, or smoked. However, the smoking method brings out the best flavor and consistency.
Since pork wings are part of the pork shank, they are meaty and tender. When they are cut the right way, pork wings hold about 1 to 3 ounces of meat in bone-in pieces that are eaten exactly like their chicken counterparts. They can also be slathered with BBQ sauce, dipped in blue cheese, or paired with any of your favorite sauces.
Where do Pig Wings Come From?
The creation of the pork wing is credited to Bob File, the president of a company called Pioneer Meats, based out of Vandalia, Michigan. In a statement to Bloomberg, File stated that around 6 million pounds of pig wings are sold each year. File also pointed out that the sales of this product may not be as lucrative as chicken wing sales, but that the popularity of pig wings is increasing, and the sales could “double” next year.
While they have not yet caught the entirety of the mainstream market, you can get pork wings from your local grocery store’s butcher, with an average cost of $.75 per wing.
Preparing to Cook Pork Wings
Pig wings are essentially pork shanks that are trimmed to a smaller size, to look like chicken wings.
An average pig wing can hold up to 3 ounces of meat. Some may look like chicken wings, while others may look like chicken legs. There are some that are trimmed to look almost as long as ribs. The whole point is to keep 1-3 ounces of meat with the bone sticking across of it. Therefore, if you want to cut your own pork wings, just get a pork shank and cut the meat from the fibula part of the pig until you get the desired shape.
Season your pork wings the way you would any other cut of meat. Our favorite choices are adobo, seasoned salt, garlic salt, and even an up and coming seasoning called “chicken salt” which is becoming very popular these days.
Marinating is probably one of the best choices because, just like with chicken wings, pork has the porosity needed to absorb liquid marinades. The texture of the meat also makes it great to keep rubs on the meat without the seasoning falling off.
Cutting Up the Pork Wings
Whether you cut the pork wings yourself, or get them frozen, the first step is to be sure that the wings are thawed and ready to cook. Cooking pork wings, in theory, follows the same process as cooking chicken wings: You want to fully cook the meat, and then get that crispy skin that makes eating wings so much fun.
The Step-by-Step Guide to Pig Wings
Here are the different ways that you can cook pork wings. The benefit of cooking pork is that the meat is versatile enough to be cooked in a variety of ways, and that each way of cooking always seems to work out well.
Baked pork wings: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pork wings cook at that temperature for about 50 minutes, or until the inner temperature of the pork wing reaches 145 degrees using a digital thermometer. Be sure to cook both sides of the wings so that they acquire the toasty surface that makes the skin a bit crunchy.
Deep fried pork wings: In a deep fryer, or deep saucepan, get vegetable oil to 350 degrees. Carefully (mind the hot oil splattering) lower the pig wings one at a time. Leave the wings frying for about 2 minutes each, turning them on each side after one minute. Note: Never throw frozen wings into hot oil without proper protection
Air-Fried pork wings: Place your pork wings in the Air Fryer basket. Choose the “chicken” option, and let them cook automatically. Normally, this option runs at 370 degrees, for about 10 minutes. If the machine does not have those automatic settings, set them up manually.
Smoked pork wings: Set the smoker to 275 degrees. You want low temperature and indirect heat to make the most out of taste and texture. You can cook pork wings for half an hour or longer. Be on the lookout to ensure that they are not overcooking.
Always be sure to flip the wings so both ends get heat exposure. The internal temperature for pork is 140-145 degrees. Take a wing out to check whether they are cooking properly.
Side Dishes to Complete Your Dining Experience
Some restaurants serve pork wings as an appetizer, and they set them up the way chicken wings baskets are set up: with a side of celery, carrots, and dip. This means that you may never see pork wings offered as an entree.
When served as snacks, pork ribs go well with any other popular party food served as part of a big spread:
- veggie tray
- crunchy fruit
- bread rolls
Pork wings that are served simply as snacks go better with other fun things to eat that are either crunchy or not too overpowering to the taste buds.
If you decide to serve pork wings as a main dish, think “pork chops” and “ribs” when planning to pair your wings with other foods. This means that you can pair the wings with similar foods as you would pair pork chops and ribs:
- mac and cheese
- mashed potatoes, cauliflower, or sweet potato
- baked potatoes
- white or yellow rice
- roasted vegetables
- flash-fried leafy greens, such as collard greens
- grilled vegetables
- roasted potatoes or fried potatoes
What you want is to choose a side dish that is not too powerful in flavor. This way, the pork and its seasonings will take center stage, letting you appreciate the flavor of the meat and the soft tenderness of its texture.
As far as drinks go, also think of drinks that are commonly paired with pork. Pork is considered “white” meat, so think about acidic, crisp, and fruity flavors that will cleanse the palate.
- beer (lager, Belgium, German)
- white wine
- sparkling wine
- rose wine and rose sparkling wine
- hard lemonade
- regular lemonade
- regular and diet soft drinks
Pork wings are a delicious alternative to chicken wings. Cut from the shank of the pork, they are meaty, juicy, versatile, and fun to eat. Seasoning pork wings is easy, because the texture of the meat holds any flavor like a champ. Most importantly, the wings are excellent for cooking in just about any medium. The meat cooks super easily, and it is very hard to make common mistakes when it comes to cooking pork.
Have you tried pork wings at your local pub? Can you get them from a local supermarket? What are your favorite ways of cooking them? Sound off in our comment sections and share your experience with us!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a pig wing?
Pig wings are a fun play on a pork shank, which is cut to look like a chicken wing. The meat is cut from the pig leg, somewhere between the knee and the ankle. Unlike chicken wing flats, which have two bones inside, the pig wing is similar to the drumette because it has one bone inside. The meat is very lean, so you want to cook it following the procedure outlined above to keep in from becoming tough as you cook it.
Is it easy to buy pig wings?
Depending on where you live, you may or may not be able to find pig wings in stock at your local grocery store. Most butchers can special order the cut for you, or they can trim the pork shanks specifically for use as a pig wing. Special orders can take time, so be sure to order your pig wings well in advance of when you actually plan to serve them.
What’s the best way to cook pork wings?
These tasty wing snacks are cooked over low-and-slow heat. If you cook them at temperatures above 300 degrees F, the meat can become tough because of the lack of fat on the cut. We like cooking pork wings on a smoker at 250 to 275 degrees F for about 90 minutes, resulting in a wing that’s so tender, the meat may fall off the bone!
How do you know when pork wings are finished cooking?
You don’t really need a thermometer to know when pork wings are finished because it will be pretty obvious. Like with ribs, the meat should be so tender it can practically fall off the bone. You also know a pork wing is finished when the outside is a dark golden brown color. It’s almost impossible to overcook a pork wing if you’re cooking it at low-and-slow temperatures, so don’t worry about it too much!
How do you eat pork wings?
Pork wings are the ultimate hand-held snack, which is why some people call them grilled pig snacks! The meat is contained on a single bone, just like a chicken wing or a smoked turkey drumstick. The best way to eat them is to get right in with your hands: grab onto the bone and eat them with your teeth. No fork and knife required. Just make sure to have plenty of napkins, because like regular wings, things can get messy!