Tare sauce below (soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, chicken bones)
If you don't buy the wingettes but full chicken wings, cut off the wingtip and separate the drumstick and the wing , or the "two-bone" as my daughter calls it. If you're not really sure how to cut up wings, watch this handy dandy video.
Make the brine in a large bowl or pot, letting the sugar and salt dissolve. Add the wings and let brine in the fridge for 1-3 hours.
When you're ready to cook the wings, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Take out bowl/pot of chicken from the fridge and rinse chicken well (I mean really well -- I dump them out into a clean sink and rinse them with the faucet sprayer. Dry on paper towels and then place on a baking sheet or baking sheets if you have a lot of wings. I use Silpats, so the chicken doesn't stick to the baking sheet, but one could also use non-stick aluminum foil or teflon baking sheets. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and put on the middle rack of the oven.
Cook for 30 minutes and then flip over. The wings will start to brown in the second half of their cooking time. You can flip them occasionally, so they brown on both sides. If your oven doesn't heat evenly and you notice some wings are browning faster than others, you can rotate the baking sheet(s) as well.
2-3 chicken backs, or the bones and their immediately attendant flesh and skin reserved from butchering one chicken
1 cup sake
1 cup mirin
2 cups usukuchi
Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Cut the chicken back into 3 pieces or any other chicken you're using into smaller pieces as more surface area creates more browning which causes more flavor.
Spread the bones out into a wide 12-14 inch heatproof saute pan or skillet and put in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check on the bones after 40 minutes to make sure they are browning and not burning. You want deeply browned bones and the fond -- the fatty liquid caramelizing on the bottom of the pan -- to be very dark but not blackened (flecks of black here and there, or at the edges of the pool are fine, but charred fond is bitter and would have to be discarded). Watch as the bones color, and pull them out when they're perfectly browned.
When the bones are browned, remove the pan from the oven (with a mitt!) and put it on the stovetop. Pour a splash of sake onto the pan and put the pan over a burner and turn the heat to medium-high. Once the sake starts to bubble, scrape up the fond from the bottom of the pan.
Once the fond is free from the bottom of the pan, add the remaining sake, mirin, and soy sauce to the pan. Turn the heat to high. When the liquid comes to a boil, lower the heat so that it barely simmers. Cook for 1 hour. It will reduce somewhat, the flavors will meld, and the tare will thicken ever so slightly.
Strain the bones out and season the liquid with 5-6 turns of black pepper. The tare can be used right away or cooled and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.