Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tailgating Recipes: How to Grill Chicken Wings




I love me some chicken wings.  Fried, baked, grilled, steamed, you name it, I love it.  The problem (or, as far as the scale is concerned, the blessing) is that there aren't any legit wing joints where I live.

Remember how I didn't grow up with any great BBQ, but now I'm surrounded by it?  Well, it's the inverse with wings.  I grew up with access to so many great wing joints, but I'm honestly not sure if I now have one within driving distance.

But that's okay, it only makes me appreciate them more.  Anyways, who says you can't make a tasty wing on the grill?  Nobody, that's who.

If you ever find yourself with a hankerin' for wings in Columbus, Ohio.  Make your way to Rooster's.  Just don't do what my father-in-law did and order the Super Killers.  The words, "Let's see what you Yankees call hot!" will live on for at least 2 more generations.  Needless to say, he found out after one bite.
So, I thought I would give it a college try and see what I could come up with.  I tried several different grilling methods, all of which worked pretty well.  My standard grilled chicken technique was good, but there was still too much fat left on the wing for my taste.  I then tried smoking them at 300-325 degrees, which gave an incredible smoky flavor, but it lacked that crispy texture that every wing should have.  It was on my third try when I finally got it.  I'll explain below.

Here's what you'll need:
  • Wings, split with the tips removed
  • Salt, Pepper, or Seasoning
  • Sauce of some kind (depending on how good your rub is, the sauce is optional)
  • A spray bottle filled with water

Preheat your grill to medium-high, but have a "cool zone" on one side of the grill.  This sounds a lot like indirect grilling, but the difference is that the hot zone here will be much hotter (about 100 degrees) than indirect grilling.

If you're using charcoal, fill up a chimney with charcoal and once it's hot'n'ready (in more than 5 minutes), distribute the coals on one half of the grill.  Wait until the coals cool down so you can hold your hand a few inches over the grates for a count of 4-5 mississippi.  If you're using gas, turn all the burners on high for 5-10 minutes.  Once everything is heated up, turn off one burner, and turn the others down to medium-high (4-5 mississippi).  

Season the wings with salt and pepper, or seasoning.  You want to build different layers of flavor, and the seasoning is one of the most important.  I decided to try Alain's Sweet and Spicy Asian Wings, courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, so mine got some Chinese Five Spice.  If you're doing a barbecue sauce, throw on your favorite BBQ rub.  Traditional buffalo sauce only needs salt and pepper, but paprika tastes great too.


Toss the wings on the hot side of the grill and spread them out.  No Touching!





Wait about 4 minutes and start checking the wings to see how quickly they're browning.  Some will brown after just 4 minutes, some will take longer.  Once they get golden brown with a bit of char, turn them over.  You will want to move the location of the ones you move first, since they are over a hot spot.  If there are wings that are browning too quickly, move them into the cool zone.


You will encounter flare-ups.  Either use your spray bottle to calm them down, or move the wings away from the flare-up.  Flare-ups char your food, and not in a tasty way.

Grill the wings for 15-18 minutes total.  Throughout this entire time, you will constantly be checking, turning, and the moving the wings to keep them from burning.  This is easily some of the most active grilling I've done in a while.

Remove the wings from grill and place them in a large bowl or tupperware container that has a lid.  


Add the sauce and toss to combine.  


At this point, you're good to go.  However, if you're using a sugary sauce that you'd like to turn into more of a glaze, dump the wings back on the grill for 1-4 minutes, depending on the sauce.  BE CAREFUL!  Those perfectly browned wings can turn black in seconds depending on the sugar content of the sauce and the heat of your grill.

And you're in business!  You can eat them out of the bowl, but your wife will tell you to put them on a plate with a garnish...


Alain's Sweet and Spicy Asian Wings were fantastic.  They are definitely worth trying if you're up for it.  Don't skimp on the Chinese Five Spice, though, it adds a whole new world of flavor.

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to try these wings. I baked some a few weeks ago but I didn't get them to crisp up very well. Love the Arrested Development video!!!

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