SMOKED CHICKEN WINGS: Fall Off the Bone, Burst in your Mouth Flavor

I love a good barbecue. Now, I understand a discussion of barbecue methods and traditions can spark debates as hot as a bowl of jalapenos, but I don’t really care about that. I eat what’s set before me, and if I find it tasty, then that’s that. That being said, I love these smoky and spicy BBQ wings. It’s an example of how a good rub and a good smoke can produce good eats.

These smoked chicken wings prove you don’t need fancy rubs or a fancy smoker to produce great chicken wings. More often than not, the simple things are the best. The rub on these wings is pretty straightforward, and the application is light to keep the chicken from being overwhelmed. For all their simplicity, these chicken wings are finger-licking good. The recipe is from Josh of I Am Josh Brown.

Ingredients

For the rub:
1/4 cup Paprika
1/8 cup Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1-2 tablespoons Garlic Powder
1-2 tablespoons Onion Powder
1 tablespoon or more Cayenne Pepper
1/4 cup Coarse Salt
1/4 cup Brown Sugar

For the sauce:
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup frank’s hot sauce
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried ancho chile powder
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. The Rub Directions
  2. Mix all the ingredients together and sprinkle/rub onto the wings. On bigger cuts of meat I’ll apply a little French’s Yellow Mustard before rubbing it in. But on these wings I just brushed them lightly with olive oil prior to sparkling some rub on them. As you can see from the picture I didn’t go over the top with the rub. My preference with wings is to go a little lighter on the rub than I do with the big cuts of meat so that I don’t create to many competing flavors to go against the wing sauce. I like just enough that I can taste the spice under the sauce and a little bit of the brown sugar and paprika flavors.
  3. In terms of temperature and time, I took MikeG’s from the Big Green Egg forum’s advice and directions as a jumping off point. His recommendation is to set the Big Green Egg up for 325 degrees indirect cooking. If you’re new to indirect smoking on the Big Green Egg, make sure you cover your place setter with foil as it will save you tons of time cleaning up when you’re done. While MikeG recommended 325, I dropped a few degrees lower in the 300-310 range because I wanted to put mine back on after I applied the wing sauce to char them a bit and finish out the cooking (see below for more details).
  4. Cook them like this for about an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour hour and a half. At about the hour mark you should start hearing the fat drip out of the wings and sizzling down on the aluminum foil. This will last for about 10-15 minutes. When I quit hearing the fat drip I go ahead and pull them out and toss them in hot sauce. See the recipe below. Once they’re thoroughly coated in hot sauce, I return them to the Big Green Egg for about 10-15 minutes with the lid opened. If I’m feeling adventurous and want to risk burning my self, I’ll take off the place setter and cook them for these last 10-15 minutes like I would if I was on a grill just so I can get some flame on them. If I’m lazy (95% of the time) I just leave the lid opened and let the heat rise from the circulating oxygen on the Big Green Egg and this is usually enough that some flames will come up around the sides of the place setter and give them just enough char for my tastes.
  5. So let’s talk about the hot sauce. Fortunately I do remember where I got this recipe from and due to my aforementioned laziness, I simply typed in Mild Buffalo Wing Sauce Recipe and clicked on the first link. Normally I avoid Food.com recipes like the plague. But this was my first try and the recipe looked good enough and easy enough that I figured I’d give it a try. Turns out I liked it so much that I haven’t even tried anything new. I’ve made some slight modifications like adding more Frank’s and adding cayenne pepper. But for the sake of not making it confusing the recipe and directions are below. Warning, this is about as mild of a sauce as you can get. I love hot sauce and I didn’t even taste the slightest element of heat. Honestly I got more heat from my light dusting and sprinkling of the dry rub than I did from the sauce. But it’s got great flavor and the ancho chili powder sets it off. I usually double or triple what it calls for on this recipe. But my suggestion is to start with the base and make sure you like it and then play around with it until you find what works for you.
  6. The sauce only takes about 10-15 minutes to make so I start working in it once I hear the fat start to drip off the wings and onto the foil place setter.
  7. The Sauce Directions
  8. In a pan over low heat, melt the butter. You can allow it to brown slightly if you like, it’s up to you (slightly browning it gives it a nice flavor), but be careful that it doesn’t brown too much or burn.
  9. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together well.
  10. Simmer for only 3-5 minutes, whisking occasionally – if you do it for longer then the garlic powder will begin to cook and the sauce will separate a bit. Do not heat it for long. As with any non-commercial butter/hotsauce sauce, the butter *will* separate a bit, that’s normal. But it gets the worse the longer and hotter you heat it.
  11. On the ancho chile powder: ancho is pretty mild, and the main flavor point you’re looking for is smokiness. If you don’t have ancho chile powder, you shouldn’t substitute it with cayenne or regular chile powder because it won’t taste the same. Cayenne will add a lot of heat, as will regular chile powder, and there’s plenty of heat already in the Frank’s Hot Sauce. If you don’t have ancho, you can try smoked spanish paprika.

Check out the original source for this recipe with step-by-step photographs and helpful tips as well as many other delicious recipes at: I Am Josh Brown.

Photo source

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