Wed Dec 29, 2010
Time is running out! I said next year I'm going to shape up my eating, but until then, it's strictly no-holds-barred. I need to show out 2010 in style with something that's juicy, fatty, flavorful and just tastes bad for you in general. New Years Eve is the zero hour, and when I think of sitting around a television, downing beers, and gorging, nothing fits the bill quite like wings.
This past summer I finally perfected getting crispy wings on the grill, but before that, I kept experimenting with different cooking methods and sauces, and these particular wings were one of my fondest memories of those days. They started out with a nice coating of a pepper heavy rub, and let sit in the fridge overnight so those flavor get deeply ingrained in the wing.
I was on the right track here to perfectly crisp wings when going for a long, indirect cook, with a wood chunk or two thrown in for good measure. The wing has enough fat to withstand the heat from the grill while still remaining incredibly juicy. Since these were only on the road to extreme crispness, they did crisp up, be lacked the crunch I was aspiring to.
Where the magic really took flight was in the sauce. After the wings were cooked to my liking, they were piled up in a foil pan and then doused in a sticky sweet and spicy sauce of honey, hot barbecue sauce, and apple juice.
They were then put back on the grill to let the sauce bake in and thicken. This created a beautiful red, shiny coating that would later make a mess of everything in their path.
Oh man, were these killer! The smokey meat, peppery rub, and a sticky sauce that started sweet and left a pleasing lingering heat made for a wing filled with layers of flavor and texture. A plate of these left my hands and entire bottom portion of my face (thank god I didn't have a beard yet when I made these) completely covered in the remnants of the sticky sauce, but this is something to be worn proudly, as a vestige of the good/bad eating of this past year and all the happiness it brought.
Super Smokers Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings
Adapted from Peace, Love, & Barbecue by Mike Mills and Amy Mills Tunnicliffe
2 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
5 pounds chicken wings, rinsed and dried
1 cup honey
1/2 cup hot barbecue sauce (or more to taste; use your favorite and the hottest sauce you can stand)
3 tablespoons apple juice
2 small chunks of apple wood
1 disposable foil pan
1. Mix together the pepper, onion powder, chili powder, garlic powder, and seasoned salt in a small bowl. Place the chicken wings in a large Ziploc bag. Pour in the dry rub and shake to coat the wings well. Marinate for at least 30 minutes (at room temperature) or as long as 24 hours (in the refrigerator).
2. Light a chimney 3/4 full of charcoal. When charcoal is fully lit and covered in gray ash, pour coals out and arrange them on either side of the charcoal grate, keeping the middle empty. Add 1 small chunk of apple wood to both piles of charcoal. When the wood is lit and producing smoke, place the wings in the middle of the grill, not over the coals, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Turn the wings and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes.
3. While the wings are cooking, mix the honey, barbecue sauce, and apple juice together in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until warmed through. Place the wings in a disposable foil pan and pour the warm sauce over the wings. Toss to coat evenly. Cover and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the glaze is finished the way you like it. Remove from the grill and serve immediately.