Thu Jan 5, 2017
The most exciting thing about the New Year? Wing Month!
Followers of this blog know I'm a lover of wings with evidence in the 20 recipes I've amassed to date for these delectable little morsels that I deem king of the finger foods. To start each year off right, I usually dedicate the entire month of January solely to developing new wing recipes and I'm starting 2017 strong with these smoked and fried wings finished with a sriracha sauce
Part of why I love this recipe so much is it represents a new method. My wing recipes tend to be pretty formulaic—toss with salt and baking power, air dry in the fridge, grill over indirect high heat, and finish with a sauce—but these wings shook things up with a one-two punch cooking process of smoking and frying.
The reason behind my normal air drying step is to remove moisture from the skin to allow it to crisp better on the grill, but I assumed this wasn't totally necessary here because frying should technically get things crispy in the end. Still, old habits die hard and I started these wings by salting them, arranging them on a wire rack, and letting them sit overnight in the fridge. While this extra time didn't hurt, I'd wager you can skip it with no averse effects in the end.
I've shied away from smoked wings in the past primarily because the low and slow cooking method renders the skins tough and chewy, while hot and fast cooking gets them nice and crispy. Again, due to the frying, my hope was the final skin crunchiness would be ideal, but my inexperience with smoking wings led to another problem...
Over smoking. I let the wings cook at 225°F for 1 1/2 hours, and after tasting one of these beautifully mahogany wings, it was intensely smoky, almost to an unpleasant point. So my couple chunks of cherry wood was a little overkill here—one small chunk would surely suffice.
I can't take full credit for these wings, I was prompted to try the method and sauce via Billy Durney's wings at Hometown BBQ. When I perused his ingredient list, I realized that the sauce was very similar to the sriracha wings I did awhile back. So I used that recipe as a starting point and changed up the ingredients ever so slightly to be closer to those fantastic Hometown wings.
Once the sauce was done, I heated up some canola oil in my wok and went to frying the wings. With the wings already cooked and most of the much fat rendered, I was only looking to crisp the skins here, which only took a couple minutes in 375°F oil.
After all the wings had been fried, I transferred them into a large bowl, poured on the sauce, and tossed. The combination of the spice, citrus, and smoke was intoxicating and I couldn't wait to try them.
These wings ended up being like those sriracha wings times 100. The intense smokiness I had experienced previously was tempered by the frying and sauce, delivering an excellent balance with the spicy, garlicky, sweet, and bright sauce. The skins that were kind of chewy out of the smoker had gained a nice crunch, while the meat retained all of its juiciness, striking that ideal wing textural dichotomy. Now if everything else this year ends up being as great as these wings, 2017 is shaping up to be pretty awesome!
Sriracha Sauced Smoke and Fried Wings
- Prep Time:
- 15 Minutes
- Inactive Time:
- 4 Hours
- Cook Time:
- 1 Hour 30 Minutes
- Total Time:
- 5 Hours 45 Minutes
- 4-6 servings
- For the Wings
- 1 tablespoons salt
- 3 pounds chicken wings, cut into drumettes and flats
- For the Sauce
- 1/2 cup sriracha
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons lime juice plus 1/2 teaspoon lime zest from 1 lime
- 1 fist size chunk of light smoking wood, such as apple or cherry
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- For the wings: Place wings in a large bowl and sprinkle on baking powder and salt, tossing to evenly coat. Arrange wings in a single layer on wire rack set inside a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, leaving a little space between each wing. Place baking sheet with wings in refrigerator for 4 hours to overnight.
- For the Sauce: Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in sriracha, honey, soy sauce, lime juice, and lime zest until combined. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Fire up a smoker or grill to 225°F, adding chunk of smoking wood when at temperature. When the wood is ignited and producing smoke, place the wings in smoker or grill and cook until skins have turned a deep brown, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove wings to a paper towel lined tray.
- Fill a wok or large dutch oven with 2 inches of oil. Heat oil to 375°F over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry wings until skins have crisped, about two minutes. Transfer wings back paper towel lined tray.
- Transfer wings to a large bowl. Add in sauce and toss to thoroughly coat wings. Transfer to a platter, garnish with cilantro, and serve immediately.