Smoked Chicken Wings
If you have an offset smoker, even a leaky old fellow with rust spots and broken wheels, this recipe will provide one of its finest uses. Smoking chicken wings for 15 minutes or so before grilling or roasting them under thin bastings of barbecue sauce yields meat that is smoky but not aggressively so, deeply flavorful, with a marvelous crust. But you don’t need a smoker! Simply set up your grill for indirect cooking, with a fairly small fire, and use soaked wood chips to create a plume of smoke. Put the wings on the cool side of the grill, then cover it and allow the smoke to perform its magic. You’ll get wings that are pale gold, the color of chamois that you can cook into perfection over the direct heat of the fire.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 16to 20 small to medium chicken wings, tips removed (save them for stock)
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1cup barbecue sauce (see recipe)
Step 1Build a small fire in your grill, leaving one side free of coals. When coals are covered with gray ash and the temperature is medium (you can hold your hand 5 inches above the coals for 5 to 7 seconds), you are ready to cook. For a gas grill, turn one of the burners down to low or off, lower cover and heat for 15 minutes.
Step 2Place 2 or 3 handfuls of water-soaked wood chips — like apple, cherry or hickory — onto the coals. For a gas grill, place 2 or 3 handfuls of soaked wood chips onto two large pieces of aluminum foil, then fold the foil over to create a package for the wood. Pierce the top of that package a few times with a fork, then place it on top of the hottest burner on the grill.
Step 3Sprinkle the chicken wings generously with salt and pepper, then place them on the unheated side of the grill, opposite the wood chips. By this point, the chips should be starting to give off smoke. Cover the grill and allow the chicken to smoke for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 4Uncover the grill to release the smoke. At this point, you can move the chicken so it grills directly over the dying charcoal; cook the chicken over a low flame on a gas grill; roast it in a 425-degree oven; or cook it under the broiler until the chicken is crisp and cooked through, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. However you do it, baste the chicken occasionally with barbecue sauce and turn it often. Remove the chicken to a warmed platter and serve.