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Smoking Wings on the BBQ

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By Chef Peter Webster of Bouquet Garni Catering

I am not a big fan of Buffalo wings. I like spicy food but any Buffalo wings I have tasted are just too overpowering with red hot sauce. The rest of my family won’t touch anything with a bone in it. It is just too unladylike!

My buddy, Don Urquhart, brought over some wings for me to try. His Buffalo wings were the talk of his kingdom. He was always being asked to bring them wherever he went. His wings are very good but not being a big fan I thought I might try something a little different using some of my own expertise on the BBQ.

Smoking wings on the BBQ involves indirect heat, wood chunks and chips, a dry rub for the chicken and a glaze to finish. Of course, with any smoking project, the most important ingredient is time. You can not rush a good smoking!

I used Mesquite wood chunks and maple wood chips for this smoking. I wrapped them up in a double layer of tinfoil and poked air holes all around for the smoke to escape. I set the BBQ up for indirect heating, meaning the foil pack of wood would be set over the hot burner and the wings would be smoked on the other side of the BBQ over a cold burner. The maximum temperature for the smoking was 250ºF.

I washed the wings and dried them with a paper towel. I used a spice rub consisting of black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and seasoned salt. All ingredients were of the same measure except the pepper which was twice the amount. The wings were liberally sprinkled with the rub and tossed in a bowl to coat.

Once the BBQ came to 250ºF and the smoke was evident, I laid the wings out over the grill and closed the lid to wait. I smoked the first side for 30 minutes. I opened the BBQ and flipped the wings and smoked the other side for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile I made the glaze, which took about 5 minutes. It was 1 cup honey, 3/4 cup BBQ sauce and a splash of Jack Daniels (you could use apple juice) and stirred it up. Simple and easy.

Once the second side was smoked, I turned on the second burner under the wings. When the temperature reached 350ºF, I flipped the wings and brushed the glaze over the wings. With the lid open, I finished cooking the wings, glazing as necessary until they were nicely caramelized. About another 20 minutes.

I asked Don to try them and he said they were ok. But he did eat a rather large plateful. My family? Don’t ask!

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