As a general rule, wings aren't my favorite food. Its just a lot of work to end up with such a small amount of meat. However, when my neighbors hosted a wing cook-off, I was game. I have been all about the grill lately, so I knew I wanted to grill the wings, rather than deep-fry them. I also assumed that others would bring hot wings, so I wanted to do something a little different.
This recipe is surprisingly simple, and the results are absolutely fantastic. I bought whole chicken wings, and butchered them myself, separating the drumstick from the wing, and discarding the wingtips. They are then seasoned with a simple blend of salt, pepper, and cayenne, and grilled. Cook's Illustrated uses an unusual method of grilling the wings over moderate heat first, to cook the meat and crisp the skin, then cranking up the heat to high while basting them with sauce, in order to get a nice char and glaze on them. Their recipe for pantry barbecue sauce couldn't be any simpler, and its miles better than any bottle you can buy in the store.
There was no voting or official winner for the cook-off, but Joey said he liked my wings the best. Not that he's biased :-)
Barbecued Chicken Wings
adapted from Cook's Illustrated, Summer Grilling
makes about 2 dozen wings
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 1/2 pounds of whole chicken wings
- vegetable oil for cooking grate
- 1 1/2 cups ketchup
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- salt and pepper
Prepare grill: turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-low, adjusting as needed, to maintain the temperature around 350.
Cut through the wings at the joint between the drumstick and the center wing. Cut through the joint between the wing and the wingtip, and discard the wingtip.
Combine the salt, pepper, and cayenne in a small bowl. Pat the wings dry with paper towels, and rub evenly with spice mixture.
Clean and oil the cooking grate, and place wings in the center of the grill. Cover and cook until the skin is crisp and golden, about 15-20 minutes, turning once.
Turn all burners to high, and continue to cook, flipping and brushing with sauce, until glazed and deep brown, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer wings to a platter, and brush with additional sauce before serving.