Saturday, September 4, 2010

Forget Buffalo Wings, Try My Applewood Smoked Wings

Everyone loves chicken wings, I love chicken wings, but health food they are not. They are basically a good excuse to eat crispy delicious chicken skin with a little bit of chicken hiding underneath. But, if you like to eat your wings almost anywhere outside of your own home - i.e. sports-bar, pub, fast-food joint, restaurant - you have taken them from "High-Fat Treat" to "Can you just give me my angioplasty with the bill?".

Commercial establishments do three things to chicken wings that the home-cook most likely does not: 1. They deep-fry them in some kind of fat - doesn't really matter what kind because it's probably been re-heated so many times that it is full of free-radicals. 2. After frying them, they probably toss them in a sauce whose two main ingredients are margarine and high-fructose corn syrup. 3. They serve them to you with a side of dip, blue cheese or ranch, that is nothing but mayonnaise.

I say, take back the chicken wing! They are relatively inexpensive to buy and not hard to prepare. Make them as a treat for you, your friends and your family. Here is my recipe for Applewood Smoked Chicken Wings. It's a little time consuming but the result is totally worth it.

Elise's Applewood Smoked Chicken Wings

The spice rub below is pretty basic. Feel free to adapt it to your own tastes but don't leave out the sugar all together - it helps to caramelize and crisp the skin on the wings, and don't make it too spicy or it will mask the smoke flavour.


3 c Applewood Chips (other wood options are Hickory, Oak, Maple or Mesquite)

1/4 c Granulated Sugar
1 tbsp Cumin
1 tbsp Sweet Spanish Smoked Paprika
1 tbsp Garlic Powder
1 tbsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 lbs Chicken Wings, split & wing-tips removed


1. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, kosher salt, black pepper and cayenne to make wing rub.
2. In a large bowl, place chicken wings. Sprinkle half the rub over wings and toss well to combine. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
3. One hour before you are ready to start barbecuing, place wood chips in a large bowl and cover with water. Set aside and let soak.
4. While wood chips soak, remove wings from refrigerator and sprinkle over remaining spice rub, tossing to coat.
5. Preheat one side of your BBQ to LOW (250 F) and leave the other side OFF.
6. Place a generous handful of soaked wood chips directly on heated side of grill. Place chicken wings, right side up, in neat rows on cold side of grill. Close grill.
7. Every 20 minutes, check on wings and sprinkle wood chips with a little water to promote smoke. Every hour, add another handful of soaked wood chips to grill. Don't let temp. go above 250 degrees F. After approximately 3 hours your wings are done.
8. Transfer wings from grill to platter and serve.

Serves 4

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