Saturday, February 12, 2011

Buffalo Barbecue Wings

I love buffalo hot wings. I have even developed a taste for Bleu Cheese dressing to go with them; it balances the spicy hot goodness with cool creaminess. Yes.

But, it is a pain to have to go purchase them at restaurants when I have my own perfectly good Weber barbecue. Aren't wings made to be barbecued? Well, yes, I say.

So the quest began earlier this summer for the best buffalo sauce recipe. Google was the starting point. Wow. There are a plethora of recipes out there. How to choose?

Well, start cooking and let the best recipe win. Actually, after trying three different recipes, I concocted my own combination from the others. So, an Abell recipe now exists for buffalo barbecue wings. Below is the process I follow to make them.

First, prepare about 3 pounds of chicken wings, usually 20-25 pieces. If you buy the wings as one piece and not separated for your convenience, cut the wing tips off and split the remainder into the upper wing and lower wing. I am sure there are technical terms for each part of the wing but I don't know what they are. One part looks like a mini-drum stick. It is kind of fun getting them apart, you have to crack the joint using your hands and then cut them. Very barbaric.

Second, toss the raw wings in a large zip-lock bag with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Kosher Salt, Fresh Ground Black Pepper, and Cayenne Pepper. I just eye-ball the amounts, but probably 2 tablespoons of oil and a teaspoon each of the rest. Maybe two teaspoons of the salt. Whatever. Put the well mixed and shaken wings in the fridge.

Third, using a Weber grill, prepare it for a two-zone fire at medium heat. Don't use lighter fluid. Go buy a Weber chimney and light the coals the right way. Your taste buds will thank you. After the charcoal is ash covered, dump the chimney full of coals and push them so that they cover two-thirds of the bottom grate. Put the top grill back on and let the grill sit open for another 10–15 minutes. Scrape the grate clean.

Fourth, place your bare hand about a Coke can height above the fire. If you can hold your hand there for a slow count of six or seven, the fire is ready. Less than six and the fire is still too hot. When the fire is at the right temp, spread the wings out over the coals, being careful not to drip the oil on the coals, which will cause flare ups. If flare ups occur move the affected wings over to the cool side and close the lid. Cook the wings over direct medium heat with the lid closed as much as possible. I never time myself, going a bit by feel here, but cook the wings for a total of about 18–20 minutes. If your fire is too hot it will take less time, so watch that you don’t char your wings. Turn them once about mid-way. When you take them off, they should be a golden brown and meat won’t stick to the bone. Again, keep the lid closed as much as possible.

Fifth, during the 18–20 minutes that the wings are cooking, make the buffalo sauce. Take a stick of real unsalted butter (1/2 cup) and put it in a sauce pan on medium high to melt. Measure out a full cup of Frank’s Louisiana Hot Sauce and whisk it with the melted butter. Buy it at Target rather than Byerly’s for half the price. Then add the following ingredients, whisking them all together...

  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (a bit more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more for more heat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon course ground black pepper

Sixth, pull the wings off the grill and put them in a serving bowl. Pour the buffalo sauce over the wings, tossing them to coat.

Seventh, serve them with the best bleu cheese dressing you can find. Enjoy.

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