Mmmm, wings. My personal favourite BBQ side dish and a wonderfully simple addition to any serious grill-based cook-up. Some might argue that they are fiddly and end up either dry and miserable, or woefully undercooked and instantly bin-able but I beg to differ – all you need is a bit of patience, a decent rub and BBQ sauce, and a decent BBQ. If you are lucky enough to have a proper smoker then hurrah, but anyone with a standard kettle BBQ can do this recipe with very little fuss and as the wings only take a fraction of the time of, say, spare ribs or pulled rub, they can be added to form part of a bigger meaty feast. It’s better to joint the wings up as they will cook more evenly (you can get a butcher to this for you but it’s pretty easy) and a remote BBQ thermometer is a veritable boon. You can do this in an oven and then finish the wings on the grill but you will lose out on the delicate smoky flavour that runs through the meat. It’s up to you…
Oh, you’ll end up with a lot more of the rub than you need but it will keep in an airtight container for a couple of weeks. And of course if required the recipe can be scaled up or down as required.
For the rub
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 tbsp. smoked paprika or ground chipotle
- 1 tbsp. sea salt
- 1 tbsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- ½ tbsp. chili powder (as hot as you prefer)
- ½ tbsp. ground coriander
- ½ tbsp. granulated onion
- ½ tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp mustard powder
For the wings
- 10 chicken wings, jointed and tips removed
- BBQ/hot sauce of your choice
- Set your BBQ up for indirect cooking – charcoal on one side, drip tray with water on the other. Light the BBQ and give the charcoal a chance to get up to temperature – once the flames are gone and the coals are turning white then you are good to go. If you have a chimney starter this part of the process is infinitely quicker but if you going old school, it should take about 30-40mins depending on the charcoal. Don’t use cheap fuel – it’ll make everything taste horrible.
- While the BBQ is getting up to temperature, mix all the rub ingredients together in a bowl then rub generously into your jointed chicken wings.
- Once your charcoal is ready to go, put a few good chunks of wood on to smoulder (I generally use oak), replace the grill and arrange the wings over the drip tray – a bit space between each one is good. If you are using a remote thermometer, put it into the fattest part of the biggest wing you have.
- Put the lid down and leave to smoke and smoulder for about 1 ½ – 2 hours. You will probably need to refresh the charcoal after an hour although top-end briquettes (like Weber) will be good for up to 3.
- Once the internal temperature of the meat is 74c/165f – this is where the remote monitor is useful – then brush the wings with a sauce of your choice and move them over to the charcoal side of the grill to char a bit, turning once or twice depending on how fast they colour.
- Serve immediately with any other delicious meats and sides you are preparing, or just pile into a bowl and scoff them all yourself – dip optional.