Meaty, Recipes

BBQ Chicken Wings – Recipe

DSC_2730-01.jpeg

BBQ wings of joy

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.

Ingredients

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

Method

  • 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.
Standard
Ramblings..., Reviews

Grillstock Smokehouse, Walthamstow – review

 

DSC_0983

There may be some (or indeed many) that view the opening of a new American BBQ joint in London as yet another example of lazy, greedy people trying to cash in on recent food trends. Another attempt to grab a few extra quid from the ‘dude-food’ obsessed crowd of bearded 20-somethings who slavishly follow every pop-up, food van, or ‘next big thing’ bricks-and-mortar establishment. And if the new branch of Grillstock in the heart of Walthamstow (alarms begin to sound as people realise they have to travel beyond the hipster haven of Hackney) was the result of cynical, soulless, cash-laden backers trying to make a quick buck then perhaps such suspicions would be justified.

But this, my good friends, is Grillstock.

And there’s a little bit more to it than that.

Starting life as a Bristol music and food festival way back in 2010, long before pulled pork featured on almost every pub and restaurant menu, Grillstock is a loud, meaty love-letter to the massive BBQ festivals and traditions of the US. We’re talking about groups of people who all get together over a weekend and sit around their blackened smokers, occasionally testing temperature and burn rate, to produce the ultimate in low and slow cooking, drinking ice cold beers, and generally being awesome. Grillstock (the festival, which this year is taking place at three different locations) puts meat at the centre of their celebrations and, like the US, features a genuine BBQ competition where everything from chicken to brisket to ribs is judged and rewarded with a variety of prizes and awards, alongside some great music, fine beer, BBQ demos, and some excellent places to chomp on various parts of porcine anatomy. And the chilli-eating competition is alarmingly entertaining to watch.

Following the success of the festival, a little smokehouse in Bristol’s St Nicholas market opened which was quickly followed by a larger site at Clifton Triangle and the lucky locals were thus able to feast on genuine, fabulous BBQ all year round. Having visited both on several occasions I can honestly say that the meat at Grillstock in Bristol seriously rivalled anything I’d had in London and, actually, made me rather jealous in the process. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got some excellent BBQ in the capital – Miss P, Pitt Cue Co, The Joint – but we didn’t have Grillstock.

Until now.

Following the success of their first opening outside of Bristol (in the beautiful city of Bath), the owners turned their eyes toward London and, having carefully found the right site, opened their doors to the baying public on April 10th this year. I was lucky enough to get an table at the soft opening (which was by guest-list only) the day before and took a good friend along who also shares a penchant for smoked meats. This was my first proper expedition out of South London since being ill and I was personally very pleased I could just sit on a tube to the end of the line – thus saving more energy for meat.

On entering I have to say I was pretty bowled over by the place. The Clifton smokehouse is small – one large table down the middle of the room and that is it – but Grillstock E17 is spacious and filled with a huge variety of seating options. There are tables for two, a few booths, a big communal table with high stools, and a selection of customisable options for groups of anything from 5 to 10. Like Bristol (and I assume Bath too), once you’ve been seated you then order your food from the bar, collect your drink, and sit back and relax in anticipation of a huge meaty feast to come. The decor is pretty stripped back – the breeze block walls are adorned with posters from Grillstocks past and a bit of metal here and there – but the atmosphere and lighting is welcoming and hearty. It’s the kind of place that will be great on a hot summers day but also perfect to hide away and warm up in thedepths of winter. Also like Bristol, the staff are relaxed, friendly, and clearly enjoying themselves.

DSC_0982But what about the food?

Grillstock offer either a plate of one type of meat, a combo of three, a sharing platter of all four meats for two people, or the Grand Champion which is a selection so big I wouldn’t be surprised if it took more than one staff member to carry it (finish it in an hour and win a shirt and some hot sauce – maybe next time). They also do a range of burgers which includes the vast Lockjaw, consisting of two 5oz burgers, pulled pork, brisket, burnt ends, cheese, and fry-sauce which has to be seen to be believed, as well as hot dogs and a variety of sides and extras like BBQ beans and cornbread. This may make choosing your dinner rather difficult.

I’ve eaten my fair share of ribs, pulled pork, and wings in my time. Some have been good, others pretty poor. My combo platter of all three aforementioned meats at Grillstock was, quite simply, amazing. The ribs were soft and tender with a good ‘bark’ of smoked exterior that yielded to reveal perfectly cooked meat within. The wings had a nice zing and were succulent and delicious and the pulled pork was smoky, savoury, and incredibly more-ish. These marvels of smoked flesh were served with a huge fistful of fries, a well-balanced slaw, a lovely little brioche-style bun, and some house pickles which put many so-called ‘home-made’ pickles I’ve sampled in London to shame – crunchy, tangy, a bit of spice – everything a pickle should be.

DSC_0979~2

Ribs, wings, and pulled pork combo

My companion also had pulled pork but chose the smoked chicken and a slab of brisket to go with it. Brisket is a hard thing to get right – it is easy to dry out and turn into a leathery mess that needs a saw to hack through it – but the years of experience of low and slow cooking pay off here, producing a juicy, smoky, slab of wonder. The chicken was pretty special too.

Chicken, brisket, and pulled pork

Chicken, brisket, and pulled pork

All of this can be smothered in the house BBQ or hot sauces, which sit proudly on the table alongside traditional condiments like ketchup, American mustard (French’s of course!), and the classic Frank’s Hot Sauce.

And speaking of Franks – Frank Underwood would definitely come back for the ribs here, even though he has a favourite rib joint of his own.

Sorry, I may have been watching a bit too much ‘House of Cards’….

Back to Grillstock…

To go with our meats, we sampled the own-brand pale ale which was light and nicely hopped – perfect with BBQ – and were certainly tempted by the wall of bourbons and other boozy delights that shone from behind the bar. I can also recommend the Pistonhead lager or any of the Brooklyn beers they offer – all easy drinking and all perfect with the food. Or you can have cider, cocktails, iced tea, or root beer. You get the idea.

We were reluctant to leave – it was very tempting to sup on a few more beers, wait for the food to go down, and then start again but eventually we shuffled off, full and happy.

I cannot recommend Grillstock highly enough. Everything from the staff, the room, the food, the drink, the atmosphere – it’s all brilliant. And surprisingly well priced too. The combo platter (which filled me up enough so as not to need dinner) is £18 which is an absolute bargain, I have been to places where a single portion of (not so good) ribs cost more and certainly didn’t come with such a wide selection of sides. The beers were £3.80 each and you can get a Jack Daniels and Coke for £3.50! This is all good news.

So get on up to Walthamstow and try it. Or, if Bristol or Bath are nearer, head down there instead – you’ll find the same quality of food and service across the board. And once you’ve done that, buy a ticket to one of the festivals this year either in Bristol, Manchester, or London and take your experience further. Grillstock’s motto is Meat, Music, Mayhem – it could not be a more fitting description of this excellent enterprise.

Grillstock Walthamstow

198 Hoe St,

E17

www.grillstock.co.uk

Standard