Recipe for BBQ Chicken Buffalo wings in a Kettle BBQ
Few snacks can compete with chicken wings as the most popular party food- whether it's the big game on TV or poker night with your friends- wings in all of their flavorful varieties are a huge hit with many. The problem is that many wing restaurants deep-fry their wings to give them that distinctive flavour and crispiness, and deep-frying wings isn't something everyone wants to do unless they want to make a mess. Not to mention, unless you have a large deep fryer, it is a slow process for a party crowd. Your favourite party food, like many types of meat, can be easily made in your kettle BBQ with your Slow ‘N Sear®, virtually mess-free (except for your fingers)!
Fresh is best, and most supermarkets sell them in that condition. Many supermarkets sell wings whole or in a combination of "drumettes" (the upper arm portion of the wing, resembling a small drumstick) and actual wing pieces (also known as "wingettes"). The indirect side of your 22” kettle grill equipped with your Slow ‘N Sear will easily hold 1.8 kilo of wings, or even 2.26 kilos if packed tightly; A 26” kettle, of course, will hold many more.
Chicken wing Preparation
Trim: Cook wings whole or cut them at the joint to make wingettes and drumettes. Toss the tidbits. They have too little meat and aren't worth the effort. Often the wing pieces could use some trimming to remove excess skin, which is easily done with kitchen shears. This isn’t mandatory, so you can skip trimming them if you wish.
Brine: Even if we're using a highly flavoured sauce, such as classic Buffalo or BBQ, the wings should be salted. A light dry brine is a quick and easy way to season the wings before cooking. Simply season with a table or Kosher salt to taste. Flip the wings over and season the other side lightly. Don't overdo it; just add what feels natural. They can be cooked right away without waiting for the dry brine to form, or you can keep them in the fridge for an hour or more if you have the time.
If you wish to wet brine them instead, start with 1 gallon (3.7ltr) of cold water and 1 cup of table salt. Soak them for no more than 30 minutes and then pat them dry.
All of that being said, wings are frequently a last-minute decision at our house, and we frequently cook them with one of several store-bought rubs that we enjoy. All of them contain salt. One of our favourites is Clucking Mad chicken rub. With a rub on the outside they're still delicious, so don't think you have to brine them. If you have the time, it's just a step that will give you a minor improvement in the end result.
We want to cook the wings hot, at 325°F (162c) or higher, as we do with most poultry. Personally, I aim for 350F - 360F (176c - 182c) with clean smoke (thin white, thin blue, or clear smoke). If the smoke smells acrid, leave the cooker at its current temperature for a few minutes until the smoke clears up. FANTASTIC wings are produced when high heat is combined with clean smoke.
With your Slow ‘N Sear, use our Hot & Fast (325°F) lighting technique. Wings will typically take about an hour to cook at this temperature, possibly up to 90 minutes if there are large pieces. This is fairly simple to accomplish with about half to two-thirds of a chimney (40-50 briquets) of hot, well-lit coals. If the weather in your area is cool, rainy, or cold, you can use the “More Longevity” section of our 325° lighting technique, which involves first adding about half a chimney of unlit coals to the Slow ‘N Sear, then adding the half chimney of well-lit coals on top of the unlit coals.
Because water is not required for a hot and fast cook, such as with chicken wings, the water reservoir can be left empty.
Place a thermometer probe at the grate and keep a 2”-3” clearance from the cold meat on all sides. Placing a leave-in probe in any of the chicken wings is unlikely to be feasible, let alone necessary. To double-check finished meat temperatures, use an instant-read thermometer.
The wings may appear to be done after 30 minutes of cooking, but they will most likely require some more time. A good digital instant-read thermometer will confirm that wings are safe at an internal temp of 165° F, but they will likely be unappealing at this temperature. Wings are often more palatable at a ‘well done' level with crispy skin and drier meat, which may be in the 180° to 190°F (82 - 87c) range, due to their high-fat level and high skin-to-meat ratio, but individual tastes will vary. A good practice, until you know exactly how you like them is to flip the wings after about 30 minutes at 325°-350°F (162 - 176c) and let them cook for another 30 minutes.
Because everyone's tastes differ, this will be a matter of personal preference. If you want to make classic Buffalo-style wings, you might want to skip the wood smoke. If you're going barbecue, you might want to use smoke. The exciting part is experimenting!
Individual preferences will vary. Some people dislike the taste of a char sear on chicken skin, and due to the high level of fat dripping when searing wings, it is very easy to char them. Cooked according to the above guidelines at 325°F or higher, your wings should develop a nice golden brown hue and crispy skin simply by convection, no sear required. If you choose to sear the wings, do so when they reach 175 – 180 F (79-82c) internal temperature to avoid overcooking. Flip every minute, and be careful because skin burns quickly.
Wings can be served with almost any sauce. Your local supermarket will most likely have dozens of sauces to choose from, some of which are specifically designed for wings. 3 of our favourite chicken wing sauces are below:
- Flaming Coals Hot BBQ Sauce (Sweet and a little bit of heat)
- Lanes BBQ Sauce - One Legged Chicken (Tangy and a little bit of heat)
- Flaming Coals Classic BBQ Sauce (Thick, tasty and sweet)
Our Simple to Follow BBQ Chicken Wings Recipe Finished with a Buffalo Sauce
- Prepare the wings as mentioned earlier
- Season the wings on both sides using Clucking Mad Chicken Seasoning. If you have time let them rest in the fridge uncovered for a few hours to dry the skin
- Set up your kettle and get it up to temp (162 - 176c)
- Cook your wings for 30 minutes, then flip the wings and continue cooking them for another 30minutes (40 minutes in start preparing your sauce)
- The wings are ready at an internal temperature of 73c however in my opinion they eat better as around 85c
40 minutes into your cook, prepare the Buffalo Wing Sauce using the following method:
- In a saucepan over low heat, melt 1/3 cup butter (2/3 stick, 76grams).
- Add 1-2 tsp minced garlic or 2 pressed garlic cloves
- Allow the two to simmer for about a minute or two, taking care not to burn the garlic.
- Mix in 1/2 cup of Lanes One-Legged chicken sauce. Stir to combine all the ingredients and bring the mixture up to a warm to hot temperature.
When the wings are ready, remove them, mix them in with the sauce and serve. For a little extra flavour and a touch more heat we like to dust our wings with some Hot Buffalo Wing dust.
The Sauce and seasoning used in this recipe can be found in the Buffalo Wings Sauce and Seasoning Pack.