Good chicken wings require a little patience.
Below is a guide to understanding 3 important steps:
1) the pre-cook seasoning, either through brine or cure.
2) the cooking options
3) saucing your wings
Brine vs Cure:
A lot of barbeque guys swear by a cure. You may have heard other terms such as dry brine or rub. They are generally interchangeable for cure. The idea is that salt and different seasonings help infuse flavor into the meat as they rest, under refrigeration, rubbed in the cure.
At Ohio City Provisions, we do find that a cure is acceptable for wings as they are small enough to easily be penetrated by the cure. Larger cuts, such as pork shoulder, hams, and whole chickens, are best matched with a brine. A brine and a cure are most consistent when calculated based on the raw weight of the product.
Step 1: Seasoning
Here are two options for seasoning your wings:
This recipe is for 2 lbs of chicken wings.
Salt: 30 gram kosher salt
Chili Flakes: 4 grams
Onion Powder: 2 gram
Garlic Powder: 1 gram
Paprika: 2 gram
Mix the spices together. Place the wings in a bowl and sprinkle heavily with rub. Toss and sprinkle until the wings are thoroughly covered and you're out of rub. Massage those flavors into the wings and place them in a zip lock bag. Refrigerate for 1 day.
The ratio is 1 cup of brine per lb of meat. This recipe makes enough for 8 lbs of meat. Use the leftovers for a whole bird.
Liquid: 8 cups water or chicken stock
Salt: 108 gram
Sugar: 70 gram
Black Pepper: 18 gram
Onion Powder: 5 gram
Garlic Powder: 5 gram
Bring to a boil, whisk in dry ingredients and simmer 5 minutes. Cool to below 40 degrees before adding the chicken. Brine in a zip lock bag, or an open container completely covered, for a minimum of 24 hours.
Step 2: Cook
Preheat your smoker. Approx 280 to 300 degrees for wings, approx 80% humidity. Smoke for 90 to 120 minutes, depending on the smoker. If you smoke often, you'll likely have a preference already.
: In an oven-safe container heat up wings and fat on the stove until oil reaches 200 degrees. Make sure the wings are submerged in the molten lard or oil. Cover tightly. Transfer to preheated oven at 225 degrees until wings separate easily when pulled on, 40 minutes to an hour. Remove from the fat and allow to cool completely. Can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Place wings on a roasting rack in oven at 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the wings over and raise the temp to 425 degrees and roast an additional 20 minutes or until the skin is crispy.
Step 3: Toss with Sauce
Finally, toss in the sauce. In a saute pan, melt butter and whisk in your favorite hot sauce. Toss the wings in the hot pan and serve.