To say that this nation is obsessed with the domestic fowl would be a major euphemism. Chicken is nothing short of the top-selling meat in America. And why not? It is light, healthy and full of flavor. It can be cooked in a much shorter time than read meat, making it a perfect convenience food. The near future will see the popularity of chicken explode even further than what we are seeing today. Under such circumstances, it is hard to imagine anyone who will not want to make the best-smoked chicken recipes with their pellet grill.
With a per capita chicken consumption of 108 pounds per person, it appears that every woman, man, and child in the US is positively in love with poultry.
Except for vegetarians, who doesn’t love buffalo wings? These great-tasting chicken morsels are the quintessential recipe of the USA. Other foods that define the culinary landscape of America like pizza, burger and hot dogs have their roots in Europe. The buffalo wing is a true homegrown champion that is now archetypical of American cuisine.
Although buffalo wings taste great, they also happen to be deep-fried. Health-conscious folks are not fans of this aspect. What if you could make buffalo wings that are not just healthier but also more delicious by utilizing a cooking technique besides deep frying? Such a notion may border on sacrilege for food puritans. But there is no turning back the march of innovation. You would be surprised to learn that you can make great tasting buffalo wings by pellet smoking them.
Smoked Buffalo Wings
Accompanying this fabulous recipe will be a mouthwatering blue cheese dip and hot sauce for even more flavor.
Blue Cheese Dip
- 3 ounces crumbled blue cheese
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 3 tablespoons sage
Mix all the poultry seasoning ingredients in a blender and store in an airtight container to preserve the flavor.
- ½ cup Frank’s Original Red Hot Sauce
- 2 cloves pressed garlic
- ½ cup salted butter
The rest of the ingredients are as follows.
- 6 celery stalks
- 24 whole chicken wings
The 24 whole chicken wings weight about 4 pounds. You should cut the celery sticks into 4-inch pieces.
As for the blue cheese dip, you can use ranch dressing to give it the perfect flavor if you prefer. If you do not want to make this cheese sauce from scratch, then you can purchase Mary’s Blue Cheese salad dressing. It will taste just as good. You can find it in the refrigerator section of all groceries.
Concerning the sauce, you can also employ a more democratic approach as is often seen in restaurants. Just give people an assortment of sauces to choose from so that they can pick what they like best.
The sauce mentioned above is the classic sauce that goes with buffalo wings. The main source of the exotic flavor is the red pepper that defines Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Just make sure that the classic sauce has the right level of heat if you choose to use it. Not everyone can tolerate excessively high heat levels. Such heat levels may also obscure the flavor and undo your hard work.
Another optional ingredient that you can include is baking powder. Poultry skin can become more alkaline and less acidic with baking powder which is helpful for a well-done brown and crispy crust. Using baking powder is very simple. Add baking powder, pepper, and salt to a bowl. Toss in the buffalo wings and roll them around manually so that their skins are covered full of the seasoning.
To make the blue cheese sauce, it is a better idea to start with thawed blue cheese and cream cheese. After they have reached room temperature, you can mix them with the remaining spices in the blue cheese sauce ingredients list. Pour in the sour cream and refrigerate the mixture.
Cut the celery sticks to the required length and store them in the refrigerator.
Now you can turn your attention to the buffalo hot sauce. Using low heat, melt butter in a saucepan and throw in the pressed garlic. Allow the blend to simmer for one minute. Don’t let the garlic take on a brownish hue. Taking care that the garlic does not overheat, you can pour in Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Let the sauce and other ingredients keep company with each other in the saucepan for around 3 to 4 minutes.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can also use other sauces besides the classic Frank’s Red Hot sauce. You can try out Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce, Chris Lilly’s Spiced Apricot Glaze, Danny Gaulden’s Glaze or the DC Mumbo sauce.
Just like the dip, you can prepare the sauce one day in advance. You may not have to work too hard if the dips and sauces are prepared beforehand.
You can make use of 3 different zones in the buffalo wings to prepare them. These areas are the drumettes towards the side that connects with the shoulder, the flats in the center and the tips. Since these parts have different thicknesses, they take unequal time to grill. The best way to prepare your wings in little time is to cut up the buffalo wings into the 3 different sections and cook them separately.
Be wary of the tips though. These are almost fully made from skin. Hence they are small enough to slip through the grilling grates where they will be burnt to cinders. If you like you can grill them as well. But a much better idea is to save them for the soup by refrigerating them. Cut off the v-shaped piece situated between the drumette and flat. You will be grilling both of these sections of the wings.
Many chefs tend to season these parts, and this is a good idea for most occasions. But beware of the high salt content of commercial rubs since it is just too strong for thin cuts. Many commercial preparations have lots of sugar which can burn when you are browning the wings. They become anonymous flavor-wise since there is plenty of flavor from the cheese dip and other sauces as well. The best way of dealing with this way is to resort to tried and tested salt and pepper flavoring. Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the very best.
Fire up your pellet grill to a temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit. You will need 2-zone cooking capability in your pellet grill to cook these buffalo wings satisfactorily. If your pellet grill lacks this functionality, you can always purchase the sear box accessory from Camp Chef. This wonderful tool is much more than an accessory. It is a complete appliance. It allows for direct heating to make your pellet grill a truly versatile barbecue machine.
You can carry out indirect grilling at 325 degrees to melt the fat and turn the skin crispy. The smoke from the firebox will also add plenty of flavors to give a rich smoky taste to the resulting meal. This may appear odd for buffalo wings, but as they say, a change is as good as the feast. In this case, it most certainly is true.
Keep smoking the wings in the indirect zone with the pellet grill lid shut tight. It will take you 7 to 10 minutes per side to turn the wings crispy golden. When that happens you are nearly there.
Now comes the final part: direct heating. Move the buffalo wings to the sear box. Make sure that the sear box is burning at high heat. Keep the lid open during the quick searing process. Keep watch over the wings as they smolder and sear. Take care to turn them frequently so that the sides are not charred. Bear in mind that the thinner pieces will be ready more quickly as compared to the rest. Hence you must take them off early to prevent them from being burnt.
Now you need to get the sauce ready. Transfer the sauce to a mixing bowl and allow it to become warm in the pellet grill. Whisk it well to allow even heat distribution.
You can serve the sauce at the side of the buffalo wings. Another idea is to toss the wings into the sauce and keep stirring them so that they are coated nicely with the hot and spicy mixture.
Whichever method you choose, place celeries on the serving platter. The blue cheese dip should also be present at the side of this platter. Your guests can then take some of the cheese sauce into their plate and dip the buffalo wings and celery sticks for a wonderful flavor.
Smoked Miso Wings
This Asian chicken delight is sure to make any party in which they are served a success. The sweet and salty Miso marinade is a masterstroke of Asian ingenuity that you will appreciate. This is an award-winning grade recipe that is an awesome alternative to buffalo wings.
The beauty of the marinade is the adroitness with which it balances savory, salty and sweet flavors for a unique taste. The wonderful flavors give rise to umami, which is a Japanese word for the savory flavor that is now recognized as the fifth flavor all over the world. The traditional miso blend is behind the fantastic touch of umami.
Miso consists of grains, fermented soybeans, and koji – a type of mold. Plenty of grocery stores have miso. However, if your store does not have it, you can take a trip to an Asian marketplace nearby to find this aromatic paste. Miso paste has 3 basic flavors and colors. Don’t let this simple categorization deceive you because there are hundreds of flavors out there that various manufacturers have perfected.
White miso is mostly rice with a tiny proportion of soya beans. It has a touch of sweetness and mild flavor overall. Yellow miso as the name implies takes on a range of hues from tan to yellow. The taste is deeper and fuller. This recipe has plenty of barley added to it.
Red miso, on the other hand, is much darker than the other two. Some concoctions are almost black. It has the saltiest and most intense flavor. Red miso is made chiefly from soy and its lengthy fermentation time is responsible for the wonderfully rich taste.
Miso sauce has plenty of uses. You can discover plenty of gastronomic applications by experimenting with different recipes. It can last for several months if you keep in the refrigerator.
Since miso soup is so versatile, you can use it all kinds of sauces, stocks, salad dressings and marinades as your secret flavor enhancer.
Miso soup is the most basic way to use this versatile paste. It is simply hot water with miso paste.
- 3 pounds of chicken wings
- ¼ cup of rice vinegar
- 1 cup yellow miso paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoon mirin
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- ½ cup of water
In case you did not know, mirin is a kind of white rice wine with a very mild taste that is rather sweet. In case you cannot find this wine, you can look for any other dry white one.
Rice vinegar is milder at 4% compared to commercial white vinegar that has a strength of 6%. Two basic varieties are commonly available: seasoned or plain. Go for the plain one.
Toasted sesame oil is darker than ordinary sesame oil. This aromatic oil is amber-colored or darker. Don’t be tempted into buying ordinary sesame oil which has a yellowish hue. Since toasted sesame oil has a unique flavor, you should keep looking for it if you cannot find it. This ingredient has a key role in the flavor of miso wings so you cannot take the easy way out with mild yellow sesame seed oil.
The recipe calls for additional sesame seeds that you should toast before adding. This will increase the aromatic oils and flavor in the miso recipe.
Prepare the wingettes and drummettes of the chicken wings by using a sharp chef knife. You can create these pieces by cutting at the 2 joints in each chicken wing.
Pour in water, sesame oil, ginger, honey, mirin, rice wine vinegar, miso paste into a mixing bowl. Stir these ingredients well to create a uniform mixture.
Keep the chicken wings in re-sealable bags and pour in the marinade. Seal off the bags while making sure to remove as much air as you can. Rotate the bag several times to ensure that the marinade covers all parts of the chicken wings.
It is best to refrigerate the bags overnight to bring out the strongest flavor. If you are in a hurry, you can let the mixture rest for 2 hours, although the flavor will not be as sharp.
Prepare the pellet grill for 2-zone cooking. As described above, you can deploy the Camp Chef sear box to give a direct heating capability to your pellet grill if it lacks this function.
For indirect heating, the temperature of the pellet grill must be 225 degrees Fahrenheit. After the pellet grill has stabilized at the target temperature, you can take out the chicken wing pieces from their plastic bags. Pat them dry using paper towels.
Start cooking these wings by first placing them in the indirect heat zone. Keep smoking the wings for one and a half hours. They will become tender and should reach a temperature of around 160 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, you should remove the chicken wings from the grill.
During the time that the pellet grill is smoking the wings, you can roast the sesame seeds. Pour dry sesame seeds into a frying pan at low heat. Allow these seeds to roast for 30 to 60 seconds. Their color will change to golden brown during the roasting process and they will exude a wonderful aroma. Make sure that you remove them when they reach this color so that they do not get burnt.
Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds and cilantro onto the chicken wings before serving them.
Don’t be surprised if guests remark that these wings are the best that they ever had. You can cook this recipe with poise at all kinds of parties, gatherings and barbecue cookouts. Be ready for the barrage of compliments that will soon ensue once your guests ravenously devour these wings with gusto. Surprise your friends and family with your gastronomic magnum opus that they will cherish for a long time.