Thursday, August 15, 2013

On The Grill: Sticky Chicken Wings

Grilled Wings

Here’s a recipe for finger-licking chicken wings made without any fancy rubs or sauces.

Nor are they batter-coated, deep-fried, baked, or smoked (this time). 

These are brined, dried in the refrigerator, and grilled over low heat.

While simple in ingredients and preparation, it requires at least an hour of babysitting over the fire.

This is the kind of cook you do when you want to relax outdoors and listen to the peaceful calm of the rustling leaves and cooing doves.

Or the braying of four alpacas, in my case. 

Completely unnerved me. Think: Jurassic Park velociraptors.

(Thank goodness, I wasn’t walking through a cornfield at the time!)

This slow/low technique resulted in perfectly seasoned chicken that was sticky and tender, with a hint of caramel flavor. 

Be sure to have a stack of napkins on hand if you try it. 

You’re gonna need them.
Chicken Wings
See how sticky they look?  That's collagen from the low/slow method.

 Sticky Chicken Wings

Serves 4-6


2 TB Salt
2 TB White Sugar
1 Cup Very Hot Water
2 Cups Ice

2 Pounds of Chicken Wings

Additional equipment: cooling rack, sheet pan.

Create brine by adding salt and sugar to water.  Stir to dissolve.

Yes, I bought ice - don't judge.  The water here is rife with sulfur and iron.
Add ice.

Place liquid and wings in a gallon-sized plastic storage bag. 

Remove as much air as possible, seal, and rotate to make contact with the wings.

Place in a container (in case of a leak), refrigerate. Rotate every 4-6 hours.  

After 24 hours, remove wings and move to rack placed over the cookie sheet.  Return to refrigerator another 4-6 hours.

Preheat gas grill to medium-low. 

Add wings, cut-side down for 5-8 minutes.  (Cover down.)  They will form char-marks and sizzle. 

Raise cover and turn the heat down lower. 

Move wings around the grate every 3-5 minutes until the skin browns.

Turn, and repeat on the opposite side. 
Turn, turn, turn
Turn onto edges to crisp and render, then stand joint down, use tips to stabilize.

Wings are finished when juices run clear.  Enjoy!

Wing at front center, skin peeling away at the joint.
Tip: if skin is shrinking or peeling, the heat is too high.