BBQ chicken wings

I recently made Red charmoula chicken wings, and instead of curbing my craving for wings they deepened my desire for them. I have also not had a great BBQ sauce since I left the US, so here is a recipe that hopefully sates my cravings.

BBQ is truly an American sauce, developed by the slaves and Creole populations that came on European ships and built to work with fatty pork. This sauce has developed with time and has evolved across America, with a lighter vinegar and mustard based sauce in North Virginia and North Carolina, to a deep tomato and molasses based sauce in the southern states of Louisiana and Mississippi. This recipe is based on the deeper flavored Southern recipe but with the twist of having Mexican chiles added to the sauce. The ancho chilies and smoked chipotle chilies add wonderful nuances to the sauce deepening the smoky and heat profile of the sauce (more on Mexican chiles here). This sauce is sweet, sticky and bold with heat, this sauce, and the wings that are drenched in them, is absolutely finger-licking good! More on the history of BBQ sauce here and on the tyoes of BBQ sauce here.

Admittedly, this is not the easiest of recipes, but that is till you taste the wings. They start sweet and transform over time to a slow and persistent burn form the Mexican chilies and cayenne chili pepper. The wings are addictive, the soft glazed flesh serves as the perfect balance for the flavorful sauce. These are wings you cannot stop eating!

This cookbook, and restaurant in Napa, is amazing. Cindy was one of the first chefs to start and promote the farm-to-table movement. Her recipes highlight the fabulous produce that is available in the Napa valley region, from organic vegetables to farm raised chickens and grass fed beef and lamb. The recipes are from across the globe and everyone of them is fantastic. However, this cookbook is for those chefs who want to excel and this takes time in the kitchen.

More amazing recipes from this cookbook here.




Ingredients:

Homemade BBQ spice mix (1 1/2 cups):

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons celery seeds

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons paprika, or smoked paprika for a smoky version

1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chili powder

5 teaspoons black pepper

5 teaspoons white pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2teaspoon ground cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder, Coleman's preferred

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds


To make the BBQ spice mix:

Mix all ingredients and store in an air-tight container.


Homemade BBQ sauce:

2 cups tomato ketchup, or Maggi Hot and Sweet Tomato Sauce

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or malt vinegar

3-4 tablespoons Homemade BBQ spice mix

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 dried ancho chili, soaked overnight in water

1 dried chipotle chili, soaked with the ancho chili overnight


To make the BBQ sauce:

Remove the seeds and bases of the soaked chilies and purée in the soaking liquid till very smooth.


Add the rest of the ingredients and mix in. Taste and adjust spice and salt. The sauce should be bold and flavorful with a sweet-spicy finish.


Use immediately or store in an air-tight container for 1 week. Freeze for longer.


BBQ wings:

1 lb chicken wings, skin-on, cut at the first joint

1 cup BBQ sauce

4 tablespoons butter


To make the wings:

Marinate the wings in the sauce for at least 1 hour, but overnight in the fridge is best.


You can cook these wings in many ways. Here they are in order of perferrence.

Smoked:

Remove the BBQ sauce from the wings using your fingers. Smoke the wings in a smoker for 1 hour. When cooked and tender, lower the rack and cook them over the hot coals till crisp and charred in spots. Serve immediately. with the extra BBQ sauce on the side.

Grilled:

Remove the BBQ sauce from the wings using your fingers. Grill over coals or a gas grill for 18-20 minutes turning the wings every 5 minutes or so. Make sure the skins are crisped and the wings are charred in spots. Serve immediately. with the extra BBQ sauce on the side.

In the oven:

Remove the BBQ sauce from the wings using your fingers. Layer the wings on a lined baking sheet and broil about 12 inches from the top. Turn the wings every 10 minutes till cooked through and charred in spots, about 25 minutes per batch. Serve immediately. with the extra BBQ sauce on the side.

To finish the sauce:

The sauce after marination needs to be cooked in order to get rid of the raw chicken. Slowly simmer the sauce and butter, careful it will splatter a lot and stain everything it touches, till thick and the oils begin to glisten on the surface, about 10-12 minutes. Taste the sauce and if it is absolutely delightful, it is ready. Serve alongside or drizzled over the cooked wings.

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