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Buffalo Wings - Smoked & Deep Fried

Originally posted: 01/01/2008
Last updated: 09/24/2014

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Summary

  • Apply rub to chicken wing pieces.
  • Cook at 225-250°F for 2 hours.
  • Deep-fry at 350F for 1 minute or crisp wings directly over hot coals.
  • Toss wings in buffalo wing sauce and serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks, and blue cheese dressing.
Chicken wings rubbed and ready for smoking in the Weber Bullet
Chicken wings rubbed and ready for smoking in the Weber Bullet
Smoked & deep-fried buffalo wings
Smoked & deep-fried buffalo wings
 

Buffalo wings are traditionally deep-fried and then tossed in a mixture of cayenne pepper sauce and butter or margarine. With the help of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker, you can add smoky flavor to this popular appetizer.

Here are some photos I took on December 30, 2007 when I prepared these wings.

Remember...click on any of the pictures to view a larger image.


Select And Prep The Chicken Wings

First and second section chicken wings
Photo 1
       

Purchase 2-1/2 to 5 pounds of chicken wings. Cut off the wing tips and discard. Cut the wing into first and second sections at the joint. Pat dry with paper towels.

You may find "party wings" in the frozen food section at the supermarket. These are already separated into first and second sections, then salted and individually quick frozen. Up to 12% by weight may be water and salt, so fresh wings are the better value.

If using frozen party wings, defrost then rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Since these wings are already salted, reduce the amount of salt in the rub or eliminate it altogether, otherwise the finished product may be too salty.

Photo 1 shows 2-1/2 pounds of wings.

Apply The Rub

Rubbed chicken wings
Photo 2
Close-up view of rubbed chicken wings
Photo 3
     

Lightly sprinkle the wings on both sides with your favorite store-bought or homemade rub. I used a store-bought rub on these wings. If you want to make your own, the following recipe would be a good place to start. It's from the famous barbecue book Smoke & Spice.

Wild Willy's Number One-derful Rub
6 Tablespoons paprika
2 Tablespoons ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon granulated garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Arrange the wings on the cooking grate so they are close together but not touching. Keep the wings a couple of inches inside the edge of the grate to avoid burning, as shown in Photo 2.

Let the wings sit at room temperature as you fire-up your Weber Bullet.

Select The Smoke Wood

Cherry smoke wood chunk
Photo 4
       

Use 1 fist-sized chunk of cherry smoke wood. Apple, oak, or another mild fruit wood can be used instead of cherry. You don't need any more wood than this. Remember, wings don't have much meat on the bone, so don't overpower them with lots of smoke.

There is no need to soak the wood or remove the bark before use.

I used 1 chunk of cherry as shown in Photo 4.

Fire-Up The WSM

Fire-up the cooker using the Minion Method. Fill the charcoal chamber 1/2 full with unlit Kingsford charcoal briquettes, then place 20-40 lit coals on top of the unlit ones.

Put the water pan in the cooker and fill it with cold tap water to help with temperature control.

Smoke The Wings

Chicken wings after 2 hours of cooking
Photo 5
       

Assemble the WSM and put the chicken wings into the cooker. About 2-1/2 pounds of wings will fit on each cooking grate.

Set the 3 bottom vents to 100% open. Open the top vent fully and leave it that way throughout the entire cook.

When the cooker reaches about 225°F, set the 3 bottom vents to 25% open so the cooker settles in at 225-250°F measured at the lid. Adjust the 3 bottom vents as necessary to maintain this temperature range throughout the cooking session.

Cook the wings for about 2 hours.

There should be no need to add water to the pan during the cooking session. The wings do not need to be turned or basted, either.

Here's how the cooker temperatures and vent settings went during my cook:

Time Lid Temp Vent 1 % Vent 2 % Vent 3 %
2:25pm - 100 100 100
2:40pm 190 100 100 100
2:55pm 217 100 100 100
3:05pm 230 25 25 25
3:20pm 240 25 25 25
3:35pm 237 25 25 25
4:00pm 249 25 25 25
4:15pm 250 25 25 25
4:35pm 255 25 25 25

Note that the vent percentages represent the way I set the vents at the time indicated.

Photo 5 shows how the wings look after 2 hours in the WSM.

Deep-Fry The Wings

Waring deep fryer
Photo 6
Close-up of wings in the deep fryer
Photo 7
Wings after 1 minute of frying
Photo 8
   

Buffalo wings are traditionally deep-fried. If you have a fryer, use it to crisp the chicken wings before saucing.

Heat 1 gallon of vegetable oil to 350°F. Fry the wings for 1 minute. Fry in small batches, about 9-10 wings at a time. Transfer the wings to a paper towel to drain.

Photo 8 shows the wings after frying. The wings are now crispy, smoky, and spicy all at the same time.

No Deep Fryer? Crisp The Wings Over Direct Heat

As an alternative to deep frying, you can crisp the wings directly over the hot coals before saucing them.

  • Remove the lid and set it aside.
  • Carefully lift the middle cooking section off the charcoal bowl and set it aside.
  • Place the cooking grate directly over the hot coals.
  • Grill the wings for just a few minutes on each side. Don't take your eyes off the cooker! Watch carefully and remove when you have crisp wings.

Sauce & Serve

Buffalo wings served with celery sticks, carrot sticks, and blue cheese dressing
Photo 9
Close-up of buffalo wings
Photo 10
     

The last step is to coat the chicken in buffalo wing sauce. There are arguments about whether butter or margarine is "authentic". You can use which ever one you like or have on-hand in the refrigerator.

If using those pre-salted, frozen "party wings" mentioned earlier, consider using unsalted butter in the sauce to avoid overly salty wings.

Buffalo Wing Sauce - Medium Hot
1/2 cup Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
1/3 cup butter, melted
Makes enough sauce for 2-1/2 to 3 pounds of wings; double the recipe for 5 pounds of wings. For mild sauce, use 1/3 cup pepper sauce and 1/3 cup butter. For hot sauce, use 3/4 cup pepper sauce and 1/4 cup butter.

Heat the pepper sauce and butter on the stove top or in the microwave, stirring until the butter is melted and well incorporated into the pepper sauce.

Place the wings in a large mixing bowl, pour some of the sauce over the wings, and toss. Add more sauce, if needed, until coated to your liking.

Serve with the traditional accompaniments of celery sticks, carrot sticks, and blue cheese dressing.

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