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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Cook the wings for about
Here's how the cooker temperatures and vent settings went during my cook:
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
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.
Sauce & Serve
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.
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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