Friday, January 1, 2016

Thai Sticky Wings Two Ways

It's New Years Day 2016 which means there are a TON of college bowl games on today.  It also means there are TONS of chicken wings being consumed.  

tailgating, wings, dry wings, dry rubbed wings
These are our Naked Cajun Wings from a previous post.

If you are looking for some last minute game day recipes for today, here is our favorite chicken wing - Thai Sticky Wings done two different ways:
  1. From Scratch - My BBQ teammate, John, demonstrates how to make these sweet, mildly spicy, Asian style wings and
  2. Quickie Version - Using a store bought sauce, these wings are also good but let you focus a little more on the game.
From Scratch
Chris put this recipe in his excellent book “The Kamado Smoker & Grill Cookbook”, available from Amazon.  I first got to taste this recipe at our second KCBS competition in Franklin NC.  Chris’s sister Rhonda cooked it for the Anything But category, and took 3rd place with it.  I thought they were the best chicken wings I ever had and knew that this would become a staple cook for football season.  Great tailgating food.  

The sauce is what makes it; sweet creamy heat I call it.  The peanut butter, cashew butter or almond butter gives it that creaminess and lingering finish, The Mr Yoshida’s gourmet sauce gives it that unique Asian sweetness, the red pepper jelly adds to the sweetness and adds a small layer of heat to the sriracha sauce, creating the perfect heat.  Try it. You’ll be IMPRESSED.

First off trim the full wings down to pieces.  I learned this technique from Chris. Bend the knuckle and slice into it between the bones (watch your fingers) and then on the cutting board finish cutting the joint.

chicken wings, how to trim buffalo wings
I learned this technique from Chris. Bend the knuckle and CAREFULLY slice into it between the bones (watch your fingers).
Then finish cutting through the joint on the cutting board.

Once you are done trimming, place the wings on a cooling rack in a sheet pan and air dry in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  This helps the skin to crisp up when cooked.  While you are waiting make the rub and sauce.

For the Rub:  (This recipe will work with up to 20 wing pieces)
1 tablespoon Kosher or Sea Salt
2/3 teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2/3 teaspoon Granulated Garlic
1 teaspoon Corn Starch
1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger

For the Sauce: (This recipe will work with up to 20 wing pieces)
1/2 cup Red Pepper Jelly
1/4 cup Mr. Yoshida’s Original Gourmet Sauce
2 tablespoon Cashew or Peanut Butter*
2 tablespoon Sriracha Sauce**
* Chris prefers Cashew Butter and I can’t complain with that, but good ol peanut butter works as well too.
** To control heat add less or more sriracha sauce and even crushed red pepper to really kick it up

  1. Set up your Grill Dome Kamado cooker for indirect cooking and a target dome temperature of 400.
  2. After the wings are done air drying, lightly sprinkle the rub on each wing.
  3. We are using the 30-20-10 cooking method that Chris has explained on this site in the past.
  4. Place wings on grate making sure to have a drip pan under the wings. After 30 minutes flip the wings and cook for 20 more minutes.
  5. Pull the wings and place in a heat proof bowl and pour about 3/4 of the sauce over and mix well.
  6. Place the wings back on the grill for 10 minutes to let the glaze/sauce set up.
  7. Remove wings and add the additional sauce if desired.
  8. Enjoy with your favorite beverages.

30-20-10 wing method, Grill Dome wings, Big Green Egg wings
Wings are rubbed and ready to go on the Grill Dome.

Grill Dome preheated to 400f.

kamado wings, BGE wings, kamado joe wings,
Wings getting happy on the grill.  This was after the flip and right before saucing.

Saucing the wings, before putting them back on for the final 10 minutes. It's just to cook on the sauce so it might not take the full 10 minutes, check after 5.

Bowl of finished wings.

This was my third cook of the day and I lost focus a bit and did cook longer than the 30-20 minutes, as a result the wings were overdone, still very good but overdone.  I suggest keeping a very close eye on the 30-20-10 times.  In Chris’ book he calls for 375 degrees for the dome temperature.  I have tried it there but felt the skin was a bit more rubbery at this temp so I cook at 400 which means you better stick very close to the 30-20 or risk over done like mine were.  Chris also reports very good results going raised direct at 375 dome but I have not tried this.  If you try this make sure your cooking grid is as high in the dome as you can get it to avoid flare ups and burnt glaze.  Chris also uses cilantro as a finishing garnish which you certainly can do, but there will be no cilantro on my wings.  These are the best wings I have ever had and most people agree after they try them too.

Quickie Version aka Cheating
We cooked a tailgate for the Tennessee-South Carolina game this year for our older son and his friends.  We did a full spread with barbecue pork, smoked brisket, sides, and I added these short cut wings to the menu at the last minute.  The wings are quicker due to using a store bought sauce and direct grilling instead of indirect.

It was a rainy, cold, miserable day but we still had a great time.  I cooked the wings on one of our Pit Barrel Cookers - our tailgating smoker/grills.

While the sauce given in the full version has more depth of flavor by far, people still loved the easy version.  The secret was using Frank's RedHot Sweet Chili Sauce.  We stumbled on it at Gordon Food Services and I took a gamble since I'm a fan of Frank's. 

Yeah, I actually bought a half gallon of the stuff.

Franks Chile Wings
The sauce is thick and visibly full of chiles and seasonings.  If it is too thick for your preferences, you can thin it out with a little bit of rice wine vinegar but it works either way. 

Mix together a quick rub (for 20 wing pieces):
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Meat Church Season All or other seasoned salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
Season the wings with the rub.  Spread them on a plate or tray and place them in the fridge for an hour to dry (if you have time).  

Preheat your grill to 375f-400f.  Set the grill up for "raised direct" which just means you will use an elevated grill grate.  This could be just the upper rack of a gas grill.  If you are using a charcoal grill with an adjustable charcoal tray, lower it down to the bottom half of your settings.  For a kamado grill like my shiny blue Grill Dome, just use Grill Extender or home made raised grid.

Put them on the raised grid, close the dome, and cook them for 15 minutes.  Flip and cook until they reach an internal temperature of at least 180f, about 10 more minutes.

Raised direct grill dome
Notice the raised grate. This helps you cook the wings directly without having to flip them every 5 minutes or so.

As soon as the wings are done and still very hot, toss them with about 1/4 cup of the Franks RedHot Sweet Chile Sauce to coat.  Garnish with some green onion if you like and serve with additional sauce for dipping.

Asian chicken wings, tailgate wings, wing recipe, Franks Red Hot Wings

So there you go - two delicious versions of our Thai Sticky Wings.  Thanks to John for his write up of the from scratch version!

PS: Speaking of John and New Years - if you live in Knoxville and made that New Year's resolution to get into shape, get in touch with John at Snap Fitness on Middlebrook Pike

They will get you set up with no hassle, low fees, and their gym is really friendly and welcoming.  He didn't ask me to add that but I just thought I would throw it in.

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.  Grill Dome is our official kamado sponsor.  Pit Barrel Cooker is a tailgating sponsor.  I paid full price for the Frank's and Meat Church products.


  1. Those wings look amazing Chris! When you grill your wings, they can't be bad for you right? Happy New Year!

  2. The from scratch version has me drooling! My husband is a huge fan of Frank's Red Hot so I am certain he would prefer the quickie version. Either way, they both look terrific.

  3. I guess you could call these wings sticky and really sticky! HNY16GREG

  4. Agreed re: peanut butter vs. cashew butter. The first is way better! ha I've wondered about Frank's sweet chili sauce. I bet it's as good as their buffalo sauce!

  5. You commented above that you overcooked the wings a bit. Personally, I think they look just about perfect. I really like my wings to have the hints of black around the edges. Gives it some extra flavor IMO.