Sunday, February 25, 2018

Smoked BBQ Wings

[FTC Disclaimer]  I will be doing content work elsewhere for Oklahoma Joe's Smokers this year, so they have sent me their smokers to use.  But any content appearing on NibbleMeThis isn't their sponsored content, just my personal use. I have no affiliation with Academy Sports.  We are personal friends with both Big Moe Cason and Trace Scarborough who's rubs appear in this post.

Usually, I like to grill or fire roast my chicken wings in one of my kamado grills.  But every now and then I like to smoke wings on a pit.  I did two versions a couple of weeks ago.

How to smoke wings on an offset BBQ smoker

I have been excited about working with Oklahoma Joe's because offset pits are the first type of smoker that I used to learn the craft of BBQ.  To this day, I still love working a black iron offset smoker, it makes me nostalgic.  

I have enjoyed using the Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker.
On this day, I chose to use the Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn Reverse Flow.  I'll do a review post sometime soon, but I am enamored with this pit.  

Alexis and I went to Academy Sports because Big Moe Cason told us they were starting to carry his new line of BBQ rubs.  But of course, while there we had to load up on smoking wood, lump charcoal, and other supplies.  I can't go in that place without buying something I hadn't planned on purchasing. 

Review of B&B Competition Char-Logs
One of the things we got were these B&B Char-Logs.  I had not used them before, but I was intrigued by the idea of it. Extruded coal is sort of like natural lump briquettes, where lump charcoal is processing into uniform(ish) shapes for more consistent burning. 

I figured I needed a total of 4 hours (not actual cook time) so I loaded half of a charcoal basket and lit it in one spot using a couple of hay wicks. I left the firebox open until it got ignited for about 10 minutes.  Then I shut the firebox lid and let it run with the side door open until I got to 200°f.  Finally, I closed the side door and used the intake vent to settle the temperature in at 300°f as measured by the top mounted thermometers.

Big Moe Cason Chicken Rub is salty, has notes of celery, sweet, and finishes with peppery heat.
I seasoned a batch of wings with Big Moe Cason's Chicken Rub and let them dry brine for 6 hours in the fridge.  Then I refreshed them with some more rub right before smoking them.

Thunderbird Chicken Scratch Wing Rub is excellent for grilled wings or other meats.
For the second batch, I marinated them the night before with my Cilantro Lime Wing Marinade recipe.  Then I air dried them for an hour in the fridge and seasoned them with Thunderbird Fiery Hot Chicken Scratch rub.  That's a reliable favorite of ours.

How to smoke BBQ wings on an Oklahoma Joe's offset pit.
I smoked the wings on racks over sheet pans just to keep the smoker clean.  I also put them closest to the fire box, which is something I would have never done with my first offset pit.  With my first pit, you couldn't put anything here, it would burn from the heat of the fire.  But the reverse flow design channels smoked and heat under baffles.  This tames the hotspot and provides more even smoke and heat throughout the pit. 

I had mixed results with the coal.  I did add pecan wood, as you can tell.  The good was that the char-logs lit easily and burned quite evenly.  The bad was that the coal smelled like briquettes a few times and put out a butt ton of ash.  I would use it again in my pit or a kettle grill, but because of the ash, I wouldn't use it in a kamado or in my Deep South Smoker GC36.

Smoking BBQ wings on an offset pit.
I smoked the wings until they were almost done and somewhat crispy, about 2 hours.

Smoked BBQ wing recipe
Then I took the wings from the smoke chamber and grilled them directly over the firebox for just a few minutes to really crisp them up.

Then I sauced the wings and put them back in just for about 15 minutes.  For the Big Moe Cason wings, I used a mix of Head Country Original, Blues Hog Original, and Blues Hog Smokey [sic] Mountain.  For the cilantro lime wings, I used habanero butter sauce.

BBQ smoked wings with Big Moe Cason's Chicken Rub
The Big Moe Cason seasoned wings were fantastic, an absolutely solid recipe that I would make for anyone wanting BBQ wings.  Straight out of the jar, the rub is bold.  It starts out salty with hints of celery seed, turns sweet, and then finishes off with peppery heat.  On the wings, it just tastes like great BBQ wings.  I was too busy enjoying eating them to worry about flavor notes.

To be honest, the Cilantro Lime Wings do much better when they are fire roasted or direct grilled. I love that recipe on the grill, but here the smoke was a distraction to the flavor profile.  Like any ingredient, smoke should compliment or contrast the flavors.  Here it failed to do that, it didn't fit the other things going on with the wings.  They are just better grilled/fire roasted.

You can pick up some Big Moe Cason Rubs at Academy Sports.  He also has a few sauces coming out, but they haven't hit the shelves yet, the last time I was in there.