Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Holy Voodoo Chicken Wings on the Big Green Egg

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.

With the Safer at Home guidelines in place, Alexis and I have missed dining at Knoxville's local restaurants.  I particularly miss our weekly happy hour at Big Kahuna Wings.  BKW does their wings similar to Memphis dry-style ribs, they serve them deep-fried and seasoned with their BKW Original or BKW Fire seasonings.  Your choice of sauce is on the side, so the wings stay extra crispy.

Instead of deep-frying mine, I fire-roasted them and then finished them over direct heat to make them crispy like BKW wings.

Meat Church Holy Voodoo seasoning rocks on crispy fire roasted wings.
Crispy fire-roasted wings seasoned with Meat Church Holy Voodoo and served with an Alabama-style white BBQ sauce on the side.
I didn't have any of the BKW seasonings, but I had just bought a jar of Meat Church Holy Voodoo rub at Elder's Ace Hardware. This is a Cajun seasoning that is full of things like jalapeno powder, paprika, onion, garlic, salt, sugars, and more.  It's a flavor pop for sure. 

A heavy cleaver is useful for separating wings into pieces.
BKW uses Springer Mountain chicken wings, which are some of the best in my experience.  I used wings from Holly Farms at Food City, which is what I usually use.  Holly Farms has been pretty consistent in quality and size, for me.

The cleaver pictured is from Rhineland Cutlery, courtesy of Mannix Pools and Grills.
That "wing buster" you see is a Rhineland Cutlery cleaver.  It was a SWAG gift from Mannix Pools and Grills for the cook teams at the Chain of Lakes Eggfest a few years ago.  It has become my go-to knife for breaking down wings.

Ways To Grill Wings

I use several methods to cook wings on the grill or smoker.
  1. Direct grilled - This is quick and gives crispy wings, but you have to watch your wings, so they don't burn. I usually modified this by using a raised cooking grate to make the process a little more forgiving.
  2. Smoked - Cooked indirect at lower temperatures; this gives a tasty smoke component to the wings.  The downside to smoked wings is that it can often leave you with rubbery skin.
  3. Fire-roasted - This is what I do most often - cooked indirect at temperatures above 350°f.  
  4. Smoke-Fried - This involves smoking the wings until they hit an internal temperature of about 160°f and then flash frying them.  This gives a smoky flavor with a fantastic crisp crust.  The process also lets you keep the wings warm until you are ready to fry and serve them.
For this cook, I did a combination of #3 and #1.  I fire-roasted the wings and then direct grilled them. 

Another trick for crispy wings is to place them on a rack like shown and place them uncovered in a refrigerator for a couple of hours.  This dries off the skin, which promotes the roasting process.  In this picture, I've already done that and have now seasoned the wings.

Large big green egg in a Challenger Designs grill cart set up with an Adjustable Rig.
My set up for the indirect fire-roasting part was an Adjustable Rig, heat stone, and drip pan.  The grate is raised to the gasket level, not just sitting on the fire ring.  I'm still loving my Challenger Designs Torch 48 grill cart with its weatherproof storage.  It makes my grilling experience easier by having everything I need at arm's reach.

I always start my flappers with the pretty side facing up, only for aesthetics.  You can see I put the Holy Voodoo seasoning on rather robustly.  I didn't measure it, but I would guess about 1/4 cup for 3 pounds of wings.

Checking the internal temperature of the wings using a Thermapen from Thermoworks.
I fire-roasted them at 350°f until they hit an internal temperature of 160-165°f, which took about 25-30 minutes.  The pink Thermapen is Alexis', my two are red and blue 😃.

Grilling chicken wings on a big green egg kamado grill.
After switching to direct heat, it only takes a few minutes per side for the flappers, but the drummies can take about 10 minutes.  Just keep rotating them every few minutes until they are done.  Using tongs to flip wings takes forever, so I cheat and use my hands.  I'm wearing cotton gloves under nitrile gloves for a lightweight yet nimble "heat resistant glove."   It works well for briefly handling hot food.  I don't try to move hot grill parts with these, I use Nomex gloves for that type of work.

The wings were crispy and loaded with that Holy Voodoo pop of flavor.  It almost felt like I was at BKW enjoying happy hour!

I'm a big fan of Holy Voodoo.  I used it last night on a killer shrimp recipe that I'm developing.  The shrimp is tossed in a cast-iron skillet with Holy Voodoo, butter, garlic, and lemon juice.  I serve it over Dirty Rice, and it was so freaking good.  I'll be posting that one later this Spring or Summer once I can get good shrimp again.

So if you haven't tried Meat Church's Holy Voodoo rub, "do yourself a flavor" and pick up a bottle.  Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles knows what's up - 

I hope you guys and gals are all staying safe and doing well.