Americans are wing-loving people. The Buffalo variety, by most accounts “invented” at the Anchor Bar in, yes, Buffalo, is the official food of our most sacred event of the year: the Super Bowl.
Mark Bittman’s recipes are the focus for this week’s menu planning perfect for busy days or weekend gatherings and so a recipe for Asian style chicken wings is the headliner here.
Mark suggests just black pepper and garlic wings, but of course, taking it a step or two further, I stovetop smoked the wings for about 20-25 minutes with the handy-dandy Nordic Ware smoker and finished them on the range top grill. You can of course follow his instructions for indirect grilling and finally direct heat grilling, but I am in the middle of cleaning out the pantry and it is nothing to smoke the wings and then finally sauce them and grill before eating. I changed things a bit like trimming the wings early in the day and seasoning with the black pepper and minced garlic, refrigerate until ready to smoke or grill. Make the Fish sauce and refrigerate until time to grill.
* Note: I doubled the sauce and divided one bowl for a brief 20-30 minute marinade after smoking and grill basting and one bowl for the finished wings to dip again before serving.
Smoked Wings before grilling
3 pounds of chicken wings
Neutral oil½ cup fish sauce*
Optional Sriracha garlic sauce from Trader Joe’s
½ cup of sugar
2 whole fresh, red-hot chilies (I didn’t use the peppers since I was using the Sriracha sauce)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1. Cut 3 pounds of chicken wings into 3 sections; save the wing tips for stock. Toss the wings with a little neutral oil to keep them from sticking.
2. Heat a charcoal or gas grill; the fire should be moderately hot and the rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat. Leave one side of the grill cooler for indirect cooking.
3. Put the wings on the cool side of the grill. Cover the grill, and cook, checking and turning once or twice, until most of the fat has been rendered and the wings are cooked through 15 to 20 minutes.
4. While the wings cook, combine 1/2 cup fish sauce, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 whole fresh, hot red chilies (like Thai), 2 tablespoons minced garlic, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Whisk to incorporate the sugar. Put the sauce in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until it thickens into a thin syrup (essentially a fish-sauce caramel).
5. When the wings are cooked, move them to the hot part of the grill and cook, uncovered, turning as necessary and basting with the caramel until they’re nicely browned on both sides.