This take on the Buffalo wing involves—you guessed it—wood smoke. Crank your smoker up to 375°F. This is hotter than the usual 225°F low and slow, but the heat helps render the fat and crisp the chicken skin. To further pump up the wings, this calls for Pac-Rim flavors like sesame oil and sriracha, as well as fresh jalapeño peppers to heat up the butter sauce. Napkins and cold beer required.
Servings: 24 wings, enough for 4 to 6 when served with other food
3 pounds chicken wings (about 24 pieces)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons coarse salt (sea or kosher)
2 teaspoons cracked black peppercorns
2 teaspoons ground coriander (optional)
2 tablespoons Asian (dark) sesame oil
Vegetable oil, for oiling the rack
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
4 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced crosswise (leave the seeds in)
6 tablespoons sriracha (or other favorite hot sauce)
1/4 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
1. Place the chicken wings in a large bowl. Sprinkle in 1/4 cup of the cilantro, the salt, pepper, and coriander, if using, and stir to mix. Stir in the sesame oil. Cover the bowl and marinate, refrigerated, for 15 to 60 minutes (the longer they marinate, the richer the flavor).
2. Meanwhile, set up your smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat to 375°F. (If your smoker’s incapable of reaching that temperature, preheat as hot as the smoker will go.) Add the wood as specified by the manufacturer.
3. Oil the smoker rack and arrange the drumettes on it. Smoke the wings until sizzling, brown with smoke, and cooked through, 30 to 50 minutes. At lower temperatures (for example, at 250°F), you’ll need 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours. In some smokers, the pieces closest to the fire will cook faster; if this is the case, rotate the pieces so all cook evenly. To check for doneness, make a tiny cut in the thickest part of a few of the wings. The meat at the bone should be white, with no traces of red. Do not overcook. Arrange the wings on a heatproof platter.
4. Just before serving, melt the butter in a cast-iron skillet on the stove over high heat. Add the jalapeños and cook until they sizzle and start to brown, 3 minutes. Stir in the sriracha and bring to a boil. Pour over the chicken.
5. Sprinkle the chicken with the peanuts and the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro and serve at once with plenty of napkins.
More about Project Smoke:
The Barbecue Bible for Smoking Meats
A complete, step-by-step guide to mastering the art and craft of smoking, plus 100 recipes—every one a game-changer –for smoked food that roars off your plate with flavor. Here’s how to choose the right smoker (or turn the grill you have into an effective smoking machine). Understand the different tools, fuels, and smoking woods. Master all the essential techniques: hot-smoking, cold-smoking, rotisserie-smoking, even smoking with tea and hay—try it with fresh mozzarella. USA Today says, “Where there’s smoke, there’s Steven Raichlen.” Steven Raichlen says, “Where there’s brisket, ribs, pork belly, salmon, turkey, even cocktails and dessert, there will be smoke.” And Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue says, “Nothin’ but great techniques and recipes. I am especially excited about the smoked cheesecake.” Time to go forth and smoke.
“If your version of heaven has smoked meats waiting beyond the pearly gates, then PROJECT SMOKE is your bible.”
“Steven Raichlen really nails everything you need to know. Even I found new ground covered in this smart, accessible book.”