The best chicken wing you’ll ever have is the one off your own grill. I have been experimenting with different methods and recipes for smoked wings. What I describe here is now my tried and true recipe for the best wings ever! This is my go-to for tailgate parties. For large groups, I typically complete Step 1 days or weeks before the event, then finish with Steps 2 and 3 at the event. It is a 3-step process.
Start with whole, fresh wings, not just drums or wings, but the whole piece. Season with your favorite poultry rub. I use McCormick Rotisserie Chicken Rub. Place on your smoker at it’s lowest setting (smoke in the case of my Traeger) and let go for 5 hours.
Once smoked, you can remove, vacuum seal and freeze until ready to eat. Or, you can go right to the finishing step.
Crank up the heat. Get your grill as hot as it can go. I use direct heat on my Weber Genesis gas grill. Grill the wings until they are charred and crisp. If they just came off the smoker, about 4 minutes, flipping every minute so they don’t become charcoal. If you are cooking from the freezer, it could take 8-10 minutes. Alternatively, you can deep fry them for a few minutes at 375. You could also use indirect heat on the smoker, setting the grill for as hot as it will go. However, this method will not char the wing. The point is, you need to crisp up the skin. High heat is the only way to do that.
Once crisp, you can chow down on the seasoned wing, or toss it in your favorite sauce. My go to is a hot garlic wing sauce you can make with this recipe. You can either toss and serve the wings in the sauce, or return them to the grill for a couple of minutes/side to set up the sauce.
Melt the butter and sauté the chopped garlic for about 5-10 minutes, until fragrant. Add the ketchup and Franks, bringing to a simmer, but do not boil. Add hot sauce until you get to the spice level you want.
I keep leftovers in the aforementioned ketchup bottle in the fridge for weeks, putting it on salads, chicken breasts, tenders, anything.
One of the easiest, and quickest, foods you can cook on your smoker. To get the skin crisp, you need to crank up the heat, but in less than 90 minutes you will be tasting some of the juiciest chicken you’ve ever tasted!
Start with setting your smoker on high. That means about 400-450 for my Traeger. Season a whole bird with your favorite poultry seasoning. I love Traeger’s Chicken Rub, though McCormick & Schmidt’s Rotisserie Chicken rub is good, too. Set the bird in the smoker until the breast gets to 165, about 90 minutes depending on the size of the bird.
You can play around with a chicken throne, or beer can chicken. Theoretically, they are supposed to keep the chicken moist. However, I can’t tell the difference between one done on a throne vs. not.
One of the tastiest cooks you can have…it just takes a long time! Depending on the size of your pork butts, this can be an 8-12 hour cook. I typically buy the cryosealed pack of pork butts from Costco. They come 2 in a package and are each about 10#. It takes no more effort to cook 2 than it takes to cook 1. Just vacuum seal and freeze what you don’t eat.
About 2 hours before you are ready to start cooking, season the butt liberally with pulled pork rub. There is salt in the rub, which turns your pork into ham over time, so don’t allow the rub to rest overnight, just 2 hours before you cook.
Start your smoker at 250. Place fat side up and add 1 cup of brown sugar to the top. Smoke them for 3 hours before starting to baste to ensure a nice crust/bark on the outer edges.
After 3 hours, baste the butt with the pulled pork mop every hour. Continue to smoke another 6 hours or until the internal temp hits 160. Once there, wrap the butt in foil, add any left over mop, seal tightly and continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 200 (about 3 more hours).
Let the butt rest in foil for 15 minutes, then carefully open the foil package, reserving the mop & juices. Shred the butt and mix the juices back into the pulled pork. You can also season with some of the rub. Enjoy!
Not just for Thanksgiving, a smoked turkey is the gift that keeps on giving. The effort to cook 20# is the same as that for 10#. Get yourself a big ‘ol bird and get creative with leftovers!
Start your cook 2 days before you want to eat, by brining the bird for 2 days. I take a 5 gallon bucket and line it with a turkey roasting bag. Mix together:
2 gallons water
1 1/2C canning salt
3T minced garlic
1T back pepper
1/4C Worcestershire sauce
1/3C brown sugar
Place the turkey in the bag in the bucket. Add the brine solution, making sure it covers the entire bird. Leave the bucket and turkey in the refrigerator for 2 days before cooking.
For the cook, you want:
8 cloves garlic, crushed
4T seasoning salt
4 cans Dr. Pepper
2 apples, quartered
2 onions, quartered
2T garlic powder
2T black pepper
Rinse the turkey after you take it out of the brine. Rub the crushed garlic over the outside of the bird, and sprinkle with seasoning salt. Set directly on your smoker at 225 for 3 hours. Don’t touch it, don’t look at it, don’t spritz it. Just let it go. This allows the bird to absorb as much smoke as possible.
After 3 hours, put in a roasting pan and fill the turkey cavity with with butter, Dr. Pepper, apple, onion, garlic powder and black pepper. Cover loosely with foil.
Turn the smoker up to 250 and smoke for an additional 7-10 hours. Good rule of thumb is 30-40 minutes/pound. You want the thigh to get to 180 and the breast at 165. Baste the bird every hour with the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan. If the cook is moving along faster than expected, just turn the heat back down to 225 and baste more often.
Though this sounds like a sauce for pork, I find the horseradish in it makes an excellent complement to beef and brisket as well. The flavor profile is most closely aligned with Sweet Baby Rays traditional sauce.
Make a paste of the Worcestershire Sauce and dry mustard. Combine all the rest of the ingredients together and add the paste to the mixture, blend well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour to reduce slightly. Do not allow the sauce to scorch!
Remove from heat and service, or cool completely and store in refrigerator until needed.
A most excellent, mustard based BBQ sauce. Goes particularly well with roast pig.
2 C Jalapeno Yellow Mustard
2/3 C cider vinegar
3T tomato paste
1t hot sauce
2t chicken bouillon
2t dried rosemary
1t celery seed
3t mustard powder
2t kosher salt
1t black pepper
Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Let sit for an hour in the refrigerator for the flavors to meld. No cooking necessary. Keep refrigerated. Will last a month or more.
They say a pig roast is not the best way to cook pork, as you have to take the whole hog to almost 200F, but I say phooey on that! The roast pork is outstanding and the presentation is priceless!
I have a Traeger Texas, which has a 34″ grate. I can get a 20-40# hog on the grill without modifications, or, I grilled 70-80# hogs by removing the head and feet and cooking those along side the pig, or on another grill.
Roasting a pig is really easy. Some people will inject it, some will make a menagerie of rubs, I keep it simple. For a rub, take equal parts salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Later the pig inside and out with yellow mustard and sprinkle the rub all over, saving some to mix with the roast pork before serving.
Place the hog on the grill at 250F and let ‘er go until internal temp reaches 195-200F. For a small hog, that could be 5 hours. The 71# hog I did last week took 9 hours.
When done, carefully remove the hog from the grill and start ripping it apart. I keep 3 pans, one for good meat, 1 for skin, and 1 for bones, cartilage and other stuff no one wants to eat. Some people love the skin. I find it variable, from nice crisp crunchy pieces, to chewy bites that work better as dog toys. For the head, I cut out the eyes (not an easy thing to do) and replace them with cherries. You can also put an apple in it’s mouth.
After you shred the meat, hit it with some rub to taste and serve. Best….food….ever! The pictures below are from the 71 pounder roasted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even the hog was COVID compliant!