Ain’t No Thing But a Chicken Wing

If you knew me in real life, you would know that I have a special place in my heart for chicken wings at, probably, any flavor or heat level you could come up with. Lend me your Jerk Seasoning, your Buffalo, Ghost Chili, Dry Rubbed, naked, breaded, smoked, baked, fried, grilled. I am your guy.

So why has it taken me literally years to post a chicken wing recipe? I dunno, but here’s one for you. It’s written for the Big Green Egg, but you should be able to re-create this on any smoker or grill that you can setup for indirect heat. In a pinch, a convection oven will even do.

Sweet Chili Glazed Wings


  • 2 lbs Chicken Wings (20-25 wings)
  • For Marinade
  • 1/4 cup Peanut Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Chopped Cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 10 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 2 Tbsp Ginger, Minced
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • For Glaze
  • 1 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Sriracha Sauce, to taste
  • Green onions, Sliced


    Marinate the wings
  1. Mix oil, cilantro, soy, ten garlic cloves, ginger and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes in a large bowl
  2. Add wings to mixture. Stir to coat.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours
  4. Cook the wings
  5. Setup the Egg for indirect heat.
  6. Preheat to 400F, with the cooking grid placed over the platesetter, feet up, and an aluminum pan underneath to catch any drippings.
  7. Wings will cook through in approximately 20 minutes. Turn once during cooking.
  8. Make the glaze
  9. While the wings are over the fire, combine vinegar, sugar, water, Sriracha, two garlic cloves and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes in a medium sauce pan.
  10. Bring to a boil.
  11. Reduce heat and simmer.
  12. Glaze should thicken in 15-20 minutes.
  13. Toss the wings
  14. Place wings into a second, clean large mixing bowl.
  15. Pour the glaze over the wings.
  16. Toss wings in glaze to coat.
  17. Garnish with sliced green onions

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

I just returned from a trip to Jamaica and it was amazing. I stayed at an all-inclusive resort near Montego Bay and took a day excursion over to Negril. While I was in Negril, my driver took me to a Jerk Chicken shack and I waz immediately hooked. It’s juicy, spicy and fragrant (think curry). That combination makes it basically unlike any BBQ chicken we eat stateside.

I found a source for Pimento wood (AKA Jamaican allspice) online and they’re apparently the only legal importer of Pimento wood in the US. So begins our experiment of trying to nail down authentic Jerk Chicken at home. Once I get any kinks ironed out, this will probably go into heavy rotation at the house.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken


  • Chicken. You can use a whole chicken, quicken quarters or boneless, skinless breasts/thighs. Up to you.
  • Pimento wood chips. You almost certainly won't find these locally, so be prepared to order them online. I got mine at eXotic Wood Chips, LLC, apparently the only legal importer in the US.
  • 5 scallions
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 Scotch Bonnet peppers (If you can't find them, you can substitute habanero peppers)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger


    For the sauce:
  1. Prepare the scallions, garlic, onion and thyme by chopping them prior to placing them in the food processor.
  2. Do the same with the peppers. These are pretty hot, so you may want to wear gloves to keep from rubbing any of the oil in your eyes or nose. You can remove the seeds for a milder sauce, but for an authentic marinade/table sauce, you should use the whole peppers.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse a few times.
  4. Turn on to puree for 2-3 minutes until the sauce is uniformly consistent.
  5. Move to a container where it can be stored refrigerated for up to one month. Recipe yields about 3 cups of sauce.
  6. Chicken prep:
  7. Use a fork to poke holes in the chicken to permit deeper penetration of the marinade.
  8. Drizzle and rub marinade all over the chicken. Reserve any remaining marinade to use as a table sauce.
  9. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. I aim for more like 12-24 hours.
  10. Wood chips prep:
  11. Soak a handful of Pimento wood chips in water for at least an hour prior to the cook. You want the wood to smoke and smolder, rather than burn.
  12. Prior to starting the cooker, wrap the soaked wood chips in aluminum foil.
  13. The cook:
  14. Setup the Egg for indirect heat. Aim for a cooking grid temperature of about 275F.
  15. Remove the marinated chicken from the fridge. Discard any of the remaining used marinade.
  16. Place the aluminum foil pack of Pimento wood on top of the lit coals. You should have an opening in the top of the aluminum foil pack to release the smoke.
  17. Overcook the chicken slightly to an internal temp of 175-180F. For chicken breasts, this will take about an hour. For a whole chicken or quarters, you may be looking at two and a half hours or more.
  18. It's irie! Top with table sauce and serve over saffron rice and black beans.

Setup the BGE for direct cooking

I have a good friend who recently received a Big Green Egg as a Christmas gift. He’s without prep space at the moment as he and his wife have been remodeling their kitchen and I am sad for his Egg as it sits lonely on his patio, all white and pristine. I thought I’d toss him a bone on the burn in procedure for the Egg and realized that, while I had a blog post for indirect heat, I hadn’t done one for direct heat. Continue reading

Setup the BGE for indirect cooking

So now that the Egg is cleaned out, I’m ready to start getting ready for TurkeyPalooza 2012.

Being that my back patio is covered and there is 0% chance of rain. I can do this the night before too. If you recall, we started with a clean and empty Big Green Egg.

1. Insert the electric starter (if that’s what you’re using). Pour natural lump charcoal over the top. There are a bazillion different brands out there. I use the “official” stuff lately. Don’t be afraid to reach in there and move individual chunks of charcoal around. For indirect cooking, you want to build a stable, controlled fire.

2. (optional) Add a couple small chunks of wood for smoke. For the turkey, I’m going with Apple. For God’s sake, do not use mesquite for poultry or pork.

3. Add more natural lump charcoal. The idea is to get a full load of coal. At least to cover the holes in the fire bowl. And, for long cooks, you can go as high as near the top of the fire ring if you have to.

For the actual cook:

4. Plug in the electric starter. Open the bottom and top vents all the way for maximum air flow. For a high temp cook, I’ll leave this in for 6 or 7 minutes. for a low temperature cook, I may only leave it in for 3 or 4 minutes.

5. Close the lid. Let the grill pre-heat. Do not leave the grill unattended. You’ll want to start adjusting the vents when you get within 25 – 50 degrees of your intended temperature. For the Turkey, I’m looking for a “dome temp” of 350F, which means the cooking surface should be a slightly cooler 325F. Pro Tip: Be willing to spend time getting your fire right. Your brisket, chicken and pork (and hopefully my turkey) are worth getting this right. If I’m doing a cut of meat that people consider to have a high degree of difficulty (read: brisket), it is not uncommon for me to spend 45 minutes to an hour before I consider my fire to be “right.” One of my friends convinced me this was OK the day before my first brisket and I am glad that he did.

6. Once you’ve preheated and your fire is stable, add the ceramic platesetter. For turkey (for basically anything except pizza), I’m using it inverted with the feet facing up. This will leave room for me to insert a roasting pan to catch drippings. Close the lid and allow the temperature to normalize again. You may need to adjust your vents to permit more air flow.

7. Add the meat. In the case of the turkey, add the turkey, breast side up in a V Rack. I also have a probe thermometer in the turkey breast so that I get an audible alarm when the breast meat reaches 165F.

8. Stick with the grill for another 20 to 30 minutes to be sure the temperature holds steady. And then walk away. Sometimes I check the dome temperature every couple of hours. Sometimes I watch football. Sometimes I just sleep. Whatever you do, keep the lid closed.

Chicken Pignoli Pasta

As it turns out, I can also cook inside the house. This is a go-to recipe at home when we’re looking for some lighter Italian fare. The flavor profile is a little like piccata. The original recipe came from a former employer and was made with shrimp. Tonight I’m cooking with chicken instead. This recipe is quick (since most of the ingredients are ready to use) and usually leaves leftovers for lunch the next day. With this recipe, I tend to throw ingredients into the pan by handful, rather than measure.

Extra virgin olive oil
1 lb box pasta (we tend to use whole wheat penne or rotini, but have been known to use Angel Hair or Spaghetti in a pinch)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 small jar of capers
Pine nuts
Italian seasoning
Parmesan reggiano cheese (there is no such thing as anything else)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (substitute shrimp if you prefer)
Getting setup:
1. Set a pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to directions.
2. Go once around the pan with the Olive oil. Turn the range to medium heat
3. Rub olive oil on the chicken, sprinkle with salt, shake on Italian seasoning.
4. Cook chicken over medium heat.
5. When chicken is cooked, remove from heat and move to cutting board.
Shredding the chicken:
Take two forks, rounded ends back to back. Hold the chicken with one fork and pull with the other. This feels a little odd at first and you probably won’t feel like you’re making any progress at first. You’ll develop a feel for this. And it will make its way into other chicken recipes. I do admit I have to give Giada credit for this technique.

Prepare sauce:
1. Go once around the pan with more olive oil.
2. Add minced garlic, stir for 30 seconds
3. Add all the artichoke hearts (you can separate them with a wooden spatula) and about 2/3 of the capers (and all of the caper juice). Add chicken back to mixture.
4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer
3. For the last couple minutes, add pine nuts and stir. Add a little salt to bring out the other flavors.
Putting it all together:
1. Drain the pasta, return the pasta back to the pot.
2. Add the sauce, chicken and pine nuts to the pot.
3. Mix thoroughly.
4. Serve. Grate fresh parmesan reggiano cheese
Sometimes I’ll toss in some sun dried tomatoes or a drained can of diced tomatoes to add color. You can also use some lemon juice or zest to make it even more piccata like. This pairs especially well with a sweet Italian white wine. We like Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, because it’s one of the wines I drank while I was in Rome.