Ahhhh….foootball season!! What a great time of year! For some, it marks the beginning of fall and cold weather, a time to put away the grill and head inside and get out of the elements. For others, its even more reason to fire up the grill and open a cold one. As for me, I fall in the second group. Not to mention it’s gonna hit 100+ today and I live in Texas where it’s grilling season pretty much year round….at least at our house it is.

So to kick off football season this year, my Baylor Bears will be taking on their oldest rival TCU. A rivalry that stretches way back in time to 1899, when TCU was located in Waco and was called Add-RanChristianUniversity(bet y’all Horned Frogs didn’t know that!). And what better way to kick off the football season then firing up the Big Green Egg and cookin’ some wings! I gotta admit that wings might be one of my favorite things to grill up. So much so that my lovely wife, Stacie, once said, “Wings are a 5th food group as far as my husband is concerned!” I really can’t argue with that, except maybe to say BBQ is the 5th food group.

Now I have a bunch of wing recipes and cooked them plenty of times before on the BGE, but this time I wanted to try something different. A) Because I like to experiment and b) about a month ago I bough Steve Raichlen’s newest book “Planet BBQ”, and have sadly only cooked one thing out of it. What a shame! Looking through the book, the Piri- Piri Chicken Wings had caught my eye and I remember thinking to myself, “Self, you are going to make those and they will be one of the first things out of that book you make and they will be great!” (Yes, I talk to myself a lot, and sometimes I even argue with myself but that’s another story) So that is what I have decided to grill for opening day.

Here’s the raws (minus the cilantro, which somehow we forgot to buy, but we picked up on a quick run to the store and added later).

Marinade ingredients (**Update 7/15/14 Please do me a favor and do NOT use that bottled lemon juice crap. Use REAL lemons. And the zest from them. Thank you)

 

Ingredients

For the Marinade

  • 4.7 oz bottle of Nando’s piri-piri sauce
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3″ piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice +zest of one lemon
  • 2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 lbs chicken wings

For the Glaze

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp Nanado’s piri-piri sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice + zest of one lemon
Pulse the ingredients for the marinade in a food processor

Pulse the ingredients for the marinade in a food processor

Directions

  1. Place the ingredients for the marinade in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Place the chicken in a large 1 gallon Zip-lock bag, pour the marinade over. Place the Zip-lock bag in a large bowl or casserole dish (in case of leaks) and allow to sit 6 hours or up to 24 hours in the fridge. Flip every once in awhile.
  2. Pre-heat your Kamado style grill to 425-450F and set it up for a raised direct cook. For other grills, set up two zones. One side leave fire-free and for the other, set it up to about medium (This will allow you to move the chicken around in case of flare ups)
  3. While the grill is pre-heating, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the cilantro and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Do not let the garlic brown. Stir in the hot sauce, lemon juice and zest. Allow th glaze to simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Drain the wings and discard the marinade. Place the wings on the grill and cook until they reach a temperature of 170 and are crisp. They should take around 15 minutes per side depending on size of wings.
  5. When done, place the wings in a large bowl, drizzle on the glaze, stir to coat and then serve.

I lit the Egg and let it stabilize at 450 F. I set up the Egg for a direct cook, but then used my BGE grill extender, so that even though I was cooking directly over the flames, the grate was raised high enough that I would not have to worry about flare-ups from the fat dripping off my wings burning my wings into a charred inedible mess. Here’s a pic of that set up.

 

Wings going on the Egg

I find when you are grilling, its always good to have something to do to keep you occupied, whether its friends and family, a good book, a simple chore (you don’t want something too difficult that will distract you) or sometimes Man’s best friend.

Oliver’s getting pretty good at catch

Don’t get too distracted, though. Wings do have to be flipped and rotated, not to mention there are other things going on the Egg. Some nice corn and some sausage with cheese.

We’re starting to get there, time for the sides to go on

 When the wings are done, remove them from the grill and drizzle on the glaze.

Piri-piri chicken wings (updated pic 7/15/14)

Piri-piri chicken wings (updated pic 7/15/14)

 

My brother stopped by just in time to eat and watch the game, that’s him on the left.  Sic ‘em Bears!

While these wings are a bit labor intensive on the front end, the results are well worth it. They aren’t like most wings that tend to have a one note flavor…heat. They do bring some heat, but they also bring some citrus flavor from the lemon and a bit of herbaciousness from the cilantro. I would say that they are my wife’s favorite wings by far and when it comes to wings, she always asks for these ones. Of course, you have to plan ahead and get them in that marinade the day before, but you won’t be sorry you did.

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