Every once in a while, I hit a block. I like to call it a “cooking block”. Kinda like writer’s block. I can’t think of anything that I want to cook or that sounds good to me. Sometimes visiting barbecue forums will clear it up. Other times food blogs will inspire me. Neither of those have been really working lately, so in a last ditch effort I grabbed some of my favorite cookbooks and started to leaf through them.
I found my inspiration in Steven Raichlen’s “The Barbecue Bible”. This isn’t generally one of my go to books. It’s a barbecue cookbook with recipes that span the globe from South America to the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa. It covers Europe and Russia. It opens up Central Asia and the Far East with grilling recipes from countries such as India, Bangladesh, Macao, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. One of the reasons it’s not my go to book is the ingredients. Sometimes a recipe and the description sounds amazing only to have some ingredient that I’ve never heard of nor have any idea how to procure. So it gets neglected and occasionally I’ll look at it and say, “Gee, I sure would like to make that but what is aji amarillo? or dried galangal? Can I substitute another pepper for malagueta peppers? Where do can I find allepo peppers? (which by the way I just got some dried and ground allepo pepper, so cross that one off the list of hared to find ingredients)?”
What caught my eye was these wings, though. I made them a long time ago. Like a hundred years ago long time ago. Another lifetime ago. Back when I grilled with….gasp….gas of all things. Not sure why I never made them again as I remember them being good. And everybody else liked them as well. I guess I just forgot about them. Time to make them again. These are pretty much Steven’s ingredients and directions with a few of my changes (which I think I pointed them all out)
This recipe is good for 2.5 to 3 lbs of chicken wings and will serve 4 to 6 as an appetizer (although I used about a pound and a half because it was only for me).
For the Marinade
1/4 cup peanut oil (I’m pretty sure another oil could be subbed)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (do yourself a favor and don’t use the stuff in the plastic bottle)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 Australian beer, such as Foster’s
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Barbecue Sauce
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp red pepper flakes (original recipe calls for 1/2 tsp, but I like heat so I upped it)
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup Australian beer, such as Foster’s
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp dried mustard
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the wings under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Place the chicken in large nonreactive bowl and then stir in next 6 ingredients. Cover and let marinate, in the refrigerator, for 4 hours, turning the wings occasionally (My wings went into the marinade before I left for work and were in for about 12 hours)
Meanwhile, prepare the barbecue sauce. Heat oil in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger and hot pepper flakes and saute, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the onion and garlic are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer the sauce gently until thick and richly flavored, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and measure out about 1 cup. Set it aside for serving. (I made my sauce the day before as a convenience kinda thing and to let the flavors marry)
Preheat the grill to medium-high, about 400F. You should be able to hold you hand over the fire for about 5 seconds. On my Egg, I like to cook them direct on a raised grate to avoid flare ups. On other grills, you may want to set it up for two zones where you can move the wings away from the coals (or flames if you are using propane) in the event of flareups. (And of course they can be cooked in an oven as a last resort)
When ready to cook, oil the grill grate. Drain the wings and arrange them on the hot grate. Grill, turning several times with tongs, until the thicker wing sections are no longer pink near the bone, 12 to 16 minutes in all. Start brushing the wings with sauce the last 5 minutes, then transfer to a platter and brush with sauce again. Those are Steven’s instructions, but like I always say, cook to temp not time. Mine ended up taking about 25-30 minutes and got glazed the last 5 to 8 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on them and turn often after glazing as the sugars in the sauce will burn.
Serve accompanied by the reserved sauce.
Since man can not live on wings alone, I decided to try some Alexia onion rings on the grill. The grill is like an oven, right? The onion rings are touted as being all natural, gourmet quality onion rings with a light and crispy panko breading. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard onion rings and gourmet quality in the same sentence, but I figured I’d give it a shot on a recommendation from a friend. I let them go for about 10 minutes, flipped them and let them cook for another 5-8 minutes just like the package said.
These wings were a satisfying change from the normal wings I am used to. The barbecue sauce had many of the typical elements you expect to find, sweet, tangy, a bit tart and a little bit of heat. You can tell there is ketchup in it, but from what I have read barbecue sauce Down Under is a close cousin ketchup. The wings were very messy from being glazed with the sauce, so if you are anything like me, Do NOTwear a white shirt. The first thing you taste is a sweetness, followed by the tang of the red wine vinegar and lemon juice and finally a little of heat at the end. I was pretty sure doubling the red pepper flakes wasn’t going to push it past my heat tolerance. Truth be told, I was actually hoping for a bit more heat. If I make them again, I might increase it some more or add other spices to increase it. The slight touch of the apple wood smoke really complimented the flavors of the wings as well. Will I ever make them again? I’m not sure. I don’t think Mrs. G would be a big fan of them as she doesn’t really like sweet foods and these start out a bit sweet. (not to mention she’s been telling me I need to make piri-piri chicken wings for here next time I do wings. But that shouldn’t deter you from trying them, especially if you are always looking for new variations of wings like I am. Oh….and the onion rings? They were alright. Crispy like they claimed, but gourmet? Come on! They were frozen onion rings. Nothing special.