chicken wings

There's nothing ground breaking here, but it is a reliable method for sublime wings.

A couple weeks ago I poached a 4 lb chicken with a bunch of veggies to make preparations for chicken and noodles.  As I stripped the carcass of the meat, the skin fell off in large sheets.  I couldn't resist, I needed to do something with it.  I'm not a big fan of chicken skin, but decided to place it on parchment on baking sheet and bake it at 250F.  Towards the end of the baking, I sat by the oven window and watched the darkened skin bake.  There was a uniform bubbling across the surface as it cooked into a near potato chip crispness.  Even at 250F, it was actually cooking like it was frying in oil.  That chicken skin was so fatty and thick, it served is its own deep fryer!
Just out of the oven, crackly potato chip-like rendered chicken skin.
For kicks, I took some wings out of the freezer.  I had a big bargain bag of wings and drummies.  I took a few pieces out, dumped them in water about 15 minutes to thaw them, dried them off with paper towel and placed them on a fry pan, skin side up, with a sprinkle of coarse salt, pepper and squirt of Louisiana hot sauce and baked them at 250F for 2 full hours.  Internal showed at least 180F after an hour but I let them go, wondering if the cloak of thick chicken skin would protect them from getting too dry.  I finished off the wings with a 550F broiler for about 10 minutes (DO NOT LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED!).  
thawed and seasoned
250F for 2h, followed by a 10 minute broil.  SO CRISP!
I will never cook a wing any differently ever again.  Do this.


thoughts on bbq

Since reading Franklin's barbecue book, my world view of low and slow has been completely demolished.  Franklin is dismissive of any smoker set up that uses smoldering fuel, lump or otherwise.  His view is bbq should be cooked from the indirect convective heat produced from a live flame, most often in a smoker with offset firebox.  He doesn't think the heat and smoke emanating from smoldering wood is a good means to create good barbecue.

In one part of the book, he discusses a specific offset firebox.  It's a cylinder where wood spans a lower arc of the circle leaving good airflow beneath.  The fire produced in this way creates a perfect heat source for smoking.

Wouldn't you know, the wood in a kettle grill sits in exactly the same manner.  And, with the vents and all, the airflow and movement is darn good in a kettle.  So, despite Franklin's dissatisfaction with the kettle for 'q, it can be configured quite well for this ideal heat source.

Take my Firedome for instance.  Setting a small oak fire in the kettle and affixing the Firedome lid enables the fire to stay lit, not smoldering.  Because of all the air let in by the lidded door, the heat only gets to about 200 on the center of the grate.  Pretty perfect environment to get a "clean" fire and good smoke from my oak to smoke these pieces of salt-cured salmon.

Given this ideal set up am I ready to take on the ultimate challenge, a brisket?  NO! This type of set up is a pain to maintain.  Replenishing wood every 30 minutes is too much work for an 18 hour brisket not to mention how much wood it would take! But, it does provide a good start.  Now maybe a redesign of the dome for this purpose, fuel type, ventilation scheme, etc. Fun stuff to think about.