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Anne Leonard

Mike’s chicken wings

Last weekend I smoked some wings for dinner guests. I got a phone call in the process, which resulted in charcoal wings. And yet, my guests not only ate them but asked for the recipe.

No doubt my fire was too hot. Mike would smoke these over about six charcoal briquets while turning them continually.

It was a labor-intensive job and to ward off the boredom, he would drink rum and cokes while he was at it. When I mentioned to a friend that I’d left the rum out of the recipe, he was confused. Marinate wings with rum? No, it was Mike who was marinated in rum.

Refrigerator-door wings

You’ve probably heard of Kitchen Sink wine, or any other food called kitchen sink when it is prepared with whatever is on hand. I call these refrigerator-door wings, because the marinade is simply whatever condiment is aging in your refrigerator. I introduced these at the Grey Duck Hunting Lodge last winter to considerable acclaim:

Marinate wings in barbecue sauce, whole grain mustard, hot sauce (Tabasco or whatever, depending on how much heat you want), chopped garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and anything else handy and appealing on your refrigerator door (teriyaki sauce will add a sweetness). The longer you marinate, the better the wings. Preferably overnight, but three to four hours will do.

Grill over a charcoal fire topped with hickory chips soaked in water. Some Minnesotans, who admittedly have won many a barbecue contest, told me you can’t smoke this way. Mike was a native-born Texan and he made it work. Admittedly, they were more fool proof when using the smoker at Grey Duck.

If doing it Mike’s way, the time it takes depends on the heat of your fire. And how much smoke you want is up to personal taste. Mike liked them very, very smokey, saying: you could cook a dog turd this way and it would be edible.

Turn wings occasionally, until crispy brown. Can be finished off in a covered dish in a hot oven if you want the meat to fall off the bones.

I like these served room temperature, which Mike found an abomination.

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