Tailgate Season & Open Fire Wings

Chef Jay Ducote's Take on Wings for Tailgating!


By Chef Jay Ducote, of Gov't Taco

I love chicken wings. They're incredible snacks for so many occasions, and can be cooked in countless ways. Whether it's a deep fried buffalo wing or a whole wing cooked low and slow on the smoker, wings are my jam. When the air gets crisp in the fall, I like grilling my chicken wings on the Sea Island Forge Fire Kettle. There's something about the kiss of the open flame that sets the grilled wing apart from others.



The first step to my open-fire grilled wings is a brine. There are many options here, just so long as you're using salt and the power of osmosis to give you juicier chicken. I'm a big fan of the sweet tea brine, but feel free to experiment with beer or wine, apple juice, or brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. Or get creative. Feel free to add other sugars as well as herbs and spices. If you think the flavors will work with chicken, then brine it! Just make sure your brine has salt at a ratio of approximately 10 oz (by weight) to each gallon of water/liquid. Brine your whole wings for at least four hours. If they are small drumettes and flaps, you can do as little as two hours, but I prefer those for the fryer. When going to the grill, I like the jumbo whole wings!   


From there, remove the wings from the brine and pat them dry. Apply a dry rub and let them sit out while you're getting your fire going. Grill them on the Sea Island Forge grill set up over direct heat, but adjust the height or swing the grill to the side if the flame gets too strong. You want the skin on the wings to dry out and get crispy without burning or totally cracking. Using tongs, turn the wings so you're getting direct heat on both sides. Make sure the internal temperature reaches 165F before removing them from the grill. If you need to speed up the process, use the Sea Island Forge heat dome to help create some convection cooking. 



For whole, flame-grilled wings like this with a proper dry rub like Jay D's Hot Chicken Rub or Jay D's Spicy & Sweet BBQ Rub, I don't like to sauce my wings. A dipping sauce can be nice, especially a bleu cheese to help with the heat on the hot chicken or an Alabama-style white BBQ sauce, but otherwise I don't like treating these like buffalo wings and tossing them in sauce. I do sometimes toss them in a little extra rub, though! Just let them cool until they're ready to eat off the bone, and dig in to all that brined, dry rubbed, flame-kissed chicken wing goodness!


You can't rush the perfect fire. (Here's how to build it.) So enjoy some cornhole and a cold beverage while it burns down to a nice bed of coals.

Hearty tailgate favorites like chicken wings, burgers, and ribs go right on the Grill. Or keep a pot of chili going on the Side Kick. We love the way Smithey Ironware's Dutch Oven and skillets perform on our Kettle.

And let the kids get in on the fun cooking hotdogs and sausages  with our Roasting Forks. All of our hand-held accessories keep your hands a safe and comfortable distance from the flame.


Maybe you have bragging rights for 365 days or it's a "wait til' next year" kind of game. Either way, long after the great play or the bad call has been forgotten, the memories will last and the traditions passed down for years to come.


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