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1st Time Wings--Took a Lot of Your Advice (long!)

Judy MayberryJudy Mayberry Posts: 1,609
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
I asked for help making a big batch of wings for a party using two grids on the Large and had lots of good suggestions. Well, I also learned WHAT NOT to do and why, if it'll help any other first-wingers.

The reason this is so long is that I've learned from selling things on eBay that if you put all the details in at the beginning, you don't get all those emails asking for them that you have to answer.

First, I priced wings. An economy supermarket had 5-lb. max-packs of whole wings for $13 EACH. A neighborhood market geared toward the heavily Latino population had them on sale for 88¢ a lb.! So, how much to buy for 20-30 people just as an additional party dish? I asked the guy to tell me how many were in a pound, he did, and with Scott Bishop's advice in my head, I said "6 pounds." Then I had him add 4 more wings. That would make 70± pieces, and it cost me $5.42.

Next, I decided to cut them up FIRST, not after they're cooked so they'd take up less grid space and save me messy trouble at the end. So I decided not to use the standing chicken racks. I watched Chris in Knoxville (NibbleMeThis.com)'s video on how to cut them apart:

http://www.nibblemethis.com/2009/06/30-20-10-smoked-hot-wings.html

BIG help and timesaver. Then I put them in a big bowl, oiled them, and laid them in a sheet pan. Whisked DP Raging River and some cornstarch (it had lumps) in a bowl and sprinkled them from high up on both sides, put the open pan in refrigerator for however long before cooking.

IMG_0355.jpg

The setup was a spider, foil-covered pizza stone, and foil-covered drip pan filled with water (important!). I stuck a chunk of apple wood in the center of the lump before lighting it. The adjustable rig with a lower grid and another sitting on top was ready for loading the chicken pieces.

When it was stabilized at 350° I put the chicken on the two grids. The temperatures that folks suggested were all over the place, so I decided to see what 350° would turn out like.

IMG_0356.jpg

What happened was that the chicken on the bottom grid cooked faster, and the pieces around the edges (remember the stone is smaller than the fire area) would scorch. thirdeye's "ThirdHand" tool for lifting off the top grid with 30+ small pieces on it was a godsend! I felt real professional swishing that grid on and off at will! The top grid edges were a trouble spot too, but that level of cooking was slower than the bottom one.

I tossed the cooked pieces in AZRP's "The Wing" sauce. I really like Randy's chicken sauces because I always have all those ingredients already on hand and don't have to think twice; the sauce was ready and waiting. I put all the pieces back on the top grid for 10-15 minutes of cooking to firm up the sauce and they were ready to go. The whole thing (after cutting up the wings) took 2 hours, from lighting the lump to walking out the door.

IMG_0359.jpg

What I'd do differently:

1. Use the platesetter so I don't have so much unprotected edges.

2. Not make my first cook so huge, with two levels and so many pieces to turn and monitor--keep it simple with a small batch and one grid as high up as possible--and for a small batch maybe make the whole wing and let everyone deal with ripping it apart themselves.

3. Cook at a lower temperature for more control over the browning even if it's going to take longer.

Of course the crispy wings were the hit of the party and made quite a buzz, even though I thought they were overdone and kind of dry...but most people don't have the discriminating power we do when we taste REALLY good food from the Egg! The poor fools.
Judy in San Diego
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Comments

  • elzbthelzbth Posts: 2,075
    Judy - you post is very helpful. I came to the same conclusion as you about cutting them up beforehand - that's a lot of work. Heck, wings are finger food and most people think nothing of pulling them apart! I can see why they were the hit of the party - they look delicious... :laugh:
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  • Judy, I don't feel sorry for the poor fools at all! I bet the wings were great! We eggers are such perfectionists!
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  • Judy MayberryJudy Mayberry Posts: 1,609
    Faith, you are so right about that. My son-in-law was raving about them and he got his first Egg a month ago, so he's still figuring out how to cook on it. I give him a few months and I think he'll be singing a different tune!

    I'm sending you an email about a different topic. It will give you hope.
    Judy in San Diego
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  • Judy MayberryJudy Mayberry Posts: 1,609
    Whoops...need your real email address, it's got a photo in it and don't know how that will work here. Please send.
    Judy in San Diego
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  • Judy MayberryJudy Mayberry Posts: 1,609
    Thanks, Elizabeth. Now that I know how much prep is involved, I won't be as spontaneous about it as I am about other items!
    Judy in San Diego
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  • deepsouthdeepsouth Posts: 1,788
    those look great and what a price!

    for crispiness, i now add a bit of corn starch and mix them well.
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  • smbishopsmbishop Posts: 1,027
    I sure hope 6lbs was the right amount!
    Large, Small, and a LOT of Eggcessories!  Southlake, TX
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  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,665
    They look great Judy. Yes we are our own biggest critics ;)
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  • FluffybFluffyb Posts: 1,815
    Great job Judy! I'm sure your "not that great wings" were better than any "really great wings" the partygoers have ever had! Such a deal on the wings, I'm going to take that tip and check Latin markets here next time I'm making up a larger batch.
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  • Judy MayberryJudy Mayberry Posts: 1,609
    6 lbs. + impulsively several more for good luck...right on the nose, Scott!
    Judy in San Diego
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  • Judy MayberryJudy Mayberry Posts: 1,609
    Teresa: It's time I gave you some ideas...you have been so generous to me!
    Judy in San Diego
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  • EggsakleyEggsakley Posts: 1,014
    Excellent post and wonderful advice. I'm sure the consumers of these wings will speak of them for eons.
    Wings can get a bit dry at times when going for that crispy skin which I prefer over the slimey type served in most restaurants, but they are still great, and I'll bet yours were flavored better than any they have had before. Shoulders back and head up, you probably blew their socks off. :)
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  • Austin  EggheadAustin Egghead Posts: 3,303
    Judy wrote:
    ... keep it simple with a small batch and one grid as high up as possible--and for a small batch maybe make the whole wing and let everyone deal with ripping it apart themselves.
    I don't go out of my way to do wings, I would rather cook the entire chicken, but after watching everyone who cook wings at the cornfest today, you have it right about small batches. They did one layer batches and there was always someone happily munching them down.
    Eggin in SW "Keep it Weird" TX
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  • Judy MayberryJudy Mayberry Posts: 1,609
    Yeah. You know what's nice? I've never heard you be critical yourself (except with Steven) with anyone else. That goes for almost all our friends here (except for the part about Steven, of course) and that's what make this such a special place.
    Judy in San Diego
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  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,665
    He just makes it so easy, and fun, to pick on :laugh:
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  • Mr HollowayMr Holloway Posts: 2,034
    Great post Judy
    Just had one of my first fails on the Egg(my opinion only :laugh: )with chicken wings on the menu.
    Nothing to do with the Egg, just bad planning
    I will use some of these tips. :)

    Shane
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  • RRPRRP Posts: 14,651
    Judy,

    Looks great and I bet you still have people talking! One bit of advice I will share - I always use my plate setter inverted and covered with foil to make clean up easier. The other advantage is I find I never need to flip my wings that way! Half way through though I sometimes pick up the grate and do a 180° turn just in case there is a hot or cold spot somewhere. BTW I even closely abut my wing pieces and can get 40 on just the one layer on my large.

    Ron
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
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  • Judy MayberryJudy Mayberry Posts: 1,609
    Thanks for the good advice. I just added it to my file.
    Judy in San Diego
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  • ebrooker007ebrooker007 Posts: 154
    The fastest way I have found to prepare the wings is just using chicken sheets. Alot of times I just cut the wing tip off and leave the drumette and wingette together.
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  • Judy MayberryJudy Mayberry Posts: 1,609
    What is a chicken sheet? Dare I ask.
    Judy in San Diego
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  • cookn bikercookn biker Posts: 13,283
    Great post Judy!! Executed very well!! ;)
    Molly
    Colorado Springs
    "Loney Queen"
    "Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it."
    Bill Bradley; American hall of fame basketball player, Rhodes scholar, former U.S. Senator from New Jersey
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  • Great post!
    Can just see you whipping those racks around!
    Did some from frozen Friday eve....bought Tyson 10# bag from Sam's and they were too salty from 10% broth although labeled "all natural " :pinch: Usually buy Pilgrim's Pride.
    Another way to go direct is with AR....since I was finishing off some used lump on this batch, just went with regular set up at 350, lump was just above side vents in firebox.
    So many was to do wings! All good results..just can't rush 'em ;)
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  • Le Oeuf VertLe Oeuf Vert Posts: 512
    Sounds like they came out fine. Great narrative. Thanks for posting.
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  • eenie meenieeenie meenie Posts: 4,391
    Judy, the wings look great. :) The egg gives you so many options for cooking them.
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  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,755
    Judy, the wings look great. Sometimes as cooks we are our own worst critics.

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

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