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

Judy MayberryJudy Mayberry Posts: 1,518
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.

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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.

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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.

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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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