I’ll begin by quoting Neil Rankin…
‘When you start getting serious over chicken wings,
you should start re-evaluating your priorities in life’
Wings are about getting messy, tasting great and for me most of all…….sharing.
Spicy, sweet, herby, garlicky, buttery, melt in the mouth chicken wings. The stuff that BBQ dreams are made of. This particular dream was inspired by a recipe from my friend and member of the UK BBQ community, Marcus Hender, and these buffalo ranch chicken wings are to die for!! I have a bit of a thing for a chicken wing :)
I’ll be honest though, I was a little dubious when Marcus explained what the marinade consisted of, but the guy knows his food so I trusted him completely. Now don’t be alarmed at the use of a whole bottle of hot sauce in the marinade, as the ranch dressing rounds out the heat leaving a really pleasant warmth that casually sidles up on your taste buds and gives them a big cuddle. My two year old daughter virtually inhaled them!
If you follow the blog, you’ll know that I’m all about family friendly food that’s both simple and flavour packed. This ticks all those boxes, as well as being a really inexpensive part of the chicken. I urge you to try these. And make more than you think you’ll need to avoid disappointment. They disappear FAST!
2 kg chicken wings
1 bottle of Franks Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce (148ml)
1 bottle of ranch dressing (I used Newmans Own 250ml)
A few tbsp of your favourite BBQ rub (optional)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp butter (I used smoked butter but don’t worry if you don’t have any)
An overnight marinade is best here, but a minimum of 4 hours will be ok.
I like to separate my wings into drumettes and winglets, saving the wing tips for making stock another day (throw them into a bag and stick them in the freezer). But you can leave the whole wing in one piece, it’s entirely down to how you like to eat them. I find that I can get a higher blue cheese dip to meat ratio doing it my way :)
Pop the chicken into a large zip lock bag (or a big bowl) and pour on the hot sauce and ranch dressing. Massage the bag to combine. Set aside in the fridge overnight.
I cook my wings on the BBQ, which I set up for indirect cooking at 300˚f/150˚c. You could do them in the oven and finish them off under a hot grill though.
Remove the wing pieces from the marinade, shaking off any excess, and pop them onto a tray. Pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and set aside. This next step is optional, but I sprinkled my wings with some amazing ‘Rib Tickler’ from Quiet Water Farm. Use your favourite rub.
Once your grill is up to temperature, add a chunk of smoking wood if you like, something nice and subtle (see here for a Smoking Wood Guide) and then lay the wings on the indirect side of the cooking grate. Smoke the wings for an hour.
While the wings are cooking put together the baste by adding the garlic to the remaining marinade and heat until piping hot. Simmer for 5 minutes, add the butter and stir though to melt. Alternatively, I just popped the marinade in a little balti dish with the butter and garlic and threw it on the BBQ with the chicken.
Once the wings have had an hour, give them a further 30 minutes basting twice in that time. Your wings will be meltingly tender now. To finish them off, give them a very quick flash over direct heat to char the skin a little.
Serve however you want. They’re excellent with a simple blue cheese dip made up of
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 small clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- salt and freshly ground pepper