Courtesy of chef Reinaldo Alfonso, Frankford Hall and Fette Sau, Philadelphia; this recipe is part of Wine Spectator's Super Bowl LII pairing feature.
“Hot wings and football go hand in hand! Having the ability to smoke them makes them even more craveable. The way I developed the rub was by thinking of some of the garnishes that are usually served with hot wings. Cayenne for heat, and celery seeds for celery sticks. They’re brined in a very simple salt and sugar brine to make them juicier than a typical wing and so they are seasoned throughout," says chef Reinaldo Alfonso.
"Having lived in Memphis, Tenn., for a while, I got to travel through the South, eating my way through the barbecue belt. White barbecue sauce is primarily seen in Alabama, served alongside smoked chicken. I wanted to offer something other than ranch or blue cheese and thought it would be fun to introduce people [in Philadelphia] to a sauce they’ve probably never seen or heard of.”
Recipe notes: This recipe is easily doubled or tripled. Wings can be smoked up to three days in advance and refrigerated, then baked at 375° F until hot. Wings may also be cooked in a fryer for a crispier version.
If a smoker or grill isn’t available, these can be made in a home oven: Add 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke to the brine. Toss the wings with the rub after they have been brined and place on a greased sheet pan. Bake at 375° F until cooked through and crispy, about 45 minutes.
White barbecue sauce is a staple of Alabama. If you crave blue cheese, add some to this recipe—it’s delicious! More traditional barbecue sauces are also a fine substitution.
1. In a container large enough to combine the wings and brine, mix the water, salt and sugar. Whisk until sugar and salt has completely dissolved, and add the chicken wings. Refrigerate for 3 hours.
2. Remove wings and rinse with cold water. In a bowl, toss wings with 5 ounces of rub (1 ounce of rub per pound of wings).
3. Set smoker or grill to 275° F for indirect cooking. Place wings on the smoker or grill and cook for 2 hours. Check that internal temperature has reached 160° F. Serve with barbecue sauce and garnish as desired.
1. Combine ingredients and mix. Makes 14 ounces.
1. Combine ingredients and mix thoroughly. Makes 26 ounces.