Thursday, June 13, 2013

Smoked Wings with Homemade Ranch Dip

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year since we got our smoker. Since then we’ve smoked ribs, we’ve smoked pork butt, we’ve smoked salmon. And three times, we’ve smoked chicken wings. It all turned out fabulous, don’t get me wrong, but the wings are so easy (relatively) and so, so good. That’s why we make them so often. And I should clarify, when I say “we” I definitely mean the Hubs. The smoker is his baby and he handles everything from start to finish. I just make the sauces. Speaking of which, I have this great recipe for homemade Ranch dip that goes well with the wings. I found it on Carla’s Confections. It’s garlicky with a hint of dill, and a smidge thinner and slightly chunkier than the stuff you buy at the store, which makes it perfect for dipping your wings! The wings themselves are a tiny big spicy, with tons of great smoky flavor. We found the rub recipe on The Black Peppercorn.

¾ cup paprika
½ cup sugar
½ cup salt
¼ cup ground black pepper
3 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp dry mustard
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp sage

This makes a ton of dry rub, so if you aren’t having a huge party, you might want to cut it down. Mix all the ingredients together well in a Tupperware container or mason jar. You can store leftovers in the fridge and use it for other chicken or pork or hey, more chicken wings.

The Hubs gets full wings and breaks them down instead of getting precut drummies. Cut it at the joints and toss the wing tips (unless you have some great recipe for them that I don’t know about). You’ll want to get the rub on the wings 24 hours in advance if possible. It just helps the flavor to seep into the wings a little bit. On the day you’re going to smoke them, put them in a single layer into a disposable metal tray (or two, or more) with a lip. The lip is important because your next step is to slice pats of butter and scatter them on top of the chicken. This is the Hubs secret for keeping the wings moist (and delicious!). I’d say roughly a stick of butter per 9 by 12 tray.

Hopefully if you are interested enough in smoking wings I don’t have to explain to you how to use a smoker. Get it up to 200-225 degrees and keep it there as you smoke the wings for around two hours. We use Mesquite wood, but I've also heard that any fruit tree is great for chicken. To make sure they are done, cut one open after the two hours and make sure the juices run clear. If you want to use a meat thermometer instead, just make sure the internal temp is up to 160 degrees. 

1 c mayonnaise
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 Tbsp green onion chopped small
2 large cloves of garlic
1/8 - 1/4 c milk (more if needed)
1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsp fresh dill, bruised
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the dip flavors to develop you want to make it ahead of time. At least two hours, but I think it’s better to make it a day ahead if you can. Mix all the ingredients together and stir well. I wanted my dip to be a little thinner so I was close to the ¼ cup of milk, maybe more. If the chunky texture bothers you, you can always make it in the food processor. This makes a good amount of dip, but if you have leftovers there are plenty of places to use good Ranch. I’m sure you’ll come up with something!

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