Fire Eater Chicken Wings

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Fire Eater Chicken Wings recipe

Shop: Pimentón can be found at Iberian markets and many supermarkets or online at

2 raw wings (all 3 sections attached) to show how to cut into sections
1 can of pimenton —remaining rub ingredients can be in a bowl
1 batch of cooked wings — can be prepared the night ahead and rewarmed
1 batch of sauce ingredients measured out
1 8 to 10 inch skillet — preferably cast iron

Serves: 6 as an appetizer, 4 as a light main course.

For the seasoning mixture:

1 tablespoons pimentón or sweet paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon onion or garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil

For the sauce:

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 to 5 jalapeno peppers (preferably red, or other hot peppers—depends on your tolerance for heat), thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce (Frank’s RedHot®, Crystal Hot Sauce, or Tabasco)
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)

You’ll also need: 1-1/2 hardwood chips, soaked in water to cover for 30 minutes, then drained.

Set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium-high (400 degrees). Brush and oil the grill grate

Cut each chicken wing through the joints into 2 sections, the drumette and the flat, discarding the wing tip (or save it for stock). Place the wings in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, combine the pimentón , salt, pepper, cayenne, onion and garlic powder, and celery seed, if using and mix with your fingers. Sprinkle over the chicken and toss to mix. Add the olive oil and toss to mix.

Arrange the chicken wings rounded side up on the grate over the drip pan away from the heat. Leave a little space between each wing. Toss the wood chips on the coals (or place in the smoker box of your gas grill.) Indirect grill the wings, turning once with tongs, until darkly browned and cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the wings. To check for doneness, make a slit in the thickest part of the largest drumette: there should be no traces of pink.

Don’t have access to a grill? Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place a wire rack over a foil lined baking sheet. Oil the rack with a folded paper towel dipped in vegetable oil. Arrange the wings on the rack. Bake until browned and cooked through, turning once or twice with tongs, 40 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in skillet. (Bubbles will dance when you dip a chile slice in the butter.) Add the chile slices and cilantro to the butter and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant, 2 minutes. Stir in the hot sauce and bring to a boil. If cooking the wings in the oven or on a gas grill, add a few drops of liquid smoke.

Transfer the chicken wings to a large shallow bowl. Pour most of the butter mixture over them and toss to mix, reserving some of the chile slices. Pour the remaining butter mixture and chiles on top and serve at once.

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