It seems like for the past few months almost that I’ve been on a big time chicken wing kick. And I mean, BIG TIME. I think I have averaged chicken wings about 2-3 times per week. I think one of the best things about chicken wings has to be the fact that the cooking method really doesn’t change, you can add an infinite variety of seasonings and sauces so it’s impossible to get bored with this awesome party dish.
The other day, we were visiting our friends in Redondo Beach just a few miles South of us to hang out with their two amazing kids. They also have a pretty sweet smoker that we can use (I actually used the same smoker to make my Home Cured Bacon and Cajun Smoked Chicken). One day I will have my own, but for now, I’m lucky enough to be able to use theirs (as long as I pay a meat tax). Since I had such great success with the bacon and the chicken a few months earlier, I figured what better way to make my new favorite chicken dish than on the smoker?
I also had to make my favorite condiment and dipping sauce to go along with the wings. I’m actually surprised it took me this long to make a clean version. I’m talking of course about Ranch Dressing. Now I know that the more common dipping sauce with chicken wings is blue cheese, but to be honest, I’ve always been a much bigger fan of ranch…and in my opinion it’s much more versatile. It’s like pizza, good with anything.
One great thing about this time around I had a little helper every step of the way. From prepping and lighting the smoker, to seasoning the chicken and making the ranch dressing. Little Smith was so eager to check out how everything was done he seasoned the chicken with the rub and tasted all the elements of the ranch (he even found he loved fresh dill and just ate it right off the fronds). After waiting patiently for the wings to smoke, he eagerly waited just a little longer while I photographed them. Once I gave him the go ahead, he dove in right away and exclaimed, ‘These are so good, I could eat them all day!’
- 2 lbs chicken wings
- 2 tbs + 1 tbs celtic sea salt
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chipotle powder
- 1 cup paleo mayo
- 3 tbs sour cream
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 2 fronds fresh dill, chopped
- handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Add chicken wings to a large zipper bag with 2 tbs sea salt. Seal and rub chicken until evenly coated. Refrigerate for 24 hours but up to 48 hours.
- An hour before cooking, soak 3-4 wood chunks of your choice in water and set aside
- Remove chicken from fridge, rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel. Set aside to rest 20-30 minutes
- Using a charcoal chimney starter, light charcoal and leave in chimney until charcoal starts to ash over
- While charcoal is preheating, add all seasonings to a small mixing bowl, and mix well
- Liberally coat chicken on all sides and set aside
- Spread out hot coals evenly in the bottom of the smoker, there should be enough for 2 layers of charcoal
- Remove wood chunks from water and add to coals
- Fill water pan or other high heat resistant container with water and place in smoker
- Add chicken to cooking grate and cover
- Smoke chicken for 90 minutes at 230°-260°F. Resist the urge to lift the lid. Each time you open the lid, add 15 minutes to your cook time
- Remove from smoker and let cool for 15-20 minutes
- Serve with homemade ranch as a dipping sauce and enjoy.
- Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and combine with a whisk until evenly combined.
- If ranch is too thick for your tastes, simply add more buttermilk and whisk.
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