Here's a recipe I worked on during my adventures living on St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. I got pretty close, but I knew I ultimately wanted to try them on a grill.
But first, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia yesterday. When did chicken wings stop coming all knotted up like pretzels with the meaty part tucked over the meatless tip part? Where does that meatless tip part go these days, when you buy a bag of chicken wings and you only get the meaty part and the middle part? In my nostalgic stupor, I could picture my sainted mother frying up a batch of chicken wings. Any of you youngsters remember when chicken wings were sold in the store on the cheap, a nickel or so a pound, before Buffalo made them a gourmet item? Sainted mommy would fry up a batch of wings the day before payday.
Ah well, it just struck me when I saw these little gems in the butcher counter (for a "sale" price of $1.99 a pound... And when did chicken wings get more expensive than Chicken legs???) But I digress...
In my neighborhood cooking among a few of the men is enjoyably competitive. Some neighbors may measure the size of their backyard pools, our little Cul de Sac of heaven measures the quality if their smokers (although it is not the size, nor the cost, it is knowing how to use the equipment you do have... But I digress).
I'll be honest, I had surrendered the neighborhood chicken wing crown to my buddy couple doors down. His wings are spectacular. He puts lots of effort in them, and he is puffed up with pride when there is an occasion for him to bring his wings. Always an empty pan when he brings them.
So, after a couple of feeble attempts, I just stopped trying. I will stack my pulled pork against anyones, but chicken wings... I gave up.
Till now. I am very excited to finally give these a shot for a neighborhood party. I will be showied up with a pan of these bad boys and the Great chicken wing battle in the Cul de Sac was on.
As all good chicken wings should have, these have a kick. I was able to find a storefront that sells dried scotch bonnet peppers here. These are like gold, VERY hot, and heaven as a seasoning. A big bag of these bad boys came home with me as one of my favorite souvenirs from the island. A quick internet search will find them mail order. While the freshness will suffer, they will still be worth it.
But the real secret to these wings are the pineapple Glaze I do during the last 15 minutes cooking time. The heat from the pepper, the sweetness of the pineapple, and you have a challenge to the cul de sac crown.
I am very proud of the spice mix I make. However, if you are less ambitious, in a pinch, the pre-mixed packages that are sold in all BBQ specialty outlets, and most large grocery store will work fine. A Caribbean mixture, heavy on pepper will work.
I start with a fresh batch of my Jerk spice mix...
1/4 cups Sweet Paprika
1 TBS Garlic Flakes
1 TBS Onion Flakes
1 TBS Dried Thyme Leaves
1 TBS Dired Oregano
1 TBS Black Pepper
2 TBS White Pepper
2 tsp (TEAspoons) Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Ground Bay Leaves
This is my Cajun spice mix. For the wings, I added two additional spices to make a Jerk spice mix...
1 TBS Allspice
1/2 tsp (TEAspoon) ground Scotch Bonnet Pepper
(these are very hot, so a little does a big job... These are the only two ingredients that are not a part of my Cajun mix)
I add about 1/4 cup of flour so that the spice bakes into the wing and sticks better...
1/4 cup flour
And that is the secret recipe for my Jerk spice.
I prepare an egg dip with 2 eggs beaten and 1/4 cup of pineapple rum.
Here's my steps...
- Dry the wings between paper towels
- Dip each wing into the egg/rum mixture
- Dredge the wet wing through the Cajun/jerk spice mixture
- Line em up on a sheet of parchment paper (easy clean up) on a baking sheet
- Grill over direct heat with the grill grate raised so they are at about a medium (350 degree heat) for 45 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.
After 45 minutes, I brushed on pineapple. I took some pineapple slices and ran them through my mini chopper till liquid...
And just because, I added 1/4 cup Pineapple Rum.
Time to sweeten these spicy gems up... Just brush on the pineapple juice. Return to the grill, drop the grate so the heat is up to 400 to 450 degrees. We want to crisp them up.
Alright... We have them seasoned and mostly cooked, and now we have added the pineapple sweetness... Time to crisp em up. The extra heat dys the liquid in the pineapple, leaving the taste without the wet. But it also crisps the chicken wings. Not soggy from adding the liquid, still moist inside, but an extra texture level of the crispy.
The party was thrown my my neighbor that is the acknowledged chicken wing Cul de Sac king. He was making chili, and I was to bring "what ever".
My what ever dish came back empty. And I got a raised eyebrow from the king.
Some day soon, the chicken wing gloves will be off for an official Cul de Sac throwdown!