My love affair with the chicken wing began in my teenage years in Washington D.C. After either a Friday or Saturday night of attending numerous house parties, often several in one evening (a tradition among young African Americans in D.C. and other urban areas in the sixties and seventies). Afterward, having worked up an appetite at events, car loads of folks would seek out late hour carry out places to pick up something to eat. One of those places was known as “Wings and Things” that featured fried chicken wings. In fact, their slogan was “a chicken ain’t nothing but the wings the thing.” They also included their famous “mumbo sauce” that when mentioned in certain D.C. social circles brings back memories of those most satisfying late night culinary experiences. As time passed I ventured into my backyard and engaged in the great American male rite of passage barbecuing. Of course chicken was a requirement and the wing was certainly my favorite piece of the bird. So began my quest to create the ultimate feeling of satisfaction, grilling the perfect chicken wing.
Marinade is the key to flavor. I often will marinade pieces of natural chicken wings (none of those oversize ones!) with jerk chicken marinade. The closer to the original Jamaican sauce the better but you can purchase reasonable substitute including Lawry’s jerk marinade at your grocery store. Marinade your wings overnight and you may add to the marinade fresh pieces of cut up onions and garlic.
Seasoning and Baking:
After marinating, place chicken in aluminum pan, draining the marinade, and then add additional marinade sauce (I like to drain the marinade from overnight and refresh prior to cooking). Season generously with jerk chicken seasoning, and augment lightly with garlic pepper, and a couple of tablespoons of pineapple juice (optional). Cover chicken with aluminum foil and place in over pre-heated to 350 degrees for about 35 minutes (may vary depending on number of pieces of chicken).
Prepare grill (preferably charcoal) with about half of grill not exposed directly to heat from the coals. Light coals and wait until charcoals are gray and there is not more flame (this helps to avoid burning the chicken). Remove chicken from oven and place on side of grill, skin side up and not directly exposed to charcoal (indirect heat). While on grill baste the chicken with additional jerk marinade. Cover and let cook for about 20 minutes and then turn and cooks for another 10 minutes. These times may vary depending on your grill design and heat generated. Chicken (like love making) is best when you take your time slowly and must always be completed.
This recipe can be modified easily by changing your marinade and seasonings to produce a wide range of variations. For instance, I have marinated with teriyaki, mesquite, and various forms of Louisiana pepper sauces.
I prepared this write up at the request of Garry Lewis, my life-long friend who was my inspiration pursuing an interests in culinary arts. He will hopefully share my chicken wing recipe on Food So Good Mall which I am most excited about.
Author: Steve Rickman