Oakridge BBQ makes a wide range of dry rubs - all of them are excellent. Now - I love hot wings but it's not just about heat - it's got to be flavor AND heat. If you feel the same way - this is THE dry rub.
Most hot wings are deep fried and then tossed in sauce to make the hot. I prefer getting some dry rub on the wings and then smoking them. I'm also a fan of soaking in a vinegar based hot sauce (Frank's) but the wings can get dried out from the vinegar and the wings will lose their flavor as they are smoked. Obviously - I wouldn't deep fry my wings - not when I have 5 smokers in my back yard.
You may also notice that I also don't use the standard chicken wing sized pieces - I only use full size drum sticks. Why not? Who wants to eat a little bit of meat off of each piece of chicken? Not me!
I smoked this batch of wings on my pellet smoker at 250F.
When these bad boys hit 175 F internal temp - took about 90 minutes, it was time to let them rest for a few minutes and then time to dig in. It takes a few minutes to realize that these aren't soaked in sauce and really messy like standard bar style hot wings but once you realize how incredible these are, you won't miss wiping your hands and face after each bite.
I also cooked a second batch of wings on the WSM over charcoal and I used some apple chunks to get some extra smoke and flavor. The charcoal adds another layer of flavor. Up to you to decide which way you prefer.
Once the wings got up to about 160F - it was time for a little special treatment.......
Leaf Blower Time!
What is leaf blower time? Well......
The nice thing about deep fried wings is the crispy skin. This is tough to achieve on a smoker - BUT - when you can super heat the air around the wings, you can get that skin crispy - hence - leaf blower time.
This is a tricky operation and it took me a few times to get right. Too much air and the blower literally blows the hot air right out of the cooker. Make sure there is enough fuel that can take the heat. If all your coals are burned out, this trick will not work. Charcoal is also tough to work with as it will only get so hot. Some nice size pieces of lump work great but they should also be started through the burn process or you may get some creosote flavor. If you plan right and get some lump in the fire about 30 minutes before leaf blower time - say when the chicken has been on for 45 minutes - you should be fine. I let the leaf blower idle - this was plenty of air flow and get that WSM pit up to - well.... whatever - the temp guage was pegged. I'm guessing around 450 - 500 F. I let this rip for about 3 - 5 minutes. This created the perfect amount of crispiness on the skin.
Don't forget to stay properly hydrated while using the leaf blower and eating hot wings!
A final word of advise - this rub is potent! You can really control the amount of heat by the amount of rub you put on the chicken. Start with less than you think you need and work your way up. This rub also has some incredible depth of flavor. You will be completely surprised - happily surprised!
Please visit Oakridge BBQ - try all of their rubs - you will not be disappointed!
Disclaimer - Oakridge BBQ is a sponsor of the Meat, Inc. BBQ Team but I did purchase this dry rub - it was not given to me. I always provide an honest review regardless of the relationship with the manufacturer.