Drunk in Rub: Whiskey-brined Smoked Chicken Wings
Note: This recipe was part of a Beyonce-themed dinner party – see the entire menu here.
The punny name came before the recipe for this Beyonce-themed “We Like to Party” first course. Drunk in Rub was the 2nd menu item I thought of, then reversed engineered a recipe based on the name. I knew it needed liquor, and I knew it needed a rub. I decided to add whiskey to my regular brine recipe, because I had it on hand. You can experiment with other types of alcohol, but the whiskey-lemon combination worked out well. For the rub, I knew I wanted a crunchy element. While I was wandering around the Korean market (yay, Zion!), I passed by honey powder, which I had never seen before and had no idea how it was used. So, naturally, I bought it. It was exactly the little bit of crunchy sweetness I wanted to add to these wings. If you can’t find honey powder, you can try a coarse turbinado sugar. The key is that it should be a coarse sweet thing, not fine like regular granulated sugar.
- 1 cup whiskey
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup coarse sea salt
- 2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 lemons, 1/4" slices
- 30-40 wings (all flats)
- 2 tbsp apple wood chips
- peanut oil
- Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning Hot Blend
- dehydrated honey powder(can substitute coarse turbinado sugar)
- Combine brown sugar, sea salt and whiskey in a large container large enough to contain all of the chicken and 8 cups of water. Alternately, you can split the ingredients evenly between two large gallon resealable bags (which is what I prefer). Add in 1 cup of hot water to dissolve the sea salt and brown sugar. Once dissolved, add in peppercorns, crushed garlic, lemon slices and chicken wings. Add 8 cups of cold water. Refrigerate and let brine for at least one hour, and up to 6. Any longer than 6 hours and your wings may get too salty from the brine.
- Rinse chicken and discard brine. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Using a stovetop smoker (if you're feeling DIY'ish, you can make your own stovetop smoker! Directions here.)
- Smoke over medium-low heat using apple wood chips (or your favorite light fruit wood) for 1 hour. Let rest and cool to room temperature at least one hour, or keep refrigerated up to 3 days.
- Heat about 3" of peanut oil in a large pot or a deep fryer to 450F. Fry at until skin is golden and crispy, about 8-10 minutes.
- Place on paper towels to drain and immediately season with a light sprinkle of Slap Ya Mama (or your favorite spicy seasoning blend) and honey powder (or a coarse sugar, like turbinado). Enjoy immediately!