Hickory Smoked Hot Wings with Sour Cream Slaw

August 8, 2011

The first time I made hot wings they were good, but not hot enough. I wanted try again using the authentic, not very secret ingredient, Frank’s Original Hot Sauce. I also wanted to try my hand at smoking them so I sensed the opportunity for an Amazon binge and bought: 3 bottles of Frank’s, a tub of Old Bay Seasoning, a Weber chimney starter and a pack of hickory wood chips.

 I would encourage anyone who owns a half decent BBQ with a lid to buy some wood chips for smoking immediately, if you haven’t already. There were almost tears of joy when we lifted the lid to find a rack of wings turned orange with hickory smoke; I was amazed at the results you can achieve with just a regular home kettle BBQ.

I’d marinated the wings overnight in herbs and seasonings, then smoked them for 25 minutes a side over indirect heat with the hickory chips thrown in. They emerged crisp and burnished brown, ready for a good plunge into a combo of Frank’s Original and melted butter before going back on the grill, over direct heat for another 20 minutes. To finish, a final lick of that sauce and straight onto the plate.

 The smoking, together with the sweet, vinegar-chilli punch of Frank’s (it’s like a thick Tabasco) cut with velvety butter, makes the flavour incredibly intense – not to mention sticky. A mound of discarded kitchen paper stained orange with sauce rose before us as we worked our way, just the 2 of us, through 24 wings.

 It seemed appropriate to cut the heat and umami with something a little sharp, a little creamy; a cool, crunchy pit stop between wings. Slaw. This is a classic mix of carrot, white cabbage and red onion; the sauce a mix of sour cream, natural yoghurt, a smidge of American mustard and my secret ingredient – a slosh of juice from a jar of dill cucumbers, which adds a lovely spiced-sweet pickled note.

Later on, we deep-fried more pickles and shoved them into a sandwich with shredded wing meat and slaw. So gluttonous. So unhealthy. So. Good.

 Hickory Smoked Hot Wings

 26-30 chicken wings

For the marinade

2 cloves garlic
1 white onion
3 teaspoons thyme leaves
3 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1.5 teaspoons ground black pepper

For the sauce

1 bottle plus 2 tablespoons Frank’s Original Hot Sauce (that’s about 12 tablespoons in total)
125g butter

You will also need hickory chips for smoking the meat.

Begin the day before by marinating the wings. Put the onion in a blender with the garlic and 1-2 tablespoons water and blend to a paste. Put into a large bowl (the one you will use to hold the wings) and add all the other marinade ingredients. Mix well. Add the wings and mix really well to make sure they are all evenly coated. Refrigerate overnight.

When you’re ready to cook the wings, remove them from the fridge to bring the temperature up and set up your BBQ for indirect cooking; this means lighting the coals to one side (you will cook the meat on the other side). Take a couple of handfuls of hickory chips and soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes.

When the BBQ is ready, sprinkle a handful of chips directly onto the coals and put your wings on the other side in a single layer (you may need to do 2 batches as I did). Put the lid on (leave the holes half open) and smoke for 25 minutes. After this time, turn the wings and sprinkle on a few more chips.

Melt the butter and hot sauce together in a pan (don’t be alarmed at the strength of it, this will be tamed somewhat once on the wings). Remove half of it to a bowl and dunk the wings in it, then return to the grill, this time directly over the coals for about 10 minutes each side, until well charred. Dunk again in the sauce before serving. Get the kitchen paper ready.

Sour cream slaw

1/4 white cabbage, very finely shredded
1 medium sized carrot, grated, julienned or shredded in a processor
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
3 heaped tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon American mustard
1 tablespoon snipped chives
2 tablespoons juice from a jar of dill pickled cucumbers
Salt and pepper

If you can use a food processor to finely shred the vegetables, do. I used a julienne peeler for the carrot and just finely sliced the onion and cabbage by hand. Put the veg in a large bowl. In another bowl, make the dressing by mixing together all the remaining ingredients. Mix this well with the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.

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    Reply thelittleloaf August 8, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I’m absolutely loving your BBQ posts this summer! Finally got myself a real bbq a couple of weeks back and have been mostly eating grilled meat and variations on your recipes since 🙂 These look incredible. Thanks for introducing me to Frank’s Hot sauce too. Amazing.

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    Reply Chris August 8, 2011 at 11:41 am

    This is the greatest thing that has ever existed in the world.

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    Reply Fiona Beckett August 8, 2011 at 11:47 am

    YUM! Not surprised you ate 24 between you.

    Try the pickle juice trick with potato salad btw. Works equally well.

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    Reply Yaxdog81 August 8, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Sweet Jesus. That looks a-mazing. We’ve already done the pulled pork and barbeque beans (which won universal plaudits), so this has got to be next.

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    Reply Lizzie August 8, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I can’t believe you didn’t share these with me. Sniffle.

    I made the boy lug back a bottle of Franks’ Extra Hot and Original sauces from New York. Which means we can make these again. YAY!

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    Reply miss south August 8, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Glad to see I’m not the only person who uses dill pickle juice as an ingredient in things. Goes amazingly well in a smoked mackerel pate too.

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    Reply Ryan August 8, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Damn, those put my recent buffalo wing blog post to shame! Made mine this weekend in the oven as the BBQ was fully occupied smoking Babyback and SLC ribs (for hours and hours). These would be so much quicker to cook!

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    Reply Patrick August 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Where do you get your wings from Helen? They look massive compared to the things I can normally get.

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    Reply Helen August 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    thelittleloaf – brilliant! BBQ adventures ahead for you. Frank’s is available in large supermarkets now too.

    Chris – Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ace. Yes it is. Except maybe muesli and quinoa.

    Fiona – ooh will do, thanks!

    Yaxdog81 – brilliant, really glad to hear they went down well. let me know how you get on with these if you try them.

    Lizzie – Awwww, I feel guilty!! between us we have 5 bottles of Frank’s. We can make a MOUNTAIN of wings.

    Miss south – yes! I’ve used it in that before, also sometimes I add in some of the gherkins chopped up.

    Ryan – DAMN those ribs sound good.

    Patrick – GG Sparkes on North Cross rd in East Dulwich – best butcher in the area in my opinion. They also have a branch in Blackheath.

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    Reply Paul August 8, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I AM SO JEALOUS of anyone with a garden right now! I so want to try some of these barbecue dishes. This looks very special :^)

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    Reply Maunika August 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Looks scrummy. I HAVE to try smoking them. Didnt realise how easy it will be. This recipe is bookmarked! What do I have to do to get on the guest list to your dinner party?;) x

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    Reply Helen August 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Maunika – Ha ha! Well contrary to popular belief I only have a tiny balcony but you can consider yourself firmly on the list;) x

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    Reply Patrick August 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Great that’s about 2 minutes from my house so perfect

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    Reply chutneyandspice August 9, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    These look incredible, and I can almost taste them from your description. I love your trick of adding a little of the dill pickle vinegar to the coleslaw, I bet that cuts through the richness and perks it up a little. Delicious.

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    Reply Cory August 10, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Old Bay, classically used in BBQ? I mean, I’ve seen it done (and the results are definitely positive), but it really isn’t a barbecue thing. It’s mostly used for Shrimp and Blue Crab, and almost exclusive to Maryland, DC, and Virginia (being located around the Chesapeake Bay, which ‘Old Bay’ refers to). No rudeness intended, but as a person who grew up with it (being a native Virginian), that kinda stuck out at me.

    *cough* Nice recipe though.

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    Reply Helen August 10, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Cory – well I thought it was because it’s in all my American BBQ books in lots of recipes and I have about 20 of them. I can take it out though. I do hope I make clear on this blog that I am not an expert in anything – I’m a home cook who is trying to have fun. Sorry if I upset you.

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    Reply Helen August 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Cory – I’ve taken it out.

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    Reply Alex August 10, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    helen / lizzie – you can get franks hot sauce from ocado, waitrose and rather disturbingly you can buy it by the gallon from Amazon….


  • Avatar
    Reply Helen August 11, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Hi Alex- Yes I bought mine from Amazon! Then discovered they sell it 5 minutes away in Sainsbury’s.

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    Reply Dan August 11, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I have just bought all the ingredients for this recipe (delivery from amazon was 2 days, impressive!) and will be trying this out this weekend. I’ve smoked a whole lot of sausages this summer and even a whole salmon (on cedar wood planks) so can’t wait to try this one out.

    Know any decent butchers around the Dalston area?

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    Reply Helen August 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Dan – I asked Twitter. They said

    “try the cookery on stoke high street for great offal and lamb or new one on church street Stokey for high end”

    “Ginger Pig Hackney”

    “meat N16 in on church street in stoke newington are great”

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    Reply Dan August 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Thank you so much! Will try all of these. Nothing beats a good butcher.


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    Reply mark August 14, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    confused about some of these measurements. Isn’t 1 bottle plus 2 tablespoons of that hot sauce = 26 tablespoons?

    354ml / 15ml (1 tablespoon) = 24 (rounded) tablespoons

    And 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon, right?

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    Reply Helen August 14, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Mark – I thought it was about 12 but if you just use 1 bottle plus 2 tablespoons like I said then you’ll be fine. I am sorry I miscalculated the number of tablespoons in a bottle of hot sauce and confused you so.

    Not sure what your point is about the teaspoons? Are you saying you would prefer I write 1 tablespoon instead of 3 teaspoons?!

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    Reply mark August 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    ha no (re: tablespoon/teaspoon), just wanted some clarification. no need to apologise. looks amazing

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    Reply Helen August 14, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Mark – Phew.

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    Reply dan August 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    amazing. thanks for the recipe!

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    Reply Mark August 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I made this last night and it was delicious, thank you.

    I should note though that not everyone is cut from the same cloth as you, we’re not all professional cooks with years of experience in the kitchen. I am only just starting out and (what I thought was innocently) asked if I was getting my measurements right. I didn’t quite expect the abuse that went with it on twitter though with you and your readers. I have to say you have quite the imagination though as apparently I’m “one of those people that don’t really cook” and a furious, pedantic tosser screaming “I’m not bloody having this, the woman needs telling!” at the computer all day long.

    Impressive. Can I suggest next time at least try and hide your contempt for your readers and remember we all had to start somewhere.

    Thanks again for the recipe, I will definately share this around. Shame about the other shit that went with it, though.

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    Reply Helen August 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    HI Mark – Sorry if I offended you. Your comment came across in a completely different way to me, which just goes to show the dangers of writing things on the internet. I felt like you were being pedantic at the time and I did tweet it, yes. I was just having a laugh on Twitter though, so I’m sorry if that came across as a bit personal. All the things I said were jokes but I can understand how they came across differently.

    I am not a professional cook either – that was just a joke as was everything I was saying on Twitter. I don’t have contempt for anyone.

    Anyway, feel free to lay into me on Twitter, I don’t mind 😉

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    Reply Mark August 15, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Well, cool then. I’m more suprised than offended. You seemed to take what I said and invent a whole character around it.

    I’ll clear up why I asked so you can see it from my perspective. It’s an entirely boring story, but at least you’ll understand now. I’ll try set the scene..

    I had the chicken smoking so I was in a slight rush to get the sauce going on the stove. I’m new to smoking and charcoal grills (and cooking) so I don’t have that cool, collected, level-headed air of experience drifting around me yet. I am drenched in that maddened, panicked and flustered stench of inexperience. If the pan is on I don’t walk calmly to the fridge and delicately grab the butter – I scramble to it, rip open the fridge door and shove my hand into the butter before grabbing what hasn’t been smudged all over my fist and biffing it in the pan. Until I am used to cooking – I will be a force 5 hurricane which wipes out civilisations of food every time I enter the kitchen.

    As you had said 1 bottle + 2 tablespoons was equal to 12 tablespoons – and I thought it must have been at least double that, I was triple checking everything I had done on the marinade. Maybe I done the marinade totally wrong? Maybe the hot sauce was wrong as well? I hadn’t even tried the hot sauce yet, what if it was worse than tobasco sauce, would anyone be able to stomach it? I had been talking this recipe up all week, had I just set myself up for failure?

    Not only am I inexperienced, I am also a foreigner in these fair lands. Maybe the English use a whole different measuring system? A pint back home isn’t the same as a pint here, that kind of thing. Maybe 1 tablespoon meant 35mls? That would have been one big ass tablespoon, but at least that way 1 bottle would equal 10 tablespoons which would have made sense. So I asked if 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon?, as you had said ‘3 teaspoons thyme leaves’ but ‘1 tablespoon of salt,’ like it was different. I couldn’t care less what you measured in, I just wanted to know if an English teaspoon and tablespoon was any different in size to what I knew from back home.

    It is fair to say I panicked and asked (and googled) just to be sure. Nothing sinister about it. Just panicked curiosity.

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    Reply Helen August 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Mark – Bless you! I feel absolutely terrible now. I completely misunderstood you and also, I had just had a bit of a bad experience with another reader and so I over-reacted and got defensive. Sorry again about the jokes on Twitter, I should have thought about how they could come across as offensive.

    I’m very embarrassed…thanks for being so nice about it.

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    Reply Cory August 19, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Heyhey, I wasn’t offended! You needn’t have taken it out, was simply pointing something out that I found a bit off. I tend to type stuff and press enter before I consider how it might come off.

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    Reply Wilf August 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    These were amazing. Added some Honey for a bit of a glaze onto them, I almost creamed my pants. Thanks for posting this!

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    Reply Mike t March 28, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Hi, I’m trying these tomorrow night. Wings are in the fridge absorbing away…one problem, couldn’t find any Franks sauce. I bought some nandos very hot sauce instead…shall I look other places tomorrow for franks??

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      Reply Helen March 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      Have you tried a big sainsburys? They def sell it

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    Reply Mike t March 28, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    I’ll find some. I was in a big asda.

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      Reply Helen March 29, 2012 at 7:58 am

      Good luck!

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    Reply Kitchenholic January 23, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I miss my BBQ can’t wait for the summer. The grill isn’t the same as a BBQ.

    Thanks for the receipe.

    Check out the Nando marniate spices that you can rub chicken and then grill currently trying only costs 88p from Asda

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    Reply Truckin Leo July 14, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Made these last week, munched a few down then left them for later that evening. Came back to a load of bones and a flat mate shouting ‘those wings were amazing!’ The b@5tard had eaten 14 wings and left me 2! So that’s how good they were, need to attach a ‘do not leave unattended warning to this recipe. Also I did them in the oven, I can only imagine how amazing smoked ones taste. Anyways thank you and au revoir (he says sailing into Calais).

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      Reply Helen July 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      HA HA. What a sod! That’s awesome though. A brilliant story. Oh and enjoy Calais!

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    Reply Truckin Leo July 15, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    I forgot to mention that when I went into sainsbury’s to stock up on Frank’s sauce for the recipe, the shelf was empty! Seeing as it was the E.Dulwich branch you were my prime suspect?

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      Reply Helen July 16, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Ha ha no, I live on the Peckham/Camberweel border now, that sainsburys isn’t convenient for me. Not guilty!

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