'Home-Schooled' BBQ Chicken Wings Recipe

John Stage is owner/pitmaster of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Harlem, New York, where you can regularly find us chowing down on massive platters of expertly smoked meat with all the fixins. He was kind enough to loan his recipe for barbecue chicken wings just in time for the NFL's home-stretch toward the Super Bowl.

I like to smoke chicken wings over low heat, then finish them over high to glaze and crisp them up, but you can achieve similar results in your home oven when it's too cold out to grill — or you'd rather watch the game than tend a fire. Season the wings with red rub and some oil before baking, but avoid adding any sauce until finishing, since barbecue sauce has some sugars in it that will burn. With baking, the flavors of the spices will come out and toast; you won't.

When finishing the wings, make sure you have a hot broiler, and avoid tossing them with too much sauce; you want to glaze them, but you also want to maintain that crisp skin that gives way to juicy flesh. It's that sweet spot of caramelization that's not soggy or charred. Plus, you can always serve a side of sauce for dipping along with blue cheese dressing. In fact, I encourage it.

'Home-Schooled' BBQ Chicken Wings Recipe
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  • 4 pounds chicken wings
  • 3 tablespoons red rub (see recipe below)
  • 2 cups bbq sauce (preferably Dinosaur Bar-B-Que)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup raw turbinado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Mix ingredients together in a bowl. You will have leftover rub. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350F. Season wings with rub.
  3. Oil a sheet pan. Place wings on pan, don't overcrowd. Place in oven and cook approximately 30 minutes until wings are 160-165 degrees.
  4. Take out of oven and turn the broiler on high. Coat wings with 3/4 - 1 cup of BBQ sauce.
  5. Place skin up and broil approximately 5-6 minutes until skin and sauce start to caramelize.
  6. Flip wings and broil for about another 4 minutes. Flip again to blister and char skin.
  7. Remove from broiler and toss with remaining sauce if desired.
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