Monday, September 10, 2012

Tailgating Recap - Alabama Smoked Chicken and Air Force Wings

It's after Labor Day, which means it's time to put away the white shoes and start getting the tailgate ideas ready. Here's a look back at what I cooked up for the first couple weekends of the football season.
Smoked Chicken with Alabama White Barbecue Sauce
I have not come across a food that varies more from region to region than barbecue - every part of the country seems to have their own twist on it. One of the more peculiar specialties I've come across is northern Alabama's white barbecue sauce invented by Big Bob Gibson in 1925. The mayo-based sauce does not seem like it should work, and for a mayo-phobe like myself, it sounds downright unholy. But with Michigan taking on Alabama in the opening week of the season, I thought I could get a little juju going in our favor by making some barbecue the way they do in Alabama. 

For instruction, I turned to The Meatwave's writeup on Alabama white sauce. I butterflied the chicken by cutting out the backbone and dusting them with a bbq rub, then placed them on the cool side of a grill set up for indirect grilling. I usually go legs towards the fire, skin side up for about 20 minutes, then flip over and rotate so that the breasts are towards the fire for about 15 minutes, and then flip again and rotate (skin up, legs toward the fire) for another 10-15 minutes. I basted them with the white sauce towards the end of cooking and then drizzled some more sauce on while serving. 

The only thing to disappear faster than Michigan's chances of winning the game was the chicken, so at least I had that going for me.

Wings Three Ways: Siracha Garlic, Momofuku-style Asian, and Sweet and Smoky BBQ
I was a little stumped at what to cook for the Air Force game, but Mrs. T chimed in with the obvious answer - wings! I decided to go with a lineup of some of my favorite wing creations of the past. 

To cook the wings, I opted not to fry them so as to avoid the mess of a giant pot of oil with lots of people hanging out around the house. Instead, I went with a method from Kenji over at SeriousEats that manages to provide a fairly crisp skin through roasting the wings in the oven. The trick is to season the wings with salt and baking powder to dehydrate the skin before baking them. 

For the spicy siracha garlic wings, I chop up a ton of garlic (~1 head of garlic per 1LB of wings) and saute them in a good bit of butter (4 tbsp per 1LB of wings). After they're nice and fragrant, I dump in 1/2 cup of siracha. Toss with the wings once they're done. 

The Momofuku-style wings are doused with a thin ginger soy sauce. They were the crowd favorite of the afternoon.

My favorite of the day was the sweet and spicy smoked legs, once again courtesy of The Meatwave.

UMass is coming to town next weekend - lobster rolls anyone??


  1. Hey Tony,

    If you go lobster roll, I suggest doing it them hot with a simple butter sauce. I don't have a recepie for you, but Neptune in Boston does an amazing hot lobster roll. Might be worth checking out their website.


    1. LB,

      Funny you mention the hot butter sauce. Mrs. T and I have been debating whether to go with the cold mayo style of lobster roll or the hot butter style. I am leaning towards hot butter. I just looked up the lobster roll at Neptune, that thing looks amazing.