Tailgate Wings, Two Ways – Smithey Ironware

Tailgate Wings, Two Ways

“You know, when I’m tailgating, I like to get my cooking done so I can enjoy the game with my guests,” says Chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois of Blue Smoke. And that means that although this Louisiana-born barbecue master can cook some mean ‘cue, he does not go low and slow for the game. Instead he often reaches for chicken wings.

 “Wings are easy to serve by the piece, fast, and versatile,” he explains. Versatility is also something he cites as a quality for cast iron. “It’s almost cliche to say that cast iron skillets are versatile and durable, but they are,” he says. Bourgeois loves having cast iron in the kitchen and out at the tailgate site, and he’ll stir fry fresh veggies in season, bake biscuits, or place the skillet right on the coals or the grates when he’s grilling.

 For these wings, he suggests two methods, depending on the whim and environment of the cook. It’s easy to customize right on game day if you make the rub and the glaze ahead, and although there might be other tailgate parties serving wings, the scent of these cooking in cast iron on a grill will make you a winner whatever the outcome for your favorite team. They’re anything but ordinary.


Cooking the wings

10 whole chicken wings, cut at joint(20 pieces in total, 10 single-boned sections and 10 double-boned sections, discarding wing tips



Method 1: Offset heat and smoked: rub your wings with a generous amount of dry rub. Smoke your wings at 225 degrees for 2 hours or until completely cooked. Finish your wings with more dry rub or toss in Chipotle Glaze.


Method 2: Above fire and caramelized: simply salt and pepper your wings and cook in your smithy with direct heat. Use a little bit of fat in the pan to get proper caramelization. Once your wings are thoroughly cooked, you can toss your wings in the dry rub and/or the glaze or my favorite a combination of both.

Jean Paul’s Dry Rub for Wings

Note: Using a kitchen scale is recommended for accurate proportion of spices.         

6 ounces paprika

3 ½ ounces salt, kosher

3 ounces light brown sugar

3 ounces Ras el Hanout

1 ½ ounces garlic powder

1 ounce onion powder

1 ounce mustard powder

1 ounce marjoram

½ ounce cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, plus more for serving



Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Store in an airtight container until ready to use to avoid clumping from moisture.

Chipotle Glaze

1 can chipotle pepper

4 ounces chipotle Tabasco pepper sauce

1/4 cup mild honey or molasses

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup orange juice



Open the can of chipotle peppers and drain the adobo sauce. Remove the seeds from the canned chipotle peppers.


In a blender puree the drained and seeded chipotle peppers, salt, Tabasco, orange juice, and honey until smooth.


Remove the puree from the blender and place in sauce pot and cook on low heat for 8 minutes.


Use immediately to coat wings, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


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