Chow Town

Yardbird Wings for your backyard barbecue

Updated: 2013-06-20T16:10:16Z

By ARDIE A. DAVIS

Daddy Bert’s day job was selling Fuller Brush products door-to-door. On Saturday nights he was a cockfighter in dirt floor barn arenas surrounded by blackjack trees in rural Oklahoma.

His wood and chicken wire backyard cages on North Quapah Avenue in Oklahoma City would meet today’s standards for “free range chicken” coops. His chickens could strut on red dirt and nest in straw. They were game chickens, bred to fight.

We grandkids helped Mama Ethel feed the chickens and harvest eggs when we came to visit. Her delicious scrambled egg breakfasts and fried chicken dinners came from Daddy Bert’s chicken coops.

Although urban chicken farming is growing in popularity in the Kansas City metropolitan area, most of us opt to buy our chicken and eggs from local meat shops or supermarkets.

This weekend add some new techniques to your pitmaster repertoire by trying some smoked chicken or grilled chicken recipes from cookbooks or online sources.

Here’s an easy way to cook and serve some tasty chicken wings:

Daddy Bert’s Blazing Yardbird Wings

Adjust the amount of hot sauce to your preferred blazing level. This one is mild. For this you will need charcoal or gas grill and fuel, small 8-inch cast iron skillet, long-handled tongs, plastic closable 1 gallon bag or a glass bowl, sauce brush, serving bowl or platter and wet washcloths.

Serves 2 to 4 as appetizer

2 1/4 pounds chicken wing drumettes and forearms

2/3 cup canola oil

For the Marinade

2 tablespoons pepper

1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon sugar or stevia

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1 12 ounce bottle Boulevard Pale Ale, Shiner Bock or your favorite beer

2 tablespoons Texas Pete or your favorite hot sauce

For the Simple Serving Sauce

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

2 tablespoons sugar or Stevia

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Texas Pete or your favorite hot sauce

2 tablespoons butter

To prepare the Marinade: Put dry ingredients in a bag or bowl first. Add liquid ingredients and stir together. Add chicken wing drumettes and forearms. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

To cook the Yardbird Wings: Use one side of your grill for the hot zone, leaving a space with no hot coals or flames for moving meat to the cool zone during flare-ups. Add oil to skillet and place the skillet near the hot zone. Drain the wings and put them over direct heat, turning as they brown. As all sides brown, place 3 to 4 at a time in the hot oil in the skillet to crisp the skin. Avoid flare-ups by putting fried pieces in the cool zone. Be careful. The oil is highly flammable. The entire cooking process should take 20 to 25 minutes.

To prepare the Simple Serving Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan and stir. Gently simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Brush sauce on the wings before serving.

Give each guest a wet washcloth to use as a napkin.

Ardie Davis is an iconic figure in the barbecue community. He founded a sauce contest on his backyard patio in 1984 that became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub & Baste contest. He is a charter member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and an inductee into the KCBS’s Hall of Flame. He has been interviewed on numerous food shows and writes for a variety of barbecue-related publications. He is also the author of a number of barbecue books, his most recent release “America’s Best BBQ Homestyle: What Champions Cook in Their Own Backyards.”

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