smokestack chicken wings

6 to 8    |   
Prep Time:
20 minutes + 4 hours marinating    |   
Cook Time:
about 1 hour

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james oseland

I got to be “in conversation” with James Oseland at the San Francisco Cooking School on Friday night. He is the editor of Saveur magazine and a judge on Top Chef Masters. I suppose you could call him a celebrity, but he didn’t act like one. He was forthcoming and funny and insanely passionate about how food connects us. The conversation was about The Way We Cook, the newest book of images and recipes that he edited from the files of the magazine.

It’s a glossy tome, a photo-lover’s book of portraits of cooks around the world. There are cassava makers in Honduras, salad tossers in Laos, meat grillers from Arkansas to Romania to Istanbul, even a high-wire artist juggling oranges in his Manhattan kitchen. This is a gift book for the food- and travel-mad, and even though they’ll show it off on their cocktail tables, there are 50 recipes in the back worth going into the kitchen to make. At the event, the knockout nosh was chicken wings from Smokestack’s barbecue in Kansas City. That’s what I love about Saveur. They travel the world to celebrate the most humble dishes at home.

photo of wings and recipe courtesy of Saveur

smokestack chicken wings


1 tbsp. kosher salt
2 ¼ tsp. sweet paprika
1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
1 ½ tsp. onion powder
1 ½ tsp. dried thyme
1 ½ tsp. dried oregano
¾ tsp. ground black pepper
¾ tsp. ground white pepper
½ tsp. dried sage
½ tsp. cayenne
2 ½ lb chicken wings
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
½ cup mild hot sauce
¼ cup Old Bay seasoning
Juice of 1 lemon

Handful of oak wood chunks, soaked in water for 10 minutes, if you are doing the smoking step


In a bowl, whisk together salt, paprika, garlic, and onion powders, thyme, oregano, both peppers, sage, and cayenne. Toss wings with spices in bowl; cover, and chill 4 hours.

Meanwhile, whisk together butter, hot sauce, Old Bay, and lemon juice in a large bowl, then pour half the sauce into another large bowl. Set both aside.

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill. Place damp oak wood chunks directly on coals and replace grill grate. Cover grill and let heat for 10 minutes. Place chicken wings on grill grate. Maintaining a temperature of 225-250 degrees (replenish fire with unlit coals, as needed, to maintain temperature) cook, covered, turning once, for 20 minutes. Toss chick wings in half the sauce, return to grill, and cook until well browned and tender, about 25 minutes.

To serve, toss chicken wings in remaining bowl of sauce and serve immediately.

note: you can grill these without the chips indoors or out as well; they won’t be as smoky, but they’ll still be darn good.