BY JOHN FORD
chicken wings cut at the joint discarding the tip, leaving the drumette and wingette
4 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
4 cups tangy bbq sauce
4 Tbsp hot pepper sauce (John makes his own famous 1901 pepper sauce, but that’s a secret.)
Start Charcoal Grill: Prepare HOT grill with a full chimney of briquettes (Use an indirect charcoal set up.) Add 4 Tbsp of Old Bay Seasoning and 4 Tbsp of hot pepper sauce to 4 cups of bbq sauce and mix. Once coals are white, add chicken wings to the grate directly over the coals. Burn the skin of each side of wing (3-5mins on each side). Don’t worry if it looks really black and burnt, as long as it’s just the skin and not the meat. People usually freak out and think I am ruining the wings when they see what I’m doing. When they eat one later, they get it.
Once the wing skin is burned on each side, add the bbq sauce liberally to both sides. I realize this goes against conventional bbq wisdom, but just do it. Put all the sauce-coated wings off on the cool side of the grill and cover with vents closed halfway. Cook for 15-20 minutes and remove lid. Use a metal spatula/scraper to unstick any wings from grill grate. Liberally mop the mound of wings with another coat of bbq sauce. You do not have to carefully cover all sides with the second coat. Just churn the wings with the spatula and mop the bbq sauce on as you do it. Cover grill.
Cook for an additional 20-25 minutes (total 35-45 minutes depending on grill temp). Take one off to make sure wings are cooked through. If the wings still look fat and plump, they are probably not done. They should shrink in size a little, but not too much. That is how you know they are done. This eyeball technique takes a little practice. The best way to tell is to just pull the biggest drumette off and test it.
Plate wings and lightly cover with foil for 10-15 minutes (makes the wings more sticky). Serve with favorite dressing (ranch/blue cheese). The high end stuff makes a big difference.