Ever Work At A Wing Place?

We had wings this weekend. The barbecue came out just fine, but the chipotle wasn’t what I was going for. I’ve had a cajun dry rub from a local place, and a chipoltle dry rub at Quaker Steak and Lube. They’re both yummy. I’m trying to come up with something similar but I’m obviously missing something important. I’ll describe here what I did, and if you know what I should have done different please leave a comment letting me know.


16 wings
2 tablespoons wheat flour
2 teaspoons chipotle powder
1/4 – 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (depending on how wet you like them)
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
olive pomace oil



I always start my wings — and full-size chicken, when I’m grilling — in the oven. It’s the only way I can consistently get the center fully cooked without turning the skin into ashes. So coat a baking sheet with pomace oil.

Arrange the wings skin side down and give them a coating of salt and pepper. Flip them over and coat the other side. Arrange them so they’re not covering each other.

Bake at 350° for a half-hour to 45 minutes, depending on how meaty the wings were. Check them at about 10 minutes to make sure they’re not sticking to the pan. They’re done when you can stick a knife in at the main joint and the juice runs clear.

There’s the rub

The rub they use at Quaker Steak is slightly sweet, so I’m sure it’s got some sugar in it. (Or more likely corn syrup … this is part of a chain after all.) But it’s clearly not mostly chipotle or it would be a lot hotter than it is.

I tried cutting it with flour so there would be a bit of a battered finish. This meant I’d have to cook it after applying the rub, which I’m pretty sure they don’t do. They just cook all their wings the same then toss them with the different sauces and rubs.

Mix the wheat flour and the chipotle powder.

Toss the wings a couple at a time in the rub.

Heat some more pomace oil over high heat.

Toss a couple of wings at a time, making sure all surfaces spend some time down in the oil to cook out the raw flour taste.

Transfer the finished wings to a serving plate. As long as you didn’t drown them in oil they shouldn’t need to drain first.

And that’s it for the chipotle.

You can see that the coating isn’t very even, but it was definitely tasty everywhere. If you know what they actually use in the various dry rubs at wing places, please let me know down in the comments.

Traditional barbecue

My wife prefers regular barbecue. (If you’re from the south, you don’t need to tell me, “That’s not really barbecue.” I know that. What would you like me to call this sauce?)

For hers, I just tossed all the wings in my pan with a little oil to crisp up the skin a bit before adding the sauce.

With all eight wings in there, I ended up with quite a bit of grease I had to pour out. (I also learned that the auto-focus on my camera uses infrared, so shooting across a burner on “High” kind of screws up the focus.)

Once the skins were a bit crispy, add just enough sauce to cover them all. I should mention that this sauce is made especially for my butcher, you can see the name on there if you click on the picture of the ingredients to see the larger version. The main ingredients are tomato, sugar and vinegar. No corn syrup — high fructose or otherwise — to be found.

And toss to make sure they’re coated.

Transfer carefully … no wait, let me say that again … transfer carefully to a serving dish.

This sauce is hot. And sticky. And did I mention hot? And when you’ve got a pan in one hand and a set of tongs in the other you can’t just drop everything and run for the sink to run your hands under cold water. I’m just sayin’ …

Let’s just assume you manage to get all the wings onto the plate on the first try.

And that’s it for the barbecue.