Chicken Wings – Throwdown

I am a fan of chicken wings and have smoked them many times and they always turn out great. I was looking to try to improve on my normal wings and use my Sous Vide to help.  I decided to do a Bobby Flay style throwdown where I would prepare them two ways  combining the Sous Vide precision cooker and my Weber Smokey Mountain smoker.  The plan for the challenge was to season both batches the same way, then Sous Vide both batches for 2 hours and smoke each for 1 hour. To complete this, I started with 40 wings that were purchased in a 10 pound frozen bag from Sams. I placed the 40 wings in water to thaw them out in advance. I then lightly seasoned all 40 with salt and pepper.

 

 

 

 

I then took 20 of the wings and sealed them with my Food saver and placed them in my Sous Vide container which is a modified cooler. I set the machine to 144 degrees and planned to have this batch go for two hours. At the two hour mark I planned to then remove them , drain them and add the same rub that was applied to the first batch and then place them on the smoker for 1 hours at 225 with Hickory wood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then took the other 20 wings and I applied the rub to them. The plan for these wings was to smoke them at 225 with Hickory wood for 1 hour and then bag and Sous Vide them for two hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At then end of an hour, the wings were about 125 degrees internal temp and were taking on some nice color.

 

 

 

 

I then placed these wings in a vacuum bag and sealed them and placed then in the same Sous Vide container that was running at 144.

 

 

 

 

After placing the second bag in the Sous Vide container, I waited an hour and removed the first bag. This bag had been in the Sous Vide to 2 hours.

 

 

 

 

I drained the liquid from the bag and then applied the same rub on this package of wings. I then placed them on the smoker with some additional Hickory wood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After this batch was on the smoker for an hour, I removed the bag from the Sous Vide that was previously smoked for an hour and then Sous Vide for 2 hours.

 

 

 

 

As usual, when smoking or preparing meat via Sous Vide, it requires some heat at the end. My normal go to with chicken wings is to put them on a hot propane grill to crisp them up at the end. I placed both batches separated on the hot grill to complete this step.

 

 

 

 

And then it was on to the taste test.

 

 

 

 

The wings on the left were smoked at the end, and the ones on the right with smoked first.  Although they were both fantastic, and were better than the normal wings I smoke (which are pretty damned good in my humble opinion), I preferred the smoked then Sous Vide variety. They had more moisture in them, since they were kept at 125 during the smoke phase, then they went to 144 during the Sous Vide process, and then finished on the hot grill. The Sous Vide then smoked, were removed from the Sous Vide at 144 and then went on the smoker for 1 hour before the hot grill.

Next time I will do all them with a short smoke, and then try some on the grill and some on the air fryer to determine how if they are better fried or grilled to finish.

 

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