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Feb 23, 2018
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Grilled

Recipe: Cast-Iron Peach Cobbler

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

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It’s a frigid December afternoon, the wind is whipping at my face, and I’m in my backyard huddled over a kettle of white hot coals, watching the crust form on a fruit cobbler I’m desperately hoping won’t burn.

Though I love outdoor cooking even in arctic temps, I typically avoid baking – too much exact science and not enough room for experimentation (or mistakes.) Not counting chocolate milkshakes, I honestly can’t recall the last time I made a dessert, so I was amazed at how well this cast-iron beauty looked (and tasted) after the smoke cleared.

The surprising takeaway: cobblers are ideal for outside cooking. Though they do require turning at regular intervals to avoid burning over hotspots, a cobbler is exceptionally forgiving in high heat. A hint of char ringing the sides of the pan adds a rustic character and seals in the gooey sweet center and warm fluffy topping.

 

Cast-Iron Cobbler
8 to 10 servings

6 cups frozen peaches, thawed and drained, or 8 fresh medium peaches, pitted, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (thawed and drained if frozen)
¾ cup sugar, divided
1¼ cup (2½ sticks) cold butter, divided
1½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour, divided
1 Tbsp. bourbon
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. plus a dash kosher salt
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ cup whole milk
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

• In a large mixing bowl, stir together the peaches, blueberries, ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup butter, 2 tablespoons flour, the bourbon, cinnamon and a dash of salt. Set aside.
• In another large mixing bowl, sift together the remaining 1½ cups flour, the remaining ½ cup sugar, baking powder and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt.
• Dice ¾ cup butter and use your hands to mix it into the flour mixture, breaking it apart and working them into sandy crumbs. Add the milk and stir with a fork until thickened, but still a bit lumpy.
• Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect medium-high heat and preheat to 350 to 400 degrees.
• Rub the surface and sides of a 10- to 12-inch cast-iron skillet with the remaining ¼ cup butter. Add the fruit filling to the skillet and cover with foil. Place the skillet over indirect heat, cover the grill and bake 10 minutes.
• Remove the foil and spoon the crust mixture atop the fruit in large dollops, covering the surface as much as possible. Cover again with foil and close the grill.
• Bake 70 minutes, turning the skillet 90 degrees every 10 minutes to evenly distribute the heat. The crust should be light brown.
• Remove the skillet and let rest, covered, 1 hour before serving with generous scoops of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine. 

• Recipe: Cider Pulled Pork

• Recipe: Grilled Pizza

Recipe: Smoked Trout Dip with Grilled Crostini

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

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Satisfyingly crunchy slices of grilled baguette smothered in a savory rich onion-caper dip elevate this smoked trout appetizer to a new level. It’s a hearty, irresistible starter, ideal for winter get dinner parties and holiday bashes. This one never ceases to evoke smiles and pats on the back from party people who love it as an alternative to cold-smoked salmon, which can be a bit too salty and fishy for some.

Assembling this dish is as simple as prepping a few basic ingredients, many of which are likely already in the cupboard. The mild flavor of apple wood infuses into the trout after just 40 minutes of smoking. The fish itself is phenomenal, but it’s the grilled bread that puts this appetizer over the top. Make sure to purchase a firm and crusty quality baguette, which holds up much better on the grill than more delicate breads like a standard French loaf.

 

Smoked Trout Dip with Grilled Crostini
8 to 10 servings

3 cups water
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 6-ounce boneless rainbow or ruby-red trout fillets
1 baguette, cut into ¼-inch slices
1 cup olive oil
8 oz. cream cheese
½ cup minced red onion
3 Tbsp. capers, drained
Juice of ½ lemon
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
½ Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 green onions, diced

Special equipment: 2 cups apple wood chips

• In a large stockpot, stir the water and salt together until the salt dissolves. Soak the trout 3 to 4 hours to brine. Remove, pat dry and place on a sheet of heavy-duty foil.
• Prepare a smoker or charcoal grill for indirect heat.
• Add 1 cup wood chips directly to the coals. Place the trout (still on the foil) over indirect heat, cover and smoke 20 minutes.
• Add the remaining 1 cup wood chips onto the coals, cover and smoke another 20 minutes. Remove and let cool on a serving tray.
• Add more charcoal to bring the grill to medium-high heat.
• Lightly brush each bread slice with olive oil. Working in batches, grill the bread over direct heat 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and grill another 3 to 4 minutes, until brown and crispy. Place on the serving tray alongside the trout.
• In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, onion, capers, lemon juice, mayonnaise and Worcestershire. Use a hand mixer or stick blender to mix until well combined. Spoon into serving bowl and garnish with green onions.
• To serve, smear a crostini with onion-caper dip, then top with a piece of smoked trout.

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who writes Grilled

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Recipe: Grilled Pizza

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

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There are three commandments you must follow to achieve flame-kissed, grilled pizza nirvana that no conventional oven-baked pie will ever reach.

No. 1: Control thy heat. Charcoal imparts the best flavor, but it can be a pain to manage until you get the hang of it. Patience is the secret ingredient to this exercise. Don’t be discouraged by a burnt crust or two at the beginning; this is an art, not a science. Hitting that perfect level of crispy char is unlikely to happen on the first try. Watch your dough like a hawk, peaking at the underside and readjusting its position to avoid flare-ups. And keep a spare crust at hand to replace any blackened beyond salvation.

No. 2: Preparation is key. All toppings for a grilled pizza should be prepped and ready near the grill. Once the crust is charred on one side, you need to move quickly to pile on all the ingredients. Go with cooked meats and chopped vegetables, a raw sauce I’ve included in this recipe and shredded mozzarella (thick slices won’t work). The toppings only have a few precious minutes to melt and fuse together into gooey deliciousness during the finishing stage.

No. 3: Keep it simple. You don’t have to make dough from scratch, but don’t buy a precooked crust either. Raw pizza dough is a must to get a satisfying, puffy and blistered crisp crust. A 16-ounce dough ball at Trader Joe’s will set you back about $1.50. “Less is more” should also be your credo while fashioning these crispy crusts on the super-hot grill. Apply sauces with a light hand. Toppings should be sufficient to cover the crust, but not overwhelm and create a soggy mess.

 
Grilled Pizza
2 pizzas

1 28-oz. can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, drained
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 1-lb. balls pizza dough
½ cup olive oil
12 oz. shredded mozzarella
Desired toppings (pepperoni, ham, cooked Italian sausage, olives, chopped bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, artichoke hearts, etc.)
Handful chopped basil, for garnish

• In a mixing bowl, thoroughly crush the tomatoes with your hands, then mix in the garlic, salt, pepper and oregano. Set aside.
• Roll out each piece of dough to the desired shape and thickness. Let rest at room temperature 30 minutes.
• Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium-high heat. Preheat 10 minutes.
• Brush each crust with 2 tablespoons olive oil and place each oil side-down on a sheet of foil. Working 1 pizza a time, place the foil over direct heat and grill 1 to 2 minutes, until the dough starts to bubble and set, checking the bottom occasionally to prevent burning. While it grills, brush the top of the crust with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
• Flip the crust onto the grate over direct heat and remove the aluminum foil. Quickly top the pizza with 9 ounces pizza sauce, 6 ounces cheese and desired toppings.
• Slide the pizza to indirect heat, cover and grill 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Repeat with the remaining pizza crust.
• Remove from the grill, garnish with basil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

 

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine. 

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Recipe: Crabcake Bites

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

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Indulging in these decadent little crabcake bites immediately brings me back to my college days in New Orleans when the nights were long and the shellfish plentiful. Since then I’ve have this gnawing desire to fashion a batch of crispy, rich, restaurant-worthy crabcakes – minus any intimidating frills or overly elaborate cooking methods. The concoction I ended up with is a stripped down, no-nonsense version of a classic Baltimore-style crabcake that leans on high quality crab meat amplified by a handful of ingredients easily scrounged from the pantry.

These crowd pleasers are simply prepared on a gas grill in about the time it takes to drain a cold long neck. I suggest the gas grill for this one as the heat is easier to manage and distributes more evenly than charcoal. Most important, don’t skimp on the quality of the crabmeat. Cheap, lousy crab makes this entire exercise pointless. The best bang for your buck is with backfin lump (an 8-ounce package prepped and ready to roll set me back about $13), which contains big pieces of jumbo lump as well as smaller broken up pieces of the body meat.

 

Crabcake Bites
4 to 6 servings

½ cup mayonnaise, divided
½ beaten egg
1½ Tbsp. whole-grain Dijon mustard, divided
½ Tbsp. Worcestershire
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. lemon juice, divided
2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning, divided
½ tsp. hot sauce
Dash paprika
8 oz. back fin or jumbo lump crabmeat, drained and picked over for shells
10 saltines, finely crushed
1 Tbsp. butter

Special equipment: Slotted grill pan

• In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, egg mustard, Worcestershire, lemon juice, Old Bay, hot sauce and paprika. In a separate bowl, gently combine the crabmeat and cracker crumbs, then gently fold into the mayonnaise mixture. (Do not overwork the mixture.) Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
• Prepare a gas grill for medium-high heat direct heat. Melt the butter on the grill pan and heat on the grill 5 minutes.
• Spoon out approximately 1 tablespoon crab mixture, forming each into about 12 golf ball-sized bites. Grill the crabcakes in the grill pan over direct heat 4 minutes. Flip and grill 4 minutes on the other side, until both sides are brown and crispy.
• Remove from the heat and allow them to rest 10 minutes before serving
• Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon Old Bay in a small bowl until smooth. Serve as a dipping sauce with the crabcakes.

 

Photo by Michelle Volansky

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who writes Grilled.

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Recipe: Grilled Carne Asada Skewers

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

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Though the phrase literally translates to “roasted meat,” carne asada is much more than a charred hunk of flesh. An asada is the Latin American equivalent of a barbecue, a gathering of hungry folks around an open flame. More than a meal, it’s a communal carnivorous feast. A fitting companion for this outdoor fete, this recipe for carne asada skewers pulls together a simple marinade of traditional ingredients to prep the beef overnight before searing it over a roaring grill.

A 2-pound flank steak will furnish about 14 ¾-inch thick strips hearty enough for a main course. Still, I prefer to tear into these savory skewers as a meaty appetizer with a bowl of avocado crema for dipping. Because they’re quick to make and best served immediately, these skewers are ideal starters handed to guests straight off the grill.

 

Carne Asada Skewers
4 to 6 servings

Juice of ½ orange
Juice of 1½ limes, divided
6 cloves garlic, divided
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 serrano pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. plus 1 dash kosher salt, divided
½ tsp. plus 1 dash freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 lb. flank steak
1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 dash onion powder

• In a large zip-top bag, combine the orange juice, juice of 1 lime, 4 cloves garlic, cilantro, serrano, vinegar, oil, soy sauce, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and mix to combine. Add the flank steak, seal the bag, coat the meat and refrigerate overnight.
• Soak 15 to 20 bamboo skewers in water at least 1 hour. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill for medium-high direct heat.
• Remove the steak from marinade and cut against the grain to make ¾-inch thick strips. Thread the strips onto the skewers in an S-shape.
• Meanwhile, make an avocado crema. Mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves, then combine them in a medium bowl with the avocado, sour cream, the remaining juice of half a lime, the onion powder and a dash of salt and pepper. Mash with a fork until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
• Lightly grease the grill grate. Grill the skewers 7 minutes, then flip and grill another 7 minutes for medium-rare. Remove and serve immediately with avocado crema.

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine. 

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Recipe: Grilled Eggplant Salad

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

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I recently discovered that seared eggplant serves as a phenomenal blank canvas for a grilled salad – a dish I usually dismiss as a trendy waste of produce. But this warm, delightful Mediterranean-style salad loaded with soft feta and drizzled with a tangy lemon-garlic yogurt dressing is more than enough to make me a believer (at least for one night).

Perfect for summer grilling, this warm-weather friendly salad pairs especially well with grilled Italian sausages or a big slab of barbecue pork and a bottle of richest, full-bodied red wine you can get your paws on.

Like many salads, the key to success in this dish is timing. Soaking the eggplant slices too long or grilling them even a few minutes more than the recommended time will result in an overcooked pile of goo. Have all the ingredients prepped before lighting the grill and plan plating, dressing and serving it immediately while the eggplant is still warm and relatively firm.

 

Grilled Eggplant Salad
3 to 4 servings

8 oz. plain Greek yogurt
Juice of ½ lemon
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 large eggplant
40 cherry tomatoes
Olive oil, for greasing
½ cup chopped basil leaves
3 oz. crumbled feta

• In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
• Fill a large bowl with lightly salted water. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into ¾-inch slices and submerge them in the water. Brine 20 to 30 minutes.
• Thread the tomatoes on metal or wood skewers.
• Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for high, direct heat.
• Lightly spray or brush olive oil on the grill grate. Grill the eggplant slices and tomato skewers over direct heat 6 minutes, turning once halfway through.
• Divide the eggplant slices among the serving plates. Top each with grilled tomatoes, then drizzle with the yogurt dressing and garnish with the basil and feta. Serve immediately.

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine. 

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Grilled: Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos

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Grilled: Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

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Jalapenos don’t just deserve respect – they demand it. I learned this the hard way after biting into one of these grilled appetizers that still had a few seeds hidden inside. But when prepped correctly, jalapenos go from dangerous to delicious in a matter of minutes.

The satisfying smell of bacon as it pops and sizzles over an open flame is reason enough to get on board with these taste bud-blasting starters, which are at once creamy, savory, crisp, cheesy, zesty and just the right amount of hot. Peppers are truly at home on the grill, and this recipe is a great way to showcase them – and wrapping them in bacon certainly doesn’t hurt.

Wear some gloves while prepping the peppers and keep several cold beers on hand for consumption while grilling. You’ll thank me.

 

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos
4 to 6 servings

10 medium jalapenos*
8 oz. block cream cheese, softened
3 oz. Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1½ lb. bacon (about 20 pieces) bacon

Special Equipment
Slotted grill pan
Toothpicks soaked in water 30 minutes

• Prepare a charcoal or gas hill for direct, medium-high heat.
• Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the stem, seeds and white membrane and discard.
• In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, Monterey Jack, garlic and cilantro. Fill the cavity of each pepper half with about 1 tablespoon cheese mixture.
• Starting at the top of each pepper half, tightly wrap each with 1 slice bacon, covering as much of the pepper and cheese as you can. Secure the end with toothpicks.
• Place the peppers cheese side up on a slotted grill pan. Place the pan over direct heat and grill 15 to 20 minutes, flipping the peppers every 5 minutes, until bacon is crispy. Remove the toothpicks and serve immediately.

* When working with hot peppers, wear disposable latex gloves to avoid irritating your skin.

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine and former Nightlife critic. 

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Grilled: Smashed Chicken

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

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A whole bird roasted over an open flame is one of life’s simplest pleasures. This brick-smashed chicken recipe keeps it that way – simple, straightforward and satisfying. Rather than crushing the bird, the heated bricks lock in the flavor and help cook both sides more evenly. The key to this method is indirect grilling following by a swift, controlled sear to crisp the skin over direct medium-low heat. The result: a savory, piping hot chicken with skin so crunchy, it begs to be torn off and enjoyed as an appetizer.

 

Smashed Chicken
3 to 4 servings

1 3½- to 4-lb. whole chicken, giblets removed
3 Tbsp. room-temperature butter, divided
1½ Tbsp. kosher salt
½ Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for greasing
Half a lemon
1 head garlic, halved crosswise

Special equipment: 2 bricks wrapped in aluminum foil

• Prepare a charcoal grill for high, indirect heat. Place the bricks next to the charcoal chimney to preheat.
• Spatchcock the chicken by using sharp kitchen shears to cut along both sides of the backbone and remove it. Fold the chicken open like a book, cracking the breastbone so the chicken lays flat on the work surface (you can ask your butcher to do this).
• Rub the chicken all over with 1½ tablespoons butter, then generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.
• Place chicken skin side-down over indirect heat. Use a heatproof glove or heavy-duty tongs to place 1 brick atop each half. Cover and grill 25 minutes.
• Set the bricks to the side, flip the chicken and place the bricks back atop the bird. Cover and cook 25 minutes.
• Place the lemon half and garlic halves over indirect heat.
• Brush the side of the grill over direct heat with vegetable oil. Remove the bricks and place the chicken skin side-down, cover and sear 10 minutes.
• Remove the chicken, lemon and garlic from heat. Let the chicken rest 10 minutes.
• Meanwhile, remove the grilled garlic cloves from their skins. Melt the remaining 1½ tablespoons butter in a small heatproof bowl. Whisk in the juice from the grilled lemon and 4 grilled garlic cloves.
• Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and serve with the remaining garlic cloves.

 

Matt Berkley is a contributing writer for Sauce Magazine. 

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Grilled: Cilantro-Lime Swordfish Skewers

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

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Thick, meaty swordfish steaks are ideal for grilling year-round. While more delicate fish needs to be coddled and carefully cooked in special grill pans, a rough and ready piece of swordfish can be tossed directly on a red-hot grill with no fear of flaking or falling through the grate. Fresh swordfish cuts are the key to these skewers, which feature bold sturdy fish marinated in a zesty, island-inspired cilantro-lime mix. Thread hunks of fish onto skewers with fresh veggies, and then quickly sear over a roaring hot grill. Consume an umbrella drink while grilling for proper effect.

 

Cilantro-Lime Swordfish Skewers
4 to 6 servings

4 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves fresh garlic chopped
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 ½-pound swordfish steaks, cut into large pieces
1 bell pepper, cut into large pieces
1 large zucchini, cut into large pieces
½ large red onion, cut into large pieces
12 cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

• In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Add the swordfish pieces, stir to coat and refrigerate 30 minutes.
• Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for high, direct heat.
• Thread skewers with the fish, bell peppers, zucchini, red onion and tomatoes, alternating between the fish and vegetables as desired. There should be 4 pieces of fish per skewer.
• Lightly oil the grill surface. Place 4 skewers over direct heat and sear 6 minutes. Flip, then grill another 6 minutes, until the fish is firm. Repeat with the remaining skewers. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.

 

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Grilled: Smoked Whiskey Wings

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

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Rich wood smoke and serious heat from a homemade dry rub send these chicken wings into another stratosphere – and soaking them in whiskey certainly doesn’t hurt either. An extended bath in a boozy marinade helps keep the wings plump and moist throughout the smoking process. Simple enough to pull off in an afternoon, these gorgeously charred babies make for a wonderful alternative to traditional deep fried or grilled wings.

 

Smoked Whiskey Wings
4 to 6 servings

4 cups water
¼ cup bourbon or mild American whiskey
4 lbs. chicken wings, drumettes and flats separated
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. sugar

• In very large bowl, stir together the water and whiskey. Add the wings, cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
• Remove the wings from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the marinade.
• In a small bowl, make a dry rub by combining the remaining ingredients. Liberally coat the wings in the dry rub.
• Prepare a charcoal grill or smoker for medium-low indirect heat, around 300 degrees. When the coals are gray, add 1 cup hickory or apple wood chips. Place the wings over indirect heat, arranging the larger pieces closest to the fire. Cover the grill and smoke 40 minutes. Add another 1 cup wood chips, cover and smoke another 40 minutes, adding fresh charcoal as needed.
• Remove the wings and cover with foil until ready to serve.

 

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