Tailgate Wings, Two Ways | Smithey Ironware
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Tailgate Wings, Two Ways

Chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois, photo courtesy of Blue Smoke

1 Feb 2019

“You know, when I’m tailgating, I like to get my cooking done so I can enjoy the game with my guests,” says Chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois of Blue Smoke. And that means that although this Louisiana-born barbecue master can cook some mean ‘cue, he does not go low and slow for the game. Instead he often reaches for chicken wings.

“Wings are easy to serve by the piece, fast, and versatile,” he explains. Versatility is also something he cites as a quality for cast iron. “It’s almost cliche to say that cast iron skillets are versatile and durable, but they are,” he says. Bourgeois loves having cast iron in the kitchen and out at the tailgate site, and he’ll stir fry fresh veggies in season, bake biscuits, or place the skillet right on the coals or the grates when he’s grilling.

For these wings, he suggests two methods, depending on the whim and environment of the cook. It’s easy to customize right on game day if you make the rub and the glaze ahead, and although there might be other tailgate parties serving wings, the scent of these cooking in cast iron on a grill will make you a winner whatever the outcome for your favorite team. They’re anything but ordinary.

Tailgate Wings, Two Ways

Chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois of Blue Smoke

what you need

10 whole chicken wings, cut at joint (20 pieces in total, 10 single boned sections and 10 double boned sections, discarding wing tips)

servings: 4-6


Method One - high fire, caramelized: place Smithey directly onto high heat grill, adding two tablespoons vegetable oil. Salt and pepper wings and place into hot skillet. Allow wings to caramelize, flipping occasionally until meat is cooked and outside skin is golden brown. Remove from heat and place wings in mixing bowl, tossing with a generous amount of dry rub or Chipotle Glaze (or both!) Return to skillet for serving.


Method Two - offset heat and smoked: rub your wings with a generous amount of dry rub inside your skillet. Place skillet onto grill and cover, maintaining a low heat of 225 degrees for 2 hours or until completely cooked. Finish with more dry rub or toss in Chipotle Glaze.

Jean Paul's Dry Rub for Wings

what you need

6 ounces paprika

3 ½ ounces salt, kosher

3 ounces light brown sugar

3 ounces Ras el Hanout (*or substitute curry powder)

1 ½ ounces garlic powder

1 ounce onion powder

1 ounce mustard powder

1 ounce marjoram

½ ounce cayenne pepper

servings: 4-6


Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Store in an airtight container until ready to use to avoid clumping from moisture.

Chipotle Glaze

what you need

1 can chipotle pepper

4 ounces chipotle Tabasco pepper sauce

1/4 cup mild honey or molasses

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup orange juice



Open the can of chipotle peppers and drain the adobo sauce. Remove the seeds from the canned chipotle peppers.


In a blender puree the drained and seeded chipotle peppers, salt, Tabasco, orange juice, and honey until smooth.


Remove the puree from the blender and place in sauce pot and cook on low heat for 8 minutes.


Use immediately to coat wings, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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