Slide this plate over, they’ve got crispy wings drenched in a sage butter sauce. Simple to make with very few ingredients. The aromas of the fried sage and chipotles will grab your shirt and pull you in. Good luck resisting.
Food memories from the grill
Fall reminds me of the smell of roasted chicken in the oven, something on the stove with spices and herbs, and a warm glass of cider. Turning those memories into something I can create on the grill is always a fun challenge. These smoked chicken wings were the perfect vehicle to drench in a warm sage butter sauce, sparking my nostalgia. Also, they taste incredible.
Keeping it simple and savory
As soon as it starts to cool off I’m running to the store to buy fresh sage and sticks of butter. The combination of that crunchy herb adorning anything that’s been touched by butter is just pure magic. Boiling a box of pasta and mixing it with a ridiculous amount of garlic sage butter is not beyond me. It shouldn’t be beyond you either.
Spending time on my website you’ll find that I’m not the biggest sugar-user in barbecue. I do enjoy BBQ rubs and sauces that are sweet, however, my palate keeps pointing me to the savory side. Anything with roasted garlic, charred flavors, or chiles will probably get me excited. Take note of this in case you ever decide to cook for me!
Grilling and Saucing
These are simple wings, let’s get that straight. We simply need to smoke the wings and make the sauce while they are cooking. Let’s break down a few important tips for success.
Dry-brine for the crispiest skin
Brining is the process of adding flavor into the meat, allowing it to be seasoned within and remain juicy. We want crispy skin for these wings, so we’ll use the dry-brining method. Keep the water in your drinking glass!
Season the wings generously and allow them to rest, uncovered in your fridge, for a few hours or up to overnight. The moisture from the salt will diffuse back into the wings and create a much more dry exterior. This is perfect for the crispiest skin off the smoker.
Don’t skimp on the sauce
This recipe makes plenty of sage butter sauce, which you’ll likely be licking off of the plate. May I suggest a side of toasty bread?
Start with room-temperature butter to avoid splatters. The cold moisture from the fridge will cause this, and also prompt the butter to burn easily. I also recommend using a light-colored pan when cooking with butter. This will help you see if you’re browning or burning the butter.
Melt the butter over medium heat and once it starts to foam and sizzle, add in the smashed garlic. The garlic will start to toast up nicely, and that’s when you drop in the sage. This herb doesn’t take long to crisp up. Remove the leaves when you see they are fried and crispy, set them aside. We will be eating those of course!
Turn off the heat of the stove and stir in a touch of honey and Worcestershire. This sweet and savory combo ties in the sauce to the wings, giving you that extra bump of desire as you’re eating.
This is the way, but there are other ways.
Don’t be afraid to grill these wings instead of smoking. You’ll add another dimension of smoky, bitter char from the coals, but the sweet flavors of honey and brown sugar come to the rescue and round out the profile.
This sauce is even more amazing if you’re patient enough to brown the butter, the process of simply cooking it a bit longer to crisp up the milk solids before you add in the garlic and sage. Just make sure you use that light-colored pan that I recommended before, there’s a fine line between browned and burnt butter.
Sage isn’t the herb for everyone, so try other herbs such as fresh rosemary. Just be mindful that herbs release a lot of power into butter with their flavors, so don’t overdo it.