The other day while browsing my local appliance store, I saw a “smoking gun”. Not because it had just been fired, but because it is used as a tool for finishing food with smoke essence. The gadget was in the $100 range so I thought it must provide a heat source for smoking the wood chips as well as a fan for transport of the smoke.
I found that the “smoking gun” only provided a holder for the wood chips and a vehicle to transport the smoke. You still need an external ignition for the wood chips.
I had seen the stovetop smokers used by some of the celebrity chefs on TV, but that has always seemed a little cumbersome.
Searching on our friendly internet, I was able to find a device by Gourmia for less than half the price of the gun style. This one has a wire nest container for the wood chips, a battery powered fan and a tube transport the smoke. What else do you need?
For my first foray into the field of smoke infusion, I decided to try Buffalo Wings. I had previously decided to make up a bunch of Buffalo Wingw so that we could have them for dinner and then have leftovers for snacks or lunches throughout the week. I’ll just do a side experiment and smoke some of them and compare!
My Recipe for Buffalo wings is really quite simple. I separate the wing pieces, wash and dry them and then put them in a single layer in a vacuum bag and sous vide them at 165 F for about 45 – 60 minutes. This gets them fully cook, but they are still nice and plump.
After cooking, remove the chicken wing pieces from the vacuum bag and dry thoroughly.
Crisp the wings by frying at 375-400 F for 3-4 minutes till they are at the color and crispness that you desire.
Toss or dip in Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce cut with a little melted butter to your favorite degree of hotness.
I took some of the wings and placed them under a stainless steel bowl and smoked them with Oak chips according to the manufacturer’s directions and let them sit for about 4-5 minutes before eating.
The smoke definately added a different flavor to the wings. It was a little sweet with just a slight acridness of the smoke. The flavor was light but noticeable. After the first couple of bites, it was more of a memory than actual flavor. I’ll definately have to try it again. I think it might be better with something that had less spice to begin with.
A couple of notes on the sous vide wings. I used to cook my wings for 12 minutes at 375F to make sure the wings were done and there was no chance of our friend Salmonella lurking around. I found that cooking the wing parts first eliminated the concern about making sure that the chicken was cooked and I could concentrate on nice golden brown wings that weren’t shriveled and dried out.
The sous vide wings are juicer and more flavorful and tend to retain their shape