Anyone who knows me knows I am a true connoisseur of Buffalo wings. If I am trying out a new restaurant, and authentic wings are a choice on the menu, I’ll possibly give them a try, but only after confirming that the wings are not battered before being fried, and that the sauce is the real deal, not some sweet and spicy BBQ sauce.
But, wings are getting really expensive of late. In fact, the rising price of wings caused the profits of Buffalo Wild Wings to drop by 63 percent in the second quarter this year according to The Washington Post. Yikes.
However, here’s a secret. While wings might be selling at $2.69 per pound, chicken thighs can be had for under $1 per pound. And they are meatier and more moist than their wing counterpart. In fact, over 90 percent of the chicken entries in official Kansas City BBQ Society competitions are thighs. So let’s talk about buying some bone-in thighs and fix up some awesome smoked Buffalo thighs for this weekend.
I will tell you up front that the main thing to remember is to cook thighs long enough. If not they can be a bit mushy. You want to achieve that firm texture while keeping them moist. In this case I smoked the thighs the day before, refrigerated them and then slowly warmed them up the next day.
Set the grill with indirect heat. If you want to do a lot of thighs, use a cookie cooling rack and create a double decker setup. Season both sides of the thigh with your favorite rub, or just some salt, pepper and granulated garlic powder. In this case I used apple wood chips as my source of smoke. Place the lid on the grill with vents 50 percent open. I smoked them for 1 1⁄2 hours. Again, the point is to firm up the meat and get some crispness to the skin. And don’t worry, unlike a breast, it’s hard to overlook a thigh. If you want to smoke them the day before, simply bring them up to temperature the next day by placing them on a cookie sheet uncovered and baking them at 260 degrees for an hour or so. The skin will crisp up a little more, which is a good thing.
Authentic Buffalo Sauce
1 1⁄2 cups Frank's Hot Sauce
1⁄2 stick of unsalted butter
3 TBS of white wine vinegar
Melt the butter over medium heat, then whisk in the hot sauce and lastly, add the vinegar. Bring to a low boil. Now pour the Buffalo sauce over the thighs and toss. Serve with ranch and bleu cheese dressings for dipping, as well as celery and carrot sticks. Dig in and enjoy.
Dave Lobeck is an Edward Jones financial adviser in Jeffersonville by day and a BBQ enthusiast on nights and weekends. Liz is his wife. You can contact Dave with your BBQ, cooking or grilling questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit their YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/BBQMyWay.