The Potential in a Small Smoked Chicken Wing

Walk down any residential street in Fernie in July and you’d be hard pressed not to smell the charring of meat on a grill or hear the cheers and laughter of people in their backyards. With the backdrop of the mountains, bright summer nights and generally cool evenings, what better way to enjoy these elements than with the company of friends and family?

Gatherings around food always have the potential to cultivate new opportunities whether it be new relationships, job opportunities or just great conversations. BBQ season with its relatively low impact for preparation and laidback approach to food and drink, provides the perfect environment for this. How much more laissez-faire can it get when dinner invites involve the acronym BYOB (bring your own bottle) and BYOM (bring your own meat)?

Five summers ago, I was invited to a smoked meat BBQ. I had just moved back from living in Calgary for the past 11 years, I still had a few friends from growing up here butthiswould be a great opportunity to meet new people and potentially new friends. Previous to coming home I had spent a casual year researching the fun and fine art of smoking, I say art as there is an art to understanding how too much or too little smoke can affect your final product. Too much and you are left with an overwhelming acrid taste. This is quite common for beginners and I’ve fed a lot of acrid cheddar cheese to my friends. Too little and what you have is a flat bland flavour with none of the smoky wood flavour that makes BBQ what it is. There is a sweet spot in the low and slow cooking method and a controlled amount of white smoke that renders juicy, beautiful flavours that resonate something primal in your senses.

This BBQ in particular had quite a few of Fernie’s most talented young Chefs in attendance and I decided to go with the K.I.S.S method and chose the humble and very cost-effective chicken wing. I used my Fathers spicy BBQ wing recipe and smoked them for about an hour. The result was awesome, taking something so ordinary and turning it into something that exceeded my, and others’ expectations. What blossomed from that BBQ were a few of my closest girlfriends and eventually a little start up that couldbe called Fernie Catering Co. Never underestimate the potential of an invite to a BBQ or the small things, in this case it was the potential contained in a small smoked chicken wing that did more than just taste good.

WDR’S Spicy Chicken Wings

  • 1 to 2lbs of chicken wings
  • 3 tbs Cajun Spice
  •  ½ cup Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • Woodchips Cherrywood

Pat chicken wings dry and toss in both hot sauce and Cajun spice, wings should be evenly coated. If the mixture seems to wet adjust with spice to dry it out.

Set wings into preheated smoker at 250F, smoke wings for 45 mins to an hour or until internal temperature reaches 165F. Eat with generous amounts of fermented mustard and refresh your palate with our Gin and Tonic with Cucumber, Watermelon Popsicles.

Lacto-fermented Mustard 

  • 1 cup Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp Chili flakes
  • 3 Tbsp Salt
  • ¼ cup Raw Honey 
  • ½ cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 cups Raw Kambucha 

Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse a few times. Place in mason jar and store in cool dark space. Stir once or twice a day for three to four days. Store in refrigerator and enjoy within six months.

Lacto-fermentation, Lactobacillus organisms convert lactose and other sugars present in food into lactic acid. This results in an acidic environment.

Gin and Tonic with Cucumber, Watermelon Popsicles

  • 3 oz Fernie Distillers Gin
  • 2 oz Simple syrup
  • 2 oz Lime Juice
  • 2 oz tonic water 
  • Diced Watermelon
  • Diced Cucumber
  • Lime Zest

Add Diced watermelon, cucumber and lime zest to a popsicle tray or six solo cup shot glasses.Combine all other ingredients, mix well and pour into popsicle trays and freeze. Use the popsicles in place of ice in your next Gin and Tonic.

by Lacey Wilson, Recipes by Barrie Elliott

Photo by Matt Kuhn Photography