Ever since I’ve committed to eating less meat, better meat, I’ve avoided serving chicken wings to large crowds. Organic wings are pricey, and I just can’t bring myself to pick up a big pack of factory-farmed chicken wings.
I mostly buy chicken at Costco—the Coleman organic brand—which until recently was limited to whole chickens and boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs. Not long ago I spied chicken legs in the case, and last time I was delighted to see they had added chicken wings to their line. Coincidentally I was getting ready for a large appetizer party, and when I saw the organic wings I changed my menu on the spot.
As I was preparing to grill the wings I budgeted time to split them, but as I took them out of the packaging, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had already been done. All I had to do was dump them in a big bowl, pat them dry, toss them with oil, salt, and pepper, and heat up the grill.
While the wings grilled I mixed the mustard, maple syrup, and fresh thyme in a big bowl. As they came off the grill I simply tossed them in, the glaze turning the wings an appealing glossy mahogany brown.
I prepared the wings a couple hours before the party with plans to warm them in the oven shortly before. As the wings were coming off the grill David was walking through the kitchen and Maggy and Sharon happened to be in town and cooking with me that day too. All three were clamoring for a hot wing. And when they each had tasted one, they longed for another.
I’m a generous host, but I can be a little miserly pre-party. I told them they’d have to wait until our guests arrived for more. I usually overestimate and regret that I couldn’t have been more generous. Not that night. There wasn’t a single wing left.
- 4 to 5 pounds split chicken wings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and ground black pepper
- ½ cup whole grain mustard
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves.
- Heat gas grill igniting all burners on high for at least 10 minutes or build a hot charcoal fire. Clean grate with a wire brush and then lubricate well with an oil-soaked rag. Drizzle wings with oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper; toss to coat.
- Arrange wings on a hot grate and, being ready to extinguish potential flare-ups with a squirt bottle, grill until impressive marks form on one side, about 5 minutes. Turn wings over and continue to grill until impressive marks form on the other side. Turn all burners down to low and continue to grill until wings and well browned and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes longer.
- Meanwhile mix mustard, syrup, and thyme in a large bowl. Remove hot wings from grill to bowl of mustard mixture; toss to coat and serve.