Recipe: Chicken Wings (or Shrimp!) to Die For

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The chicken wing is easily the most overdone food in North America. In a landscape littered with fried, dry-rubbed and over-sauced wings, I am a firm believer in the grilled chicken wing. My recipe below is a labor of love, and totally worth the effort.

  • Raw chicken wings (drums and flats separated preferred)
  • Portuguese Malagueta (pimento paste)
  • Sambal Oelek (Indonesian hot sauce)
  • Olive oil
  • White wine
  • Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  1. Ensure the wings are fully thawed
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the malagueta and sambal oelek at a 2:1 ratio with the olive oil and a few splashes of white wine. Do not shy away from the olive oil!
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sauce with the wings and massage the sauce into the wings. Massaging is key, as it pushes the sauce into every crevice.
  4. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let sit in the fridge over night.
  5. Pull the bowl out of the fridge an hour before you’re ready to cook.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 375 and toss the wings into a covered pan with the sauce (Important: You want the sauce to cook with the wings). Cook for 20 minutes, or until noticably firmer. Your house should smell fantastic at this point.
  7. Pull the wings out and remove them from the sauce. Keep the excess sauce in the pan.
  8. Toss the semi-cooked wings on the BBQ on med-high heat. You want them to sear, but remember that you will attract flames with the sauce. To keep the flames at bay, I like to keep a crisp lager handy– like Singha, for example. Lightly and occasionally spray the wings with beer, ensuring that you close the lid after each spray. This adds an additional smokiness to the wing.  Tip: only use the beer on the seared sides, to prevent washing off any of the surface sauce.
  9. As with anything on the BBQ, try to limit the number of times you turn the wings. You want to lock in the juiciness from the marinade. Once on each side is ideal, and you want to ensure you get color on each side.
  10. Pull from BBQ and toss back into a bowl with the excess cooked sauce. Finish with roughly chopped cilantro and serve!

Tip: This recipe also works fantastic with shrimp if you skip the oven and go straight to the grill. Traditional Portuguese cooking calls for shrimp with the heads on. While it might be intimidating, the heads preserve a fantastic amount of flavor and add to the presentation of the dish.

Beer Pairing: Singha or GLB’s Blonde Ale

Brewery Review: Bellwoods Brewery

Location

124 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON, Canada

Future locations

950 Dupont Street, Toronto, ON, Canada (brewpub + event space) *Opening Summer 2017*

20 Hafis Road, North York, ON, Canada (brewing and storage facility with bottle shop) *Opening Winter 2016*

www.bellwoodsbrewery.com

Review

Nestled on one of the hippest blocks in downtown Toronto, Bellwoods Brewery isn’t just one of the most innovative breweries in the city, it’s widely considered to be among the best in the world!

As a cellar keeper and collector of aged beer, Bellwoods is often my go-to local brewery for Brett-laced sours, boozy stouts and porters that only improve with time. Their barrel program is among the best in Canada, and constant releases drive fans to their bottle shop (which is open until 11PM everyday, by the way) on a regular basis.

Don’t let their big, barrel-aged releases overshadow the rest of the Bellwoods beer catalogue, though. They produce some solid IPA’s and session ales, too. Witchshark, Boogie Monster and Roman Candle are all regularly available and respectable IPAs.

Aside from consistently innovative and fantastic beer, Bellwood’s also has some of the most creative and visually appealing label art in the business. Most of the labels can be purchased in poster-form in the bottle shop, and all are man-cave worthy. Notable labels include Witchshark , Farmageddon and 3 Minutes to Midnight.

Perhaps the only downside to Bellwoods is the brew pub. Being located in the heart of Toronto’s hipster-ville, the small bar area is always full and I personally find the crowd pretentious. If you manage to get a spot, though, the bottle list always has some old gems from the Bellwoods vault. The food is not bad at all, but you should note that you’re in the heart of Ossington/Dundas West and food choices near the bar are varied and fantastic.

**Note: Bellwoods has recently announced plans to open two new locations in Toronto! The location on Hafis Road will be dedicated to production and storage with a bottle shop; the location on Dupont Street will be a brew pub and event space (events are not managed by Bellwoods). To read more about the progress, follow their blog here. 

 

 

On Cooking

For me, food is tightly bound in memory, experience, culture and family. My greatest culinary influences are family members, and nearly every fond memory I have with them involves cooking. I do truly believe that great food is made with love; it’s not mechanical or scientific; great food, like memory and experience, is transcendent.

I am a man who likes to color outside of the lines, and so it should come as no surprise that I do not believe in following a recipe or measuring the ingredients that go into my creations. Cooking, for me, is stream of consciousness. Culinary schools and restaurants alike will often teach “consistency is key,” though I am not interested in cooking, or eating, for consistency. I want to be surprised and challenged; I want the risk, and the reward, that comes with cooking from the heart.

My recipes posts, as such, will not look like your conventional recipe book. I don’t outline quantities, weights or fluid ounces. I’ll often recommend substitutions for core ingredients. Many of the foods I make leverage left-overs from a previous recipe. In short, when it comes to cooking, I give a big, giant ‘fuck you’ to convention.

Enjoy and bon appétit!

Brewery Review: Great Lakes Brewery

Location

30 Queen Elizabeth Blvd, Etobicoke, ON, Canada

Review

Situated in Toronto’s up-and-coming Etobicoke district, Great Lakes Brewery (GLB) has won the best brewery in Canada award twice (2013, 2014) and has established itself as craft brewing force in Ontario. It’s flagship beers — Canuck Pale Ale and Pompous Ass English Pale Ale — can be found in LCBO’s across the province, and were part of the first beers to hit Loblaw’s shelves this year when Ontario finally passed a bill allowing for beer to be sold in grocery stores.

As a craft beer fan, you’ve got to love what GLB has done with it’s Project X and Tank Ten series lines. Project X is a members-only program that allows GLB fans to a monthly tasting of GLB’s experimental beers. These beers are also sold out of the brewery’s bottle shop in very limited amounts, and they sell out quickly. Among 2015’s most memorable Project X brews includes Harry Porter and the Cherry Hoarder, GLB’s Harry Porter infused with cherries.

GLB also uses it’s Project X program as a test pilot for experimental beers. If a Project X brew has rave reviews, they may move it to the Tank Ten series, casting a wider production net. These beers are seasonal and may, on occasion, be available outside of the brewery’s bottle shop. In my opinion, Tank Ten is where GLB produces some of their best beers. Standout’s include Thrust! An IPA (possibly the best Canadian IPA on the market), Karma Citra, Audrey Hopburn and Octopus Wants to Fight.

The brewery is unassuming, on a small side street sandwiched between the Gardiner and the Queensway. Though they do have a small taproom, most of the best beers in their offering can be snatched up in the bottle shop. The staff is always super cool, and because GLB does a lot of tap takeover’s across the GTA, they become familiar faces on the Toronto beer scene.

Lastly, and worth mention, is GLB’s Blonde Ale. In my opinion, it’s very underrated, and one of the most refreshing beers in the Toronto beer market. If I’m out fishing, or headed to the cottage, this is my go-to brew.

Notable Brews

Blond, Harry Porter and the Cherry Hoarder, Thrust! An IPA, Life Sentence IIPA, Imperial Bout Imperial Stout