To cook like a championship pitmaster, try this recipe for smoky chicken wings


The teams that compete at the annual World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest every year in Memphis often have years of experience under their belts before they can earn a trophy as world-class pitmasters

Smoky chicken wings.
Smoky chicken wings.SHUTTERSTOCK

But you don't need any fancy equipment to cook like one at home. All you need is some advice from two experts who have spent years as judges for the so-called "Super Bowl of Swine."

Michelle and Brandon O'Guin of Lakeland, Tennessee, met at the annual cookingcontest more than a decade ago. They now have a catering company and regularly compete in multiple contests, as well as serve as certified judges.

"We like to call ourselves culinary athletes," said Michelle O'Guin.

While the Memphis competition is all about the hog, the O'Guins specialize in chicken wings, which make for an easy intro for backyard grillers looking to experiment with smoking.

The key to smoking is low and slow, where the wings are on the colder side of the grill, not directly over the hot coals. This is commonly called a two-zone method. The O'Guins advise going easy on the wood chips or chunks because too much smoke can overwhelm the flavors of the marinade. They prefer pecan wood chips because the nuttiness goes well with the adobo chiles.

"We love doing wings, and Michelle being from Southern California, that Mexican flavor is a real big inspiration," said Brandon O'Guin.

The final step is a high, hot sear at the end to crisp up the chicken wing.

"The thing about these wings is with them being marinated, you have to have that heat on the end because all that moisture that's on the skin, it takes a while for them to dry out," explained Brandon O'Guin.