Intro: Night Vale-Inspired Smoked Wings W/Cactus Buffalo Sauce
“Life should be like a basket of chicken wings–salty, fatty, covered in vinegar and served with way more celery than you’ll ever eat.” – Welcome to Night Vale, Episode 8.
For this recipe, I was inspired by the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex from the comedy/horror podcast "Welcome to Night Vale".
The owner, Teddy Williams, in episode 8 finds a doorway into an underground city in the pin retrieval of lane five, and reports to hear an army marching toward the world above. Believing that “nothing really matters now,” he declares that “bowling is half off and comes with a free basket of wings.”
I may have taken the “Desert Flower” part of this recipe literally, but I feel that works in this case. There isn’t much that remains figurative in Night Vale. Desert-grown plants included prickly pear and mesquite. I incorporated both by smoking the chicken wings with mesquite wood chips in a stockpot on the stove and mixing prickly pear jelly in the buffalo sauce. Traditionally Buffalo sauce involves combining melted butter with hot sauce. Though as a nod to lane five’s invasion I also mixed in some truffle oil for a taste of the underground.
Ready open your mind and free your tastebuds? Keep reading.
Step 1: Gather Your Senses As Well As Your Ingredients
For this taste of Night Vale, you will need the following:
- Dozen chicken wing sections
- 1/2 cup cactus pear jelly
- 1/4 cup Choula or Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons truffle oil
- fajita seasoning
- kosher salt
- a handful of mesquite smoking chips
- paper towels
- 2 mixing bowls
- stockpot with lid
- aluminum foil
- 9-inch steel or aluminum pie plate
- collapsible metal steaming basket
- cooking spray, tongs
- baking sheet
Step 2: Season the Flesh
Prepare the sacrifice by patting the chicken wings dry with paper towels and liberally applying fajita seasoning on all sides.
Step 3: Smoke and Mirrored Surfaces...
Line the inner bottom of your stockpot with aluminum foil and place the wood chips on top. Place the pie plate on top of to cover the chips and the steamer basket on top of that. Put the pot on the stovetop.
Step 4: All Hail the Smoke Cloud...
Spray the basket with cooking spray and arrange the wings on top. Cover the pot and seal the edges with more foil. Turn the heat on the stovetop on high and set two timers, one for two hours, one for 10 minutes. Turn the ventilation hood on its highest setting.
When 10 minutes is up, reduce the heat to low and let cook until the second timer goes off. Remove the pot from heat and remove the foil and lid while wearing oven mitts.
Line a baking sheet with foil, spray it with cooking spray, then transfer the wings to the sheet using tongs. Cook it for 3 minutes in the oven on low broil to crisp the skin. Let cool while preparing the sauce.
Step 5: Make It Saucy
Melt the butter in the saucepan over low heat on the stovetop. When melted, whisk in the jelly, truffle oil, hot sauce, and a pinch of kosher salt for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Remove from heat.
Step 6: Nothing Like Those Desert Flower Wings...
Transfer the wings to a mixing bowl and pour the sauce on top. Gently toss the wings until coated. Serve with more celery than you’ll ever eat.
So here it is, a recipe to savor as the end approaches. Why not start listening to Welcome to Night Vale while you wait for the meat to smoke off the bone? You can find it by clicking here or looking them up wherever you listen to podcasts.
If you liked this instructable and would like to learn more geeky recipes inspired by fandom, check out my blog The Gluttonous Geek!