grilled chicken wings with citrusy and spicy honey soy sauce


With its cultural events, historical significance, and small-town, big-city balance, Columbia, South Carolina is always a special place to experience. Aside from the iconic statehouse and governmental and political rants, the backbone of Columbia is arguably rooted in the Gamecocks. Not one person glances twice at a pedestrian sporting a Carolina tee shirt or a grown man wearing an Under Armour football jersey in the middle of baseball season. There is no question as to what that chicken foot sticker is doing on the back of that SUV. And I love that. The Gamecocks are so ingrained in Columbia that we Carolina fans have come to know it as part of our city surrounding and coming across garnet and black on a daily basis is like drinking visual water.


But this time of year, the city changes. Windows in storefronts don gamecock-spotted khakis and feather boas wrapped around almost-formal black dresses. Cheers and parties can be heard for blocks. And Williams-Brice stadium becomes the living host from which the Gamecock union races together to feed.

That sounded gross.

What I mean to say is that football season is upon us, y’all. Our fellow Gamecock-ingrained Columbia citizens are finally getting together once again for this multiple months long party we call college football. And I’m jumpin’ outta my boots. Actually, right now, I’m barefoot. So, I’m jumpin’ outta my skin. Gross again.


And if we’re talkin’ football, tailgatin’ can’t be a subject too far away. In fact, I believe they go together like love and marriage (and in the SEC, tailgating is a whole other animal. Another time, another post). Y’all know the best way to watch football is to eat. And eat. And eat. And eat, more specifically, food that sticks to your fingers, drips down your shirt, and, more practically, is somewhat portable. Cue wings.



grilled chicken wings with citrusy and spicy honey soy sauce
cook time: 40 minutes yield: 4 servings 
2 pounds chicken wings
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp red pepper flakes
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp peeled and grated ginger
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup Sriracha
1 tsp orange zest
a splash of rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped green onion

In a large bowl, toss together the chicken wings, black pepper (your preferred amount), red pepper flakes, and olive oil until the wings are evenly coated.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for one minute. Whisk in the soy sauce, honey, and Sriracha and continue whisking until the mixture beings to slowly simmer. Reduce the heat to low and add the orange zest and vinegar. At this point, remove about 1/2 cup of the sauce and reserve for basting. Add half of the green onions to the sauce mixture still in the saucepan and keep on low heat until thickened slightly.
On a charcoal grill set at an average temperature of 300º, sear the wings on direct heat for one minute on each side. Transfer the wings to indirect heat and cook for 10 minutes. With the sauce set aside for basting, baste the topside of the wings with a light layer. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Flip the wings, baste, and cook, covered, for 15 more minutes or until the wings are slightly charred and crispy.
Transfer the wings to a bowl, pour the sauce in the saucepan over the chicken, and toss to evenly coat. Serve sprinkled with green onions and, if desired, red pepper flakes and mommy’s ranch dressing.


That title is a mouthful! Also, I won’t pretend to be a grill master. Andy knows all the ooos and ahhs of grilling and made this recipe possible.
And to my fellow football friends across the nation, whatever your team, have fun this season! This is such a special time for bonding over food and for sharing fun memories with friends and strangers alike. I’m getting sappy again. I love you guys. Sniff.


miniature fried green tomatoes

Outside of my grandmother’s back door is a little space that holds a goldfish pond, a few chairs, a porch swing, and a teensy little garden she keeps in large flowerpots. The last time I was over there, she was poking at one of her cherry tomato plants with a scrunched up face that obviously said, “Why won’t these little boogers turn red?” After she repositioned the pots a little and refreshed the sun-drenched soil, she explained that they’d grown up really nicely and then they’d decided to plateau in that milky (yet beautiful) green stage that tomatoes go through.

“I’m just gonna show ’em who’s boss and toss ’em in a fryin’ pan and make fried green tomato bites. Hmph.”

Light bulb.

After we realized that that actually was a good idea, she tossed a handful in my car and I drove off, ready to experiment with those in-between tomatoes and thinking about how cute they’d be sitting next to a tiny piece of fried chicken or a miniature biscuit.

This is just a fun post. I don’t expect that any store will sell green cherry tomatoes, but if you have a garden and have some little tomatoes that haven’t quite grown up yet, you could try this just for kicks.

miniature fried green tomatoes
prep time: 20 minutes cook time: 4 minutes yield: 2 servings
8 green cherry tomatoes
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
freshly ground black pepper
cayenne pepper, to taste
1/2 cup buttermilk
peanut oil, enough to cover the bottom of a skillet

Slice the tomatoes to about 1/4 inch thickness and sprinkle each slice with salt. Place in a colander and allow the salt to drain the water from the tomatoes, about 20 minutes. Less moisture will result in a crispier fried tomato.
While the tomatoes are draining, mix the flour, baking powder, pepper, and cayenne in a bowl until combined. Add the oil to a skillet over medium-high heat.
Dip the tomato slices in the buttermilk and then dredge in the flour mixture. Add a small slice to the oil to test the temperature. If the tomato simply sits and nothing happens, the oil is not hot enough. If the oil bubbles up around the tomato, add the others. Fry for only a couple of minutes until golden brown and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

Alright, y’all, I’ve gotta run. The Gamecocks are playing in the College World Series in just a few and I’ve gotta go get my rally cap ready.