Champagne taste, beer budget.

Greetings Carnivores,

Back in the early 80’s I was a not so young lad, working my way through a four-year University degree. I say ‘not so young’ because I didn’t actually decide to go back to school ’till I was twenty-five.

O’Keefe House … I LOVED every minute of my four years there!!

Money was very tight and living in an all male residence on Campus (ever see the movie ‘Animal House’? … THAT pretty much sums up my four wonderful years there) meant I ate A LOT of Kraft Dinner. (I actually owned a cook book called “101 creative ways to cook Kraft Dinner”!)


Champagne taste, beer budget.

Around the same time, an upstate New York chef, in the long-suffering city of Buffalo, did something in his kitchen that would change the face of every roadhouse restaurant, sports hangout  and dive bar north and south of the longest unprotected border … forever.

With all due respect, I say ‘long suffering’ because the city of Buffalo has been a perennial sporting Bridesmaid.

The NFL Superbowl dance  from  1991 through 1994  saw the Bills come away empty-handed four straight years in a row … unheard of in Professional football.


Their NHL Sabres likewise, were also Bridesmaids at Lord Stanley’s party in the 1974-75 season. But, … their most crushing, heartbreaking defeat was handed to them on June 20th 1999, when Brett Hull of the Dallas Stars scored the Cup winning goal … with his skate CLEARLY in Dominik Hasek’s crease.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda … who knows what the outcome of the game MIGHT have been if the refs had done the right thing, reviewed the play and seen what everyone else was seeing through the beauty of instant replay, … and disallowed the winning goal.

Never has the city of Buffalo been able host a winner’s spectacle, and sing “We are the Champions” while enjoying their ticker-tape parade through the streets, and proudly hoisting the spoils of their labour.


Again … I digress. Back to my story.

The long suffering city of Buffalo however, IS famous for something.

The ‘life changing’ event in the kitchen of that Buffalo restaurant I’m referring to of course, is the lowly Chicken Wing.

Now and forever, … referred to as, …  Buffalo Wings.

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Brown sugar and Sea salt brined … ready for the smoker.

Back then, they were thrown away or used for making stock but … this guy thought to himself … “Hey, … I wonder what would happen if I deep-fried these things, added some hot sauce and, put ’em on the menu?”

Fast forward, and today you find the price of Chicken Wings ridiculous! Think about it … there are ONLY two on every bird. The popularity of this bar staple has now made supply and demand such that the Wing has gone from something restaurateurs couldn’t give away, to one of the BIGGEST sellers on ANY menu, in ANY roadhouse, sports joint and dive bar … coast to coast … bar none … period! Entire restaurant chains have been established SOLELY on the Wing. Bars proudly advertise “BEST WINGS IN TOWN”. Boy, … from such humble beginnings. Seems CRAZY huh?

When I was in school, Wing night (every Tuesday and Thursday) at a local dive, walking distance from Campus for us was Nirvana. Back then Wings were 10 cents each! Poor students like us could eat 30 of them for $3.00 and STILL afford to have a couple of beers to wash ’em down!

Being that I’m a smoking junkie (meat, NOT tobacco … or that other funny stuff) means that Wings are one of my favourite subjects.

Two days ago I prepared a brine of Brown sugar (1 cup), Sea salt (1/2 cup) and water (8 cups). To this tincture I added my Wings, sealed them in a Ziplock bag and tucked them into my frig.

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All set … LET’S SMOKE !!!

Yesterday, I retrieved my Wings from the frig, rinsed them with cold running water and sprinkled them with Clubhouse Wild Whiskey Smoked BBQ seasoning. I prepped my water smoker, sprinkled pre-soaked Applewood chips on the hot coals, added my Wings and called my fishing buddy Steve Agius ( to come for Wings, beer and the NHL playoffs.

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3 hours later, beer in hand, hockey on the flat screen. Does it get any better?

Life is good 🙂

Stay hungry Carnivores and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook