If You Don't Want Bitter Wings, Take Michael Symon's Advice

Chicken wings are one of the most popular meat dishes in America — per The New York Post in 2017, one poll suggests the average American will consume over 18,000 wings in their lifetime. Given all that consumption, Americans preparing their wings at home is a common occurrence and chef Michael Symon has some advice for people taking that task on.

Heeding Symon's advice on this matter is not winging it, as Symon speaks with expertise on this subject. Food Network says Symon's resume includes award-winning restaurant operations, authoring a cookbook, and earning the hallowed title of "Iron Chef." His food-related television appearances include roles on "BBQ USA," "Burgers, Brew and 'Que," "The Chew," and "Symon's dinners Cooking Out" (per IMDb). Across all that experience, Symon has picked up a few tips and tricks. Among those is some wisdom for those who don't want their homemade chicken wings to go up in smoke. 

Make one thing clear

Symon has a tip for those who aren't too chicken to try their hands at smoking some wings themselves. A Twitter user tagged Symon and said, "Need your advice, Chef. Did smoked chix wings with hickory & they were good, but somewhat bitter. Too long on smoker (2 1/2 hrs @ 250) or wrong wood? Maybe less time on smoke & finish in oven? Different wood? Thanks for any advice!" Symon responded, "I would go with a fruitwood ..also make sure your wood is burning clear before you add meat .. there shouldn't be white smoke when you smoke .. with any meats not just chicken wings."

According to Ample Firewood, fruitwood comes from fruit trees and imparts distinct flavor elements into your meat. The Online Grill advocates for the use of applewood and cherrywood for smoking chicken, reinforcing Symon's wisdom. Symon isn't the only one advocating for clean smoke when discussing how to smoke almost any type of meat, either. The Meat Smoking Guy presents a similar argument, stating that white smoke can add a bitter flavor to the meat. The less visible your smoke is, the better. To address the dirty smoke issue, The Meat Smoking Guy recommends increasing the airflow into your smoker and simply waiting for your smoker to heat further before adding the meat.

Smoking meat is an art that takes experience and patience to perfect, but cues from experts like Symon along the way can speed that process up.