The ultimate barbecue hot wings and ribs

Irish chefs share their secrets to great barbeque food

Delicious: Andy Noonan’s  chargrilled hot wings seasoned with his all-rounder barbecue rub

Delicious: Andy Noonan’s chargrilled hot wings seasoned with his all-rounder barbecue rub


Andy Noonan’s all-rounder barbecue rub and chargrilled hot wings

Andy Noonan is the founder and organiser of the Big Grill barbecue Festival, which takes place in Dublin’s Herbert Park from August 17th to 20th. See

All-rounder barbecue rub

This forms a great base rub for anything and everything grilled or smoked. Make a larger batch and store it in an airtight jar for up to six months.


4 tablespoons smoked paprika (buy the best quality you can afford)

1 tablespoon fine sea salt

1 table spoon cracked black pepper

2 teaspoon garlic granules or powder

1 teaspoon onion powder (optional but recommended)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon ground cumin


In a mixing bowl, combine ingredients. Store in airtight container.

The beauty of this rub is to modify it depending on what you’re cooking. Here are some guidelines:

Chicken – leave it as is.

Pork – add a small amount of brown sugar.

Lamb – add more cumin, some crushed/ground fennel seeds and some sumac.

Fish – if your fish is nice and fresh just use some salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Beef – goes great with grilled beef (although my personal preference is just good quality sea salt flakes and pepper – let the quality of the meat do the talking).

Chargrilled hot wings

2kg full chicken wings (tips on)

All-rounder barbecue Rub

Pinch of chilli flakes

Hot sauce of choice (I like habanero-based sauces for maximum flavour and extra heat)

200g unsalted butter


First a note about grilling: the trick to cooking chicken on a grill without flare-ups (when intense flames caused by oil or fat dripping off food burn, rather than char, food) is two-fold.

Create a “safe zone” on your grill, with no coals or flames underneath.

Close the lid on your grill to stop airflow (airflow equals flames).

If using a charcoal grill, you can set up for a high heat/searing zone and a safe, or low-heat zone by arranging your coals with a large mound on one side of the grill (high-heat zone), and no coals on one the other side (retreat-heat zone).

On a gas grill: figure out where your hot/medium/safe zones are by turning on all the burners at full blast and holding your hand over each area – at a safe distance – when it’s fully heated.

Coat wings evenly in your all-rounder rub. I like to add some chilli flakes to the rub for an extra kick.

Place the wings on your low-heat/safe zone of your grill. Cook slowly for 40-60 minutes. If you have a thermometer on your grill it should read 140-170c.

While your wings are cooking, melt equal amounts of butter and hot sauce slowly in a saucepan. Set aside but keep warm.

Back to the wings. Pull one off and check if it’s done – the meat should be cooked the whole way through. If you have a digital thermometer the temperature should read 75 degrees.

When you’re happy they’re done finish the wings over a high heat to char them nicely. A spray bottle of apple juice or water will help control flames as will closing the lid or moving your wings to your low-heat/safe zone. Make sure to get the wing tips nice and crisp, they’re the best bit! Just make sure not to burn them.

Remove wings from the grill, toss in the hot sauce and serve immediately.

Finger-licking good: John Relihan’s smoked baby back ribs
Finger-licking good: John Relihan’s smoked baby back ribs

John Relihan’s baby back ribs

Chef and pitmaster John Relihan is owner of Holy Smoke barbecue restaurant in Cork.

These smoked ribs are delicious. If you don’t have a smoker, use a charcoal barbecue that has a cover, which will work just as well. Alternatively you can use your domestic oven.

Ingredients (serves two):

2 rack of baby back ribs from your local butcher (make sure they have plenty of meat on them)

100 ml French’s mustard

Pork rub

20g sweet paprika

10g brown sugar

1g cayenne

4g granulated onion

4g granulated garlic

6g sea salt

4g cracked black pepper

2g crushed chilli flakes

Herb brush and baste

1 bunch rosemary

1 bunch sage

1 bunch thyme

200g Irish butter, melted

Bunch the herbs together and tie tightly with a piece of string to the top of a wooden spoon so it resembles a mop. (This is a wonderful flavour wand for basting all meats that are roasted or cooked low and slow.)

Sit your herb brush into the melted butter and use to baste your ribs.


Bunch of coriander, chopped

4 spring onions, chopped


Flatten ribs and remove all of the sinew that covers the naked rib side of your rack. Rub the mustard into every nook and cranny of your rack. This caramelises wonderfully when they are cooking.

Massage the pork rub into the meat side of the ribs, leaving the naked rib side unseasoned to allow the smoke in.

Place in the smoker/covered barbecue at 120 degrees for 3½ hours until you can pull the meat off the bone, but there’s still a bit of a bite.

While you are cooking, baste generously every 40 minutes with your flavour wand.

When ribs are ready, cover with barbecue sauce and return to the barbecue grill for five minutes to allow sauce to settle.

Sprinkle with spring onion and coriander before serving. Don’t forget a finger bowl and lots of kitchen roll for those sticky fingers.

Barbecue sauce

300ml apple juice

100ml cider vinegar

100ml ketchup

60ml French’s mustard

20ml soy sauce

3g smoked paprika

50g dark brown sugar

8g minced garlic

4g garlic powder

150g white onion minced

I usually have this ready before I cook my ribs. With this quantity you will have some left over which can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks and used for your next barbecue.

Heat the oil in the pan and add the minced onions and garlic and slow cook until soft, add the dry ingredients and cook on low heat for another five minutes.

Add the apple juice and vinegar, soy sauce and bring to the boil for 10 minutes and set on a simmer. Add the ketchup and mustard. Season and let cook out for 40 minutes on medium heat.

Ideal summer salad: Robin Gill’s garden courgette, smoked buffalo milk curd and rooftop honey salad
Ideal summer salad: Robin Gill’s garden courgette, smoked buffalo milk curd and rooftop honey salad

Robin Gill’s garden courgette, smoked buffalo milk curd, rooftop honey salad

Irish chef Robin Gill owns The Dairy, The Manor and Paradise Garage restaurants in London. He offers a light salad to eat with your barbecue.

Ingredients (serves four):

Smoked buffalo curd

500ml buffalo milk

25ml double cream

10ml buttermilk

Pinch of salt

Zest of one lemon

2g vegetable rennet

A handful of dried hay

Place all ingredients apart from the hay and rennet into a container. Toast the hay in a tray in a preheated oven at 180°C until it is an amber colour all over and has started to smoke. Carefully remove the smoking hay from the oven and pour over the milk mixture. Leave to infuse for 30 minutes.

Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a clean pot and add the rennet. Place the pot over a low heat and bring up to 36°C. (The mix should be just warm on the fingertips.) Transfer into a suitable-sized container and refrigerate for at least two hours before use.

Courgette and basil purée

2 courgettes with flowers

1 bunch fresh basil

Olive oil

1 clove garlic (crushed)

20g aged Parmesan (finely grated)

Cut the courgettes into quarters and slice across into thin pieces, reserving the flowers for the assembly. Pick half of the basil, reserving the best leaves for garnish later. Place a medium-sized pan over a medium heat. Add a good drizzle of olive oil and the garlic and follow quickly with the sliced courgette. Stir and add a spoon of water.

Cover with a lid to help create steam. After two minutes, add the basil and the Parmesan. Place the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl placed over iced water and cool quickly to retain the bright green colour.


2 courgettes with flowers

Salt (to season)

Black pepper (to season)

Lemon juice (to season)

Olive oil

10g toasted pumpkin seeds

5 Nocellara Del Belice olives (sliced)

4 tbsp of good quality honey

Tear all the courgette flowers into quarters. Slice the courgettes thinly lengthways using a mandolin or peeler and mix with the flowers in a bowl. Season with salt, black pepper, lemon juice and olive oil to taste.

Spoon the courgette purée generously around each plate. Scatter the courgette slices and flowers alternatively around each plate. Add a couple of olive pieces and a couple of spoonfuls of the smoked curd. Finish each plate with the reserved fresh basil, pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of honey.

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