Chicken Wings & Chicken Wing

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As a teenager throughout most of the nineties, I was enamored with professional wrestling. Of course a younger version of myself believed everything I saw and even after the appalling realization of it being faked, I was still drawn into the athleticism and story lines. On top of the hitting, throwing, and wrestling, ‘submission’ holds had always been used in wrestling to add drama. One of my favorites was the crossface chicken wing (made famous by Bob Backlund). It was my move of choice when wrestling with my friends in the backyard.

Of course, all teenagers have to grow up at some point. At 18, I began training in submission grappling and mixed martial arts at a small gym in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. It was around that time that I lost interest in professional wrestling and I was ‘all-in’ on the grappling arts. I trained four or five a weeks and started watching the historic first UFCs and early PRIDE Fighting Championships.

My first few weeks training, like most beginners, was being absolutely tortured by considerably smaller, but more adept men. At some point early in my jiu-jitsu training I was introduced to the Kimura. As soon as I was taught the basics, the connection was immediate – It was a chicken wing! The Kimura of course is applied with more technical precision, but the intention is the same: put a man’s arm and hand in the right position and torque the hand up the back closer to the head to elicit a verbal tap or submission.

Throughout the past 20 years, I’ve continued to train and the kimura remains very much a part of my personal submission grappling game. It is a submission that is known and taught to almost all grapplers; however, it is actually not that common a submission at a very high level of mixed martial arts. There have been roughly 35 finishes with the kimura in UFC history (compared to 390+ rear naked chokes for example). Of all submissions in UFC history, less than 3.5% have been with a kimura. There are of course submissions that are even more rare, but none are one of the simplest, most common submissions taught to beginner grapplers.

However, when executed correctly, the kimura is a devastating submission and absolutely can make some of the toughest men on the planet ‘tap out’ or quit:

As we’ve just passed the 4th of July and I was too busy to grill myself, I thought I would celebrate the ‘Chicken Wing’ or kimura in the best way possible: smoking chicken wings on my Traeger grill!

When at all possible, I like to support small local businesses, so I headed out to my local butcher shop and picked up 5 lbs. of full chicken wings. Once home, I decided to butcher my wings by removing the wing tips and separating the drumettes from the wingettes (drumsticks and wings). I immediately tossed them in a brine overnight (water, equal parts brown sugar and salt).

The next day, I drained the brine and tossed the wings with olive oil and Traeger Pork and Poultry rub. I then covered the bowl and tossed it in the fridge for four hours to let the seasoning sit in.

Time to cook. I started and preheated my Traeger to 180 degrees and set it to ‘Super Smoke’. I let the chicken smoke for two hours. After two hours, I temporarily removed the wings from the grill and set the temperature to 500 degrees. Once preheated, I put the wings back on the grill for about 4-5 minutes per side to sear and crisp up.

Ideally, start to eat immediately!

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