Brian Chilson

Sweet relief, college football is back. That means fall weather is on the horizon, Halloween lurks around the corner, the drive through the Ozarks is about to be insanely beautiful and the Hogs, facing the toughest schedule in the country, are about to give us so many heart attacks.

Here’s a taste of what you missed if you didn’t watch SEC Nation Saturday morning.

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I went over to my friend Motley’s to watch the game. He was smoking wings on an original PK Grill + Smoker. The game was delayed on ESPN, so we got to watch the brutal horror of East Carolina University’s kicker miss a chance to tie the game versus N.C. State with an extra point and then a few minutes later miss again with a chance to win the game. When the Razorback game came on the first play we saw might’ve been the play of the game when LSU transfer Dwight McGlothern intercepted Cincinnati quarterback Ben Bryant’s pass and returned it 51 yards. Three plays later Razorback quarterback KJ Jefferson rushed for 15 yards into the end zone for the first score of the game.

Brian Chilson
Razorback quarterback KJ Jefferson

 

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Brian Chilson
Tight end Trey Knox hauls in a touchdown pass on Saturday at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium in Fayetteville.

Motley’s pre-game menu consisted of tortilla chips and Pancho’s white queso. For the wings he made what our friend Murdock says is a “dirty sauce.” He claims he got it years ago for a pork chop sandwich from Chicken King in North Little Rock. A quick Google search has several mayo-based dirty sauce recipes, but this is not that. Motley and Murdock actually both made dirty sauce on Saturday. Motley’s version was two parts honey, one part Sriracha, one part Louisiana Hot Sauce. Murdock’s was the same but he swapped Crystal Hot Sauce for the Louisiana. Motley and I discovered that a chip dipped in white queso followed by a dip in dirty sauce is a remarkable game day bite. Just unbelievable. He also made a bleu cheese dressing with Boulevard Bread Co. bleu cheese crumbles mixed with Hidden Valley Ranch. He set out some carrots and celery for healthy game day dipping.

Motley’s wings are always really good, and he’s usually anxious about overcooking them because of one event years ago when he slightly overcooked some wings for a party that everyone devoured anyway. His method Saturday involved a one hour marinade with olive oil, Cavender’s Greek Seasoning, black pepper and yellow mustard as a binding agent. He put coals on one half of the PK with some apple wood chips and the wings on the other half of the grill and adjusted the vent on the PK so the airflow would go up and over the wings.

 

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He cooked them this way for 1.5 hours and then moved the wings over to the hot side for another 15 minutes. Afterwards he let them rest for 20-30 minutes before our game day consumption began. Even after a half hour of resting they were still piping hot. He called these wings his best yet, and I won’t argue. The texture was perfect, crisp on the outside but tender, hot and juicy on the inside. They were good enough to be excellent on their own, without the assistance of the dirty sauce or the bleu cheese.

 

The second half was much closer, so Motley made us a couple of game day Americano cocktails (sweet vermouth, Campari, soda, orange twist) to help ease the stress.

The Razorbacks’ points off turnovers and Cincinnati’s costly penalties were the difference maker in a really close game. The smoked wings and dirty sauce with the late game stress Americano were a great way to open the game day season. Motley really came through. But for me, the real winner of the day was Razorback coach Sam Pittman who inspired me to crack open an old cold beer to celebrate. It doesn’t matter what kind as long it’s cold.

Check out this slideshow from Arkansas Times photographer Brian Chilson who said one of the highlights was Cincinnati’s missed field goal that doinked the goal post. Chilson said it was the first doink he’s seen covering a game.

 

What was on your game day menu?