Summer is just around the corner and winter rules no longer apply! Winter rules, as it relates to wings, call for fried or baked chicken wings. The heat of the oven is wonderul in the colder months but now, with temperatures reaching over 90°, I want to cook outdoors, whenever possible.
This weekend has brought a heavy dose of hot sun and no rain, so grilling is a great option!
I thought long and hard about the dry rub and sauce for the wings. The small amount of ghost pepper powder worked well in the rub because the grilling process nearly removed all of its spiciness. The vinegar, apricot jam and hot sauce balanced perfectly. These were not crazy hot, like I am prone to do. They were sweet with a hint of heat.
For the wings:
2 Tbs garlic powder
2 Tbs paprika
2 Tbs dried thyme
1 tsp ghost pepper powder (or cayenne pepper)
For the basting sauce:
½ cup apricot jam
½ cup hot sauce
3 Tbs butter
2 Tbs vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
3 cloves roasted garlic
Heat an outdoor grill to 400°. I used charcoal with a few small chips of mesquite, for a little smoky flavor.
Mix the garlic powder, paprika, thyme and ghost pepper powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
Rinse and wash the chicken wings under cold water. Remove any quills that might be lingering on the wing tips (I always find a few).
Allow the wings to air-dry for 10 to 15 minutes.
Prepare the basting sauce by adding all of the sauce ingredients to a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour the sauce into a small skillet and cook at low/medium heat until the sauce begins to bubble. Cook for a few more minutes and return to the mixing bowl. Set aside.
Toss the wings with the seasonings in a large bowl to coat evenly.
Carefully place the wings on the grill and cover. Go ahead, bunch them together. This is one of those times that crowding is a good thing. The wings will steam and roast, at the same time.
Grill for 15 minutes and turn the wings over.
Grill for another 15 minutes and turn them again. Baste the wings with the sauce.
Let the wings roast over the coals for another 15 minutes and turn them again. Baste one last time and roast for another 15 minutes.
Carefully remove the chicken wings and place in a large mixing bowl.
Add any remaining basting sauce and toss to coat the wings.
Serve with crisp carrot sticks and ranch dressing.
I added a little fresh cilantro from the garden because, hey, I’ve got fresh cilantro!