Spicy Southwestern Chicken Wings

Spicy Southwestern Chicken Wings

Impress everyone at your barbecue this summer when you break away from classic barbecue sauces and zest up your meals with the Spicy Southwestern Chicken Wings. These chicken wings have a classic barbecue-style base with a bold chipotle twist that will surprise your guests in the best way. Using a complex flavor profile consisting of chili powder, cumin, garlic, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce, these wings are truly one of a kind. Dip them in the Southwestern Inspired Cilantro Ranch Dressing to really step your wings up a notch and have your guests coming back for more.

For the Wings:

  • 3 pounds chicken wings, cut at the joint, tips reserved for making stock
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the oil and spices in a large zip-top plastic bag. Squeeze well to combine. Add the chicken wings, close the bag and squeeze to coat chicken evenly. Place wings on a large baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Turn and bake for 15 minutes more. (Can be made ahead at this point, cooled, covered and refrigerated to be reheated on the grill later.)

Before serving preheat charcoal or gas grill. When hot, grill the wings until heated through, turning continually, about 4 minutes. Place the wings in a large bowl and toss with the sauce. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with the Chipotle Ranch for dipping.

For the Chipotle Barbecue Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic, about 5 large cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 chipotle peppers, finely chopped or pureed in a small food processor

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, garlic, cumin and chile powder and cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and stir, scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until slightly thickened. Puree using an immersion blender, pour into a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Reheat the sauce before tossing with the hot wings.)

For the Cilantro Ranch Dressing:

  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoons minced garlic (about 1 large clove)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Note: Can be made three days ahead. Flavor improves if made at least one day ahead.)

Makes 6 to 8 servings

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