Boost the heat factor on these spicy Yucatán chicken wings by drizzling with a generous pour of habanero citrus sauce.
This recipe was born out of a Super Bowl brainstorming session. Wings are arguably the unofficial food of football, but what flavor is truly befitting a championship game? Spicy! See, whether your team wins or loses, you’re probably going to be shedding a few tears. At least this way you can blame it on the food!
These wings are given a thorough soaking in a pibil style marinade. Pibil hails from the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico, with the hallmark ingredients being lots of citrus juice and a bright orange paste known as Achiote. Made from ground Annatto seeed, Achiote gives the meat such an incredible tangerine hue. Traditionally, food prepared pibil style is then cooked in a banana leaf, though that’s a little impractical for wings.
Yucatan style calls for more earthiness than spice, but I prefer to add a few additional chilies and warm things up a little. To crank the heat factor even higher, I drizzle these wings with my Habanero Citrus Sauce – a little sweet, a lot of heat. Add as much or little as you can handle.
To make sure your food is both safe and juicy I recommend you invest in a decent thermometer and get your temperatures right. I use the super fast & accurate Thermapen. Whatever you use, make sure you take the reading from the thickest part of the wing. Do not let the thermometer touch bone as this will give a falsely high reading. Technically, 165f is the safe temperature for chicken, but your meat will continue to cook and rise a few degrees after you pull it off the grill. Taking it off between 160-162f will ensure it’s safe to eat, while remaining as moist as possible.
I used whole three-section wings for this recipe because they’re a little more substantial, but you can easily substitute with drummettes if you prefer to nibble on those. Just make sure you have enough paper towels ready for the aftermath.
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Spicy Grilled Yucatán Chicken Wings
2.5–3 lb chicken wings
3.5 oz can chipotle peppers in adobo
zest & juice of 1 orange
Zest & juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon achiote paste
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ancho powder
1 teaspoon guajillo powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon salt
Chopped cilantro & Habanero Citrus Sauce to garnish (optional)
- Place chicken wings in a large zip top bag.
- In a high sided container (for blending), place the chipotle peppers, orange & lime zest and juice, achiote paste, garlic, ancho, guajillo, oil, water and salt. Use a stick blender to combine all ingredients until well blended.
- Pour the marinade into the bag and distribute well to coat all the wings. Seal the bag and place into the fridge to marinade at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
- Pre-heat a grill to medium high. Place the wings directly over the heat, turning every 3-4 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 160-162f. If the wings are developing color too quickly, move them to the edge of the hot zone, so they can continue to cook without burning.
- Once they reach the correct temperature, pile the wings high on a plate and drizzle with Habanero Citrus sauce and a generous sprinkle of cilantro. Serve immediately.