Chicken wings are a staple in our house. The kid loves the mini “drumsticks” that are just her size and my wife and I love the crispy skin to meat ratio that wings provide. Generally, at home, we don’t bother frying them. It’s just too much hassle without an actual deep fat fryer. I’ve often thought about purchasing one, for all the great things that I could make in them, but our kitchen is quite small and filled with so many gadgets and toys already. Besides, I don’t really need another excuse for eating fried foods yet again. While I will sometimes bake the wings until they are nice and crispy, I much prefer to grill them. It doesn’t matter what time of year, I’m always happy to fire up one of the grills to cook up a meal of wings.
When grilling wings, you don’t want your grill to be blazing hot. Medium high heat is what you are looking for. You should be able to hold your hand at just about grate level for 4-6 seconds. Any shorter and the grill is too hot and any longer the grill is too cool. Cooking at this medium high heat should give you a wing that is done in about 16-18 minutes, with a nice, crispy skin and fully cooked, yet moist meat.
The marinade is inspired by the flavors of Morocco and North Africa where sweet spices such as cinnamon are combined with earthy spices such as cumin and backed up by a good dose of heat, in the form of chile peppers. The marinade though comes together pretty quickly so there is no excuse not to give this recipe a try.
Moroccan Inspired Grilled Chicken Wings
3 tsp. Cumin seed, whole
2 tsp. Coriander seed, whole
1/8 tsp. Clove, ground
2 tsp. Cinnamon, ground
2 tsp. Paprika
1-3 tsp. Cayenne Pepper (depending on the amount of heat you like- add more if you are a real chilehead)
1/2 tsp. Black pepper, ground
4 cloves Garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Lemon, juiced
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 pounds Chicken Wings, if whole cut into individual joints saving and freezing the tips for another use
In a dry sauté pan toast the whole cumin and coriander, over medium heat until they just start to pop. Stir constantly to prevent from burning. Immediately pour into a spice grinder or mortar and grind. Combine the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Taste for heat, adding more if you would like.
Place the chicken in a large, 1 gallon sized zip lock bag (you can also just use a bowl, but I like using the bags) and pour the marinade of top. Zip the bag closed and massage the marinade into the chicken. Allow to marinate for a minimum of 2 hours and a maximum of 6.
Preheat your grill to medium high. Remove wings from marinade and place on the grill.
Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the skin naturally releases from the grate then flip. Cook another 3-5 minutes then flip again.
Continue cooking, flipping regularly to get all sides of the wings crispy, for a total of 16-20 minutes or until done. The thin “wing” joints will cook up more quickly than the thicker “drumettes” which will need a bit more time. The drumettes are done when the juices no longer run pink but clear. Remove to a platter and serve immediately.