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Spicy chicken wings

Mon, 10 August, 2020

Spicy chicken wings are everyone’s favourite. You can cook them in the oven, use the oven-grill function, or slap them on a barbecue. Either way, you’ll wish there were twice as many.

spicy grilled chicken wings

The mystery of chicken parts

I have often wondered what happens to all the chicken legs, and a quantity of chicken breasts? The matter is fairly uncomplicated as far as a whole roast chicken goes: usually somebody prefers white and somebody else dark meat, except for those despicable wasters who roast a chicken only to eat breasts and chuck the rest out.

chicken wings home grilled with spicy oil

How many chicken wings can you eat?

But if you buy and cook your chicken parts selectively, it’s vastly disproportionate. I consider myself an average chicken eater but I can only manage one breast fillet for one dinner, or even half if the clucker is enormous. And one leg at a time. But wings? Hey, give me a dozen and I’ll look for more.

Take a look at your butcher’s or the supermarket meat counter: especially come summer and barbecue season, there will be a pile of dozen to twenty breasts and two dozen racks of wings – racks! that’s at least three on a skewer. Where’s the remainder of those chickens?

How many wings do chicken have?

So I sense either a terrible wastage of the non-wing bits of chicken, or there are mutant birds secretly running about the coops – or the labs, more likely. Six-winged beasts, like miniature earthly seraphim, organically reared I hope because, obviously, they can fly farther.

buttermilk and hot sauce marinated chicken wings

How to cook chicken wings at home?

I must admit I don’t prepare them myself very often as my butcher spoils me for choice with racks of variously marinated, grill-ready wings. I know a couple of people virtually addicted to those, so it’s the classic case of laziness and ‘why make if you can buy’ attitude. But you know – if I put my mind to something, I usually come up trumps. Mainly in the food department.

Buttermilk - best for marinating chicken

Buttermilk does wonder to the chicken meat stopping it from getting dry – not apparently such a huge issue when it comes to fatty wings, but sometimes they do get a little dry on the barbecue.

the best homemade grilled or barbecued chicken wings

Buttermilk plus hot sauce is pure genius and the chicken wouldn’t really need much else, if it wasn’t for Samin Nosrat inspired hot spicy oil. Instead of using it to flavour already cooked chicken like she instructs, I used the oil as a marinade so the wings got marinated twice.

And the result?

Are they twice as good thanks to that? You betcha!

Spicy chicken wings

Servings: 2-4Time: 30 minutes plus marinating


  • 1kg (2 pounds) chicken wings
  • 500ml (2 cups) buttermilk
  • 4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp hot (sriracha) sauce
  • For the spicy oil:
  • 50ml (2 tbsp.) olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • a pinch of salt flakes


1. Trim the tips of the wings and place them in a large ziplock or freezer bag. Stir the salt and hot sauce into the buttermilk and pour into the bag. Squash it to cover the chicken and refrigerate overnight.

how to marinate chicken wings

2. The next day take the wings out of the marinade but there’s no need to pat them dry.

3. Preheat the grill (or start the barbecue) to medium-high.

4. Mix the cayenne pepper, sugar and paprika into the olive oil in a bowl. Pound the cumin seeds in pestle and mortar, add peeled garlic and pound with the pinch of salt. Add to the bowl with oil and stir to mix.

spicy oil for chicken

5. Paint the wings liberally with the oil on both sides, place on a rack set over a tray – or on the barbecue rack – and grill for 10 minutes. Turn them over, paint again with the spicy oil and grill for 10 minutes on the other side.

how to grill chicken wings

6. Take the wings off the rack, let them rest a few minutes. I like serving them with grilled bacon on the side which can be grilled while the wings are resting. Serve with mayo or your favourite dipping sauce.

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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