Super Bowl Chicken Wings

Entertaining, The Enlightened Cook cookbook series No Comments »

With Super Bowl Sunday fast approaching, most are thinking about betting on the big game. I’m marinating instead. Here is an awesome recipe for Chicken Wings and the story that goes with them. Recipe more via India than Buffalo!

4 lb chicken wings
3 cups plain yogurt
3 oz beer
4 limes
1½” ginger root- coarse chopped
2 t dried thyme
1 t dried lavender (yes!)
1 t black pepper
¾ t sea salt
1 ½ T sesame oil

Rockin' Chicken Wings


Rinse and poke holes into the wings with a sharp knife, so marinade penetrates the flesh of the chicken. Juice 2 limes and mix with remaining ingredients, except the oil. Marinate refrigerated for 1-3 days, stirring the mixture occasionally.

Grill over indirect BBQ flame or oil a preheated, baking sheet and oven roasting wings at 475º. Flip wings after 30 minutes. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Serve with remaining limes cut into wedges and celery sticks.

Sauce Safety
It’s okay to brush additional sauce on the wings as they cook, but not after the halfway point because bacteria from the raw chicken is also in the sauce. Be sure to allow ample time for it to burn away to be safe to eat.  Dispose of left over marinade and serve with clean utensils.

The Wing Story

A dear friend, Vicent Grupi, told me in1983 that he had fabulous chicken wings at a Super Bowl party. He was told they were made with yogurt. It seemed a very strange combination, yet he claimed they were the best wings ever!

I wondered how anyone, especially Vinny, could get that excited about chicken wings. To me, chicken wings were greasy, bar food with little culinary merit, yet somehow the thought of developing a recipe from that one ingredient stuck in my mind for 20 years. By then, my cooking acumen heightened and I began saving original recipes that would eventually become my first, self-published book. I learned of India’s yogurt-marinating Tandoori tradition, so that became the basis of my recipe.

Two decades after Vinny’s rave, I looked down to discover super-plump chicken wings at the grocery meat counter. They were hormone/antibiotic-free and organic, but still very inexpensive––a great place to start! Combining an unusual blend of Eastern and Western spices, I marinated those wings for 3 days, before bringing them swimming in sauce, to Texas grill master Will’s Labor Day BBQ in Venice, CA. My rock star date (who’d prefer to go nameless) was licking his keyboard fingers with delight and our drummer friend was stomping his foot with speechless appreciation. Everyone at the party said they were the tastiest, most succulent wings they’d ever had, except Will. Unfortunately, the wings were all gobbled up before he got one.  Sorry, Will!

Long before the recipe was developed Vinny moved to Florida and then passed on, but every time Super Bowl Sunday rolls around, I thank him for his friendship and wish his beautiful twin sons, Peter and Ray, whom I’ve sadly lost track of, knew that Vinny inspired this fantastic recipe. I spent many an Italian Sunday dinner with that family of all boys, who embraced me as family, too.

Rockin’ Chicken Wings