Chili-Lime Chicken Wings with Cilantro Dipping Salsa
Food and Drink

Recipe and photography courtesy of Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe, Ribs, Chops, Steaks & Wings, Chronicle Books (2009). Photograph by Leigh Beisch.

Chili-Lime Chicken Wings with Cilantro Dipping Salsa

"Good chili powder has such a wonderful taste. I’m really not a food snob when it comes to ingredients, but I draw the line at supermarket chili powder. It typically has extra salt, garlic powder and cumin in it and the quality of the actual ground chiles is usually pretty poor. The difference is well worth the effort of ordering it online. Unless of course you’re lucky enough to live in Texas or the Southwest where they understand chili powder, and good options are readily available.

Once you’ve got the good chili powder, you’ll be eating well when you match it up with fresh lime juice as I have for these wings. It’s a spicy and tasty combination. Add the cooling of the Cilantro Dipping Salsa and your mouth will be rocking. These would go very well served with guacamole or a bowl of spicy chili and a cold beer."

Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe
Serves: 10


Chili-Lime Wet Rub:

1/4 cup good quality chili powder

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

10 fresh whole chicken wings


Cilantro Dipping Salsa:

2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped

1/2 large green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried mint leaves

To Make the Wet Rub: Combine the chili powder, oil, lime juice, granulated garlic, salt and cayenne in a medium bowl. Mix well.

With a sharp knife, cut the tips off the chicken wings and save them for stock. Slash the inside of the wing joint to help them cook more evenly, but don’t cut them all the way through. Put the wings in a large bowl and pour the wet rub over them. Mix well to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.

To Make the Dipping Salsa: Add the celery, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, garlic, oil, lime juice, salt, pepper and mint to the pitcher of a blender. Pulse until the mixture begins to liquefy, then purée about 1 minute, until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

Prepare the grill for cooking over direct medium heat. Grill the wings for about 25 minutes, turning often. The wings are done when they are nicely browned, and the juices run clear. Remove the wings to a platter. You may serve the wings whole but if you’d prefer to serve them in individual segments, cut them apart now. Serve the wings with the salsa on the side.