Pollo Asado Rojo Wings
Food and Drink

Courtesy of Brad Prose

Pollo Asado Rojo Wings

"Smokey, spicy, tangy, you will not be able to stop yourself from eating a dozen."

Makes: 14 -16 wings


2 pounds chicken wings

½ cup olive oil

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons cumin, ground

2 teaspoons black pepper, ground

2 teaspoons Mexican oregano

3 teaspoons achiote paste

2 chipotles in adobo, finely minced

2  teaspoons adobo sauce from chipotles

1 ¼ cups bitter orange juice

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

for the marinade:

Heat the oil in a nonstick pan over medium-low heat. (I do not use a skillet, as the achiote paste tends to cook fast and can get bitter if not careful.) Add the garlic, cumin, pepper, oregano, achiote paste, chipotles, and adobo sauce into the oil and cook for a few minutes, stirring to incorporate everything together. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

Put the cooled achiote mix into a blender with the bitter orange juice, sugar, and salt. Blend until fairly smooth and set aside. Adjust to taste — more chipotle for heat, more OJ for acid, etc.

Reserve 1 cup of the marinade to baste the wings at the end.

Place the wings in a large, zipper, plastic bag. Pour in the rest of the marinade, and refrigerate 2-4 hours. The high level of acid will tenderize the chicken too much if you wait longer.

for the wings:

Preheat the smoker to 250°F. Remove the chicken wings from the marinade and rub off the excess sauce, so it doesn’t clump on the grill. Place the wings on the grill. Smoke for 45 minutes undisturbed.

Remove the wings from the grill and let them rest.

Crank up the grill to 400°F. Place the wings back on, and baste with the reserved marinade. Let the wings grill at the high heat for about 6–8 minutes on each side, basting as you flip. When they read at least 165°F with an instant-read thermometer when inserted into the thickest portion of each piece, remove and serve.