Sunday, January 16, 2011

Piri Piri Wings in the Style of Nando's

About a year ago, I stumbled on Michael Symon's Sriracha wings at Hot Sauce Daily. I fell in love with them because of their well developed spiciness and flavor. Since then, no other wings I have tried have come close to matching the taste excitement of Sriracha wings...

Until last night about 8:37 PM when I made this recipe from Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue! These piri piri wings bring a gauntlet of sensation. It's kind of like if you build a washing machine made out of heat (spicy), flavor, and "mouth-wateriness" and then throw yourself into it on spin cycle.

(Yeah, if you're counting that's about the eleventieth successful recipe I've made from this book. If you're going to even LOOK at a grill this summer, go buy this book. )

I didn't have Piri Piri chilies or sauce, so I used Raichlen's substitution recommendations. Here's a link to the original recipe.

Piri Piri Wings
adapted from Planet Barbecue!

24 wing pieces

1/4 cup Fire Ant Juice or other gourmet, premium, extra good hot sauce
1/4 cup chilies, seeded and chopped (see note)
1/4 cup garlic, coarsely chopped
1 ea Vidalia salad onion, chopped (white and green parts)
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup lemon juice and pulp (from one large lemon)
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp kosher salt

Tossing Sauce
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbsp cilantro
1 Tbsp red bell pepper, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp Fire Ant Juice
2 Tbsp lemon juice

First, these are supposed to be hot but I know not everyone likes the sweet burn of capsaicin. I consider myself as a "medium" heat kind of guy leaning towards "hot". Here is how I think I'd adjust this recipe for varying tastes. I haven't tried these, just my thoughts.

Put the marinade ingredients...

into a mini food processor...

And process about 6-10 pulses until well blended.


Yes. I have a Magic Bullet, don't be a hater. I got it as a birthday gift last year.

It is actually quite handy for marinades and dipping sauces. While their informercials would make any foodie cringe (who needs a food processor for an omelet?), it doesn't take up much space, it's easy to clean and I find I use it about once or twice a week for quick jobs. Plus it is super portable and easy to use out by the grills.

Marinate the chicken wings. Look how colorful and rich the marinade is. I can't wait to try the same thing on shrimp this summer.

The original version calls for overnight, Raichlen recommends 6-24 hours. I didn't have that kind of time so I broke out a tool I've had for about a year but haven't used - a FoodSaver Quick Marinator. The theory is the vacuumed atmosphere will make the marinade soak in quicker.

I doubt the "science" behind that but after making the same recipe yesterday and today, only using the quick marinade tonight, it does seem to have made a visible difference. I'll do some kind of a side by side comparison later because I know the Engineer in Larry wants to know. Maybe he and I will do a controlled experiment this year. (Sounds like another good excuse for us to get some folks together for a taste test.)

I departed from Raichlen's instructions at this point and followed my general wing cooking technique - 30-20-10 wings. I set up the Big Green Egg for indirect heat at 350 -375f. I cooked the wings for 30 minutes....

Then flipped and cooked for 20 more minutes.

Then I tossed them in the "tossing sauce" and let them cook another 5-10 minutes. Just long enough for the sauce to cook onto the wings. I reserved about 1/4 cup for a finishing sauce.

I'm actually disappointed in the pictures because the wings were so much better than they look. I know...they don't look horrible. But damn they rocked the taste. The pictures just don't do them justice.

[Standard Disclaimer] I didn't receive any compensation for this post. I got the Raichlen book for free last year from his publisher but have bought more of his books since then. The Magic Bullet was a gift from a family member. And Fire Ant Juice is just the best hot sauce on the face of the planet, it makes everything else look ridiculous. Oh, we also bought the FoodSaver Quick Marinator at retail.