Friday, October 4, 2013

Fajita Chicken Wings with Chipotle Lime Cream Sauce

I'm not sure what took me so long to try this one, because the idea totally makes sense - fajita chicken wings.

Technically these are "fajita style" chicken wings since fajitas are specifically beef.  But I'm making these for a Tex-Mex themed tailgate so the people that will be eating them won't be nit-picking over a name. 

Trevor loved the wings by themselves but Alexis and I both thought that the cream sauce just put them over the top.  The earthy flavors of cumin and cilantro blend with the bright flavors of corriander and lime for a delicious Tex-Mex wing.  As written, these are mildly spicy.  If you want hotter, add more pepper flake and some hot sauce to the marinade.

Fajita Chicken Wings with Chipotle Lime Cream Sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes with 8-12 hour marinade time
Cook Time: 1 hour
Makes 32 wings
  • 16 chicken wings
For the fajita marinade
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/3 cup beer or tequila 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 tsp roasted cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp season salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1/2 tsp ground corriander
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
For the Chipotle Lime Cream Sauce
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 Knorr chipotle cube, finely crumbled
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream (or more as desired)


  1. Prepare the wings.  Trim the wings into drummettes and wingettes/flats and place in a gallon zip top bag.  Mix together the marinade ingredients and pour over the wings.  Squeeze out the excess air, seal the top, and massage the marinade all around the wings.  Marinate for 6-8 hours.
  2.  Mix the chipotle lime cream sauce.  Mix the first three ingredients.  Slowly whisk in cream until you get your desired consistency.  Refrigerate until needed.  Note:  You can find these cubes on the Latin American section of Kroger, look for a small red box.
  3. Grill The Wings.   There are a few options for this listed below.  They all work well, it just depends on what grill I am using at the time. 
    1. Grill Direct - Prepare a 375f fire in your charcoal grill.  Get the most distance between your coal and grill grate by either lowering your charcoal tray or raising your grill grate (depending on your model grill).  Grill the wings directly over the coals, turning often until done, about 20-30 minutes.  You have to pay more attention to the wings with this method.
    2. Grill Indirect - Prepare a 375f fire in your charcoal grill with the coals banked to either or both sides, creating a gap.  Grill the wings over the gap with the lid closed, turning once half way through.  This should take about 30-40 minutes. 
    3. Fire roast - Prepare a 375f fire in a ceramic grill with the heat diffuser in place (for example, Big Green Egg with a plate setter or adjustable rig/pizza stone in place).  Roast until done, about 50 minutes.  Flip the wings at 25 minutes.
  4. Serve The Wings.  Drizzle some of the sauce over the wings and garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.
You could also marinate the wings in a bowl but the marinade will sink to the wings on the bottom.  Bags keep the marinade in contact with all the wings.

If doing the roast method, cover your platesetter with foil or a drip pan, wings are messy.

Almost ready...

There are a couple of things that I go by to tell when my wings are done.  For visual cues, I look for the skin to turn golden brown, a little darker in some spots is okay.  I also look for the skin to start to dry a little and turn crisp, this tells me the subcutaneous fat is almost done rendering.   The meat of the wingettes becomes firmer to the touch.  Then I will check the internal temperature of 3-4 wings from the batch.  I want them to be 175-180f.  Be careful if you see the meat drastically shrinking up on the bone of the drummettes, you might have cooked them too long.