By Peter Francis Battaglia

I’m not one of those chili and hot sauce fanatics, however, I love the intensity of heat, sweetness and the all around flavor profile it adds when one is not stupid with the amount added to a dish.  If you are at all put off by hot foods, maybe you’ve been force fed too much heat in a particular
recipe.  My style is to add the touch of heat, and its flavor and then put some extra heat on the side. You be the judge on how hot you want your food.

Personally, I put chili flakes on tons of my dishes, over and above what my recipes call for. And that is my decision — to make it hotter for my palate, but your palate I must respect.  Over the weekend — with the sun shining, no wind, no humidity, just perfect Jersey Shore weather — I had to grill.

One of my favorite grilled items are chicken wings.  Recently I had bought in the Mexican section of Shop-Rite, a variety of chili powders in the Mexican section of Shop-Rite. Not the American multi-ingredient blend, but powders made of a single type of chili.  I purchased a bag of Arbol Chili Powder and one of Pequin (or Bird) Chili Powder.  Nothing in the bags except the finely ground flesh of those particular peppers. Both carry a searing heat.  So why would I use one of these on a wing recipe?  Heat and wings are a classic combo and Buffalo Wings are a perfect example. My girls had a friend over for the weekend and wings seemed to easily fit the bill.

I started with a rub

1 tbs. granulated garlic; 1/2 tsp. brown sugar; 1 tsp. oregano; 1/2 tsp. black pepper; 1 tsp. Pequin chile powder (OMG it’s sooo good): 1 tsp. kosher salt; 1 tsp. thyme leaves; 1/2 tsp. cinnamon; 1/2 tsp. sage.

Blend this well.  Now add 20 chicken wings, washed and dried with paper towels. Coat the wings and let them sit covered in the refrigerator for one hour.  Mix 3 tbs. olive oil, 4 tbs. of balsamic vinegar and pour over the wings. Let it all marinade for one more hour.

Turn your grill to high 15 minutes before you start cooking the wings. Keep the cover on. In a large foil tray layer the wings and sprinkel 4 tbs. of soy sauce over the wings and add a little more oil. Place the foil tray on the rack and let them cook undisturbed for 10 minutes. Then turn the wings and let them cook another 10 minutes. They should be nice and golden. Turn the wings and let them cook another 10 minutes.  They should be nice and golden now.

Carefully remove the partially cooked wings from the on and place them on an oiled grill. Lower the heat to low and cook for another five minutes on each side.

Garnish the hot wings with fresh sage and thyme. This adds a little more flavorto the wing and gives it an earthy and fragrant herb essence. To finish these wings my way,  add a squirt or two of my favorite condiment Sriracha Rooster Chili Sauce.

I love this stuff so much I actually posed the bottle. I think it’s photogenic, don’t you? A little of this drizzled over the wings adds more depth and just the right amount of heat without leaving your screaming for the NYFD to put out the fire in your throat.

Isn’t that pretty — or handsome? The different chilies, with soy, which does wonders for the color of the wings, and the tenderizing tang and carmelizing properties of the balsamic all make these wings special. The car from the grills adds more intensity. Serve this with homemade kidney or pinto beans.  I sauteed a strip of smoked pork jowl (a staple in my freezer — don’t make fun of me, I’m sensitive) in some vegetable oil; added a diced small onion; 1 sliced clove of garlic; and let it all meld together. Then I  added 1 can of beans with half the liquid poured off. To that I added 1/4 cup of ketchup (Heinz preferably); 1 tsp of mustard powder; 1/2 tsp. pequin chil (just because); 1/2 tsp. salt; 1/2 tsp. black pepper; 1 tsp. molasses; 1 tbs. brown sugar. Mix well and let this simmer on low for about 45 minutes. It beats that can of B&M in the pantry.

Check out those beans, the perfect foil for the wings. This summer, spring or whatever your grilling season, experiment with rubs, oils and chilies. And try a few side dishes too. If you need some extra help post a comment on my blog and I’ll do my best. Life is too short to waste it on the same old same old. Get out and grill. It’s the season!

This article appears on Peter Francis Battaglia’s site where you may leave your comments. It’s:–spice-your-wings-up-with-this-flavorsome-rub-and-marinade.aspx.