Smoked Chicken Wings with Creamy Cilantro Dip

chicken-wings-5 This is how my brain works.

I wake up and immediately think, “Oh man, I’ve got to get that laundry done today….so I can pack tomorrow…so we’re ready to leave for California on Friday morning…and then when we get back, Eric’s got that work trip, so I need to get the upstairs cleaned up so my mom can stay up there…and then a few weeks later, it’s Thanksgiving…then Christmas…and then we’re having a baby.”

As you can see I am a master at worry dominoes and this morning was no exception…

chicken-wings-6 I had about fifteen things on my to-do list. Unfortunately, Owen had one primary thing on his to-do list, and that was whining. I love that kid but he seriously woke up on the wrong side of the crib this morning.

And so, in effect, I got nothing done. Nothing, that is, except dig through the entire toy basket to try to figure out which toy he was frantically searching for, clearly in a panic…and then picking up no fewer than thirty-four crayons off the floor after he threw them all in a fit of rage when the coloring book page wouldn’t turn the right way.

Chicken Wings

Needless to stay, gold-star mother that I am, I huffed and puffed my way through the day, rolling my eyes behind his back, audibly sighing to help him get the message that we were NOT on the same page.

Chicken Wings

And then I read this post from one of my favorite blogs – Heather’s Dish.
And it stopped me in my annoyed tracks, reminding me that this little boy is my here and now, and that the rest could wait (at least until Friday morning).

So, we stopped trying to fold laundry. We stopped trying to make packing lists. And we went to the park. And threw sticks in the water. And visited a friend. And he was still whiny….but at least wasn’t anymore. 

So here and now, here and now. My mantra for today. And that’s kind of what these chicken wings are. Winter is coming, with all of its slush and snow, but here and now we have these beautiful October days, so we’re celebrating by not putting the grill away just yet. We’re making these savory chicken wings, grilling them up right, and happily dipping them in a punchy cilantro dip as we watch those pretty yellow leaves float around before they hit the ground.


Smoked Chicken Wings with Creamy Cilantro Dip

Smoked Chicken Wings with Creamy Cilantro Dip

(recipe adapted from the Chicken and Egg cookbook)

(yields 32 chicken wings & app. 1 1/2 c. dip)

I loved how quickly the rub for these chicken wings came together, yet yielded so much flavor. And paired with that zesty cilantro dip? So much going on here. I adapted the original recipe by using regular paprika instead of smoked in the rub, cayenne pepper instead of chipotle chili powder, and then adding chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to replace that smoky flavor. Additionally, I added Greek yogurt to the dip because I wanted something creamy and reminiscent of what you would eat while out for Buffalo Wings.


Chicken Wings:

2.5 lb. chicken wings (about 16), separated at the joint

3 tbsp. paprika

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 tbsp. dried oregano

1 tbsp. ground cumin

pinch of cayenne pepper (more to taste)

3/4 tsp. garlic powder

3/4 tsp. salt (preferably kosher)

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced

1 tbsp. of the sauce from chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1/4 c. olive oil

Creamy Cilantro Dip:

3/4 c. fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. olive oil

1/3 c. water

2 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt

1/4 c. chopped pecans

3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped

2 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper


Prepare Chicken Wings:

To separate the chicken wings, cut between the wing joints with a large knife or kitchen shears (I had the best luck with the shears). Cut off the wing tips and discard or freeze to use for making homemade chicken broth. This video was really helpful, even though the guy kinda creeped me out a little.


Place separated wings in a large, sealable plastic bag. Stir together remaining chicken wings ingredients (except oil) in a small bowl. Then stir in the oil until the mixture is smooth. Pour mixture into the bag, seal it, and then squash the bag around to coat chicken with the seasoning mix. Place in a shallow pan and refrigerate overnight, up to 24 hours ahead of time.

Make Cilantro Dip:

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Cover and refrigerate.

Cook Chicken Wings:

Preheat your grill to medium. Remove wings from the rub. Dump all of the wings onto the grill at the same time, then use tongs to quickly arrange them. (If you add them one at a time, the ones you add first will cook too quickly.). Grill, covered for about 10-15 minutes, turning every 3-4 minutes to brown each side. Grill until they are no longer pink in the center.

Serve the wings with the cilantro dip. (We also ate these with rice!)


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10 thoughts on “Smoked Chicken Wings with Creamy Cilantro Dip

  1. OK these look killer. Like I need them now, at 10:15pm after dinner and everything. And I’m so glad that post helped you! Us mommas have to stick together – it’s so hard some days but so amazing for most of them!

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who craves things AFTER dinner (and let’s be honest, dessert). Love your honesty; thank you for sharing your life via your blog, Heather!

  2. These wings look great and I love the flavours. You did pretty well for a crazy morning.:) I always say working from home and staying at home with kids should be paid with VP salary. Also it’s a juggling act and is a very thin line between kids and work. So good for you. I try to do the same although sometimes it’s very hard!!!!!!!!!

  3. So what you’re saying is that even though I’m in zombie mode from no sleep and from watching a cracked out dude get arrested from the park at my school today, I should go to a park and josh should grill some chicken?

  4. I’m pretty sure that I could eat that creamy cilantro dip with pretty much everything. Chicken, steak, Cheerios (ok, maybe a stretch on cereal!) but dang, it looks so darn good!!!
    Yeah, I’ve had many days where my to-do list doesn’t even get touched, let alone ta-done! But when I look at my beautiful kids, it’s ok. They will remember the fun adventures or the times when I spent holding them on the couch for hours because they had a tummy ache. The perfectly vacuumed carpets won’t be kept in their memory banks. And the time that they actually want to hang out with mom and dad is slipping away faster than I’d like! Here and now – love it, Liz!!

    • So sweet – it’s so good to be reminded of what they’ll remember! (And that Owen probably won’t be quite so snuggly when he’s 14 :( ).
      As for the dip, I ate what remained of it after the chicken was gone as a veggie dip – lots of uses!

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