Crackwings January 08 2017, 0 Comments

At the restaurant, this smoky, crackly-crispy bar snack is called Spicy Dry-Rubbed Chicken Wings. But the truth is our regulars have another name for them: Crackwings. That’s because the dry rub we use is loaded with rare chilhuacles and the smoky, spicy and round chile flavors they deliver -- along with a kick of lime.

The good news is these little gems are super easy to do at home. There’s so little prep that all you have to do is watch them brown under the broiler. So get cracking on this crowd-pleaser meal. The spice rub is available here or you can make your own with whole rojos, negros and pasillas. Grind them up together and add salt and lime. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! You said it, not me.

Roasting wings side-steps the onerous and often smelly task of frying, but there are still a couple rules of thumb to follow. Wings are covered in skin and therefore have quite a bit of fat. This technique is perfect for that crisp, crackly skin you look for because the fat renders right out. You’ll want to make sure you have a place to catch it. 

Set a roasting rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Next, move your oven racks down to the lowest rungs. The wings cook under the broiler, but the distance from the broiler gives you time to brown everything evenly and saves the dripping fat from burning.

A wash and dry is all that’s necessary to get these little beauties into the oven. You can separate your drums and flaps or even lob off the wing tips, but I find that an unnecessary step. This is about two pounds of wings. If you’re going with more, two pans this size will easily fit in a standard oven.

With the broiler on high, keep the pan way down low in the oven. You’ll see the wings start to brown, and as they do flip them over to cook evenly. Keep flipping periodically. You’ll know when they’re done when that caramelly brown note hits your nose.


Meanwhile set up the finishing station. Once the wings are browned to your liking, toss with several tablespoons of Spicy Dry Oaxacan Blend. Seriously, you cannot get enough of this stuff on there. The depth of flavor from multiple chiles is accentuated by a mild-to-medium heat. You feel the spice in an easy kind of way.

Here you can see the caramelization on the wing tips. A simple side salad and organic corn chips and you are in business. I also highly recommend the negro chilhuacle salsa for your chips. It’s a winner, no doubt.