Smoky Grilled Chicken Wings with Pickled Red Chiles, Dates and Fresh Mint

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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1/4 cup kosher salt

1 tablespoon honey

4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

One 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and smashed

5 pounds chicken wings, separated at joint, tips discarded

Quick Pickled Red Chiles and Dates:

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 cup (about 10 pieces) Medjool dates, split lengthwise, pits removed and finely diced

4 to 5 scallions, cut thinly on the bias

1 Fresno chile, halved lengthwise and finely sliced

Canola oil, for grilling

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

3 tablespoons smoked paprika

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, chopped


  1. Begin by making the brine: In a large bowl, combine 6 cups water, the salt, honey, garlic and ginger. Stir until the salt is dissolved, and then add the wings. Cover and leave in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. 
  2. Prepare the quick pickle mixture: In a large bowl, combine the rice wine vinegar, sugar and soy. Stir well until the sugar dissolves. Add the dates, scallions and chile to the mixture. Set aside while you cook the wings. Once the wings have brined, drain and set out on kitchen towels to dry well.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill and wipe down the grates with an oil-blotted paper towel. This not only cleans the grill but creates a nonstick surface. Sprinkle the wings with salt and pepper, and then lightly toss in a mixture of smoked paprika and sesame oil. Place the wings on the grill and cook for 17 to 20 minutes, turning halfway through, so they brown evenly all over and cook through. 
  4. When done, remove the wings to a large bowl. Add the chopped herbs to the pickled date mixture, toss to combine and add to the bowl with the wings. Toss to coat evenly, and then transfer to a serving platter and serve.