Tart & Tangy Chicken Wings

Tart & Tangy Chicken Wings
By Chef Phillip Schaaf

Chicken wings are a family favorite for many, and this quick and easy marinade is a refreshing flavor upgrade for those flats and drummies. There are only a handful of ingredients needed to put this recipe together, and after a few hours of marinating, the wings are ready to hit the grill.

The main attraction

Fish sauce is the main ingredient in this marinade. This pungent and flavor-packed liquid is made by slowly pressing salted and fermented anchovies. The resulting product is a densely colored umami salt bomb that adds punchy flavor to anything it touches.

Because fish sauce is so salty and earthy, it needs to be balanced out with some sweet and sour notes. For this marinade use brown sugar and lime juice, in a ratio of equal parts, or 1:1:1. Fresh minced ginger and garlic round out the marinade with aromatics. A minced jalapeño or Serrano pepper will add a medium level of heat to the dish, while bird’s eye chilies bring serious heat.

All of these flavors combined unleash an addictive chicken wing. Add a little bit of fresh chopped scallion and cilantro and a dash of reserved marinade to take it up a notch.


Fish sauce
1/3 cup
Brown sugar
1/3 cup
Lime, juiced
Knob of ginger, peeled and minced
2 inch
Garlic, minced
4-6 cloves
Hot chilies, as preferred
Fresh chopped cilantro
4 Tbsp
Fresh sliced scallion
2 Tbsp
Butter, melted (optional)
1 Tbsp


  • Large mixing bowl
  • Grill


Dry the wings and set aside.

Combining all the marinade ingredients including cilantro and butter in a large mixing bowl. Reserve one fourth of the marinade in a separate cup to dress the wings after cooking.

Add the wings to the marinade and toss to coat completely. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight.

Prepare a grill for both direct and indirect cooking.

If using a charcoal grill, move all hot coals to one side of the grill. If using gas, turn the burners on one side to high heat and the other side will be set to low heat.

Remove wings from the marinade and grill on direct high heat, turning every three minutes. Once the wings are slightly charred on all sides, move them to indirect heat to finish cooking. This will take about 15-20 minutes. When the wings have cooked through, the internal temperature should register 165 degrees.

Remove wings from grill. Place the reserved marinade into a small saucepan on the grill or a stovetop. Add the butter if you’d like richer flavor and stir until it is fully incorporated. Once heated through, toss with wings until coated. Plate and garnish with fresh herbs. 

Get a second batch ready for the grill because these are guaranteed to go fast.

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