Ginger-Scallion Chicken Wings

This is my favorite kind of grilled chicken — not heavy with a barbecue sauce, but also not naked. The ginger-scallion (-garlic-chile-lime-cilantro-coriander-fish-soy) sauce is massively flavorful, and easy to whip up. Roasting the chicken at a low temperature first ensures it stays moist and tender. This also lets you make it in advance for a party so you just grill it day-of. I often make these wings in the dead of winter so you don't have to grill them, but grilling chars the little bits of onion and garlic, which is my favorite part of this dish.

There are a few ways to customize the marinade. Use your favorite chile pepper to make the sauce as hot or mild as you like. Adjust the base ratio of scallion-garlic-ginger if you like more of one than the others (I double the garlic). And you could absolutely sub boneless skin-on thighs for the wings if you want.

  • 140 grams (approx. 5 ounces, ⅓ pound, or 4 - 5 bunches) scallions
  • 35 grams (approx. 1¼ ounces or 1 small head) garlic
  • 125 grams ginger (approx. 4½ ounces) ginger
  • 1 chile pepper, your preference
  • 1 bunch cilantro tenders (stems from the bottom half inch to the first inch of leaves)
  • 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¹⁄₈ cup fish sauce
  • ¹⁄₈ cup soy sauce
  • 5 pounds chicken wings
  1. Roughly chop the scallions; finely slice the green tops for garnish and set aside. Peel and halve the garlic. Peel and dice the garlic. If desired, seed the pepper then dice (be sure to wash your hands and the cutting board thoroughly!). Dice the lime. Roughly chop the cilantro tenders.
  2. To the bowl of a food processor, add the scallions (not the garnish), garlic, ginger, chile pepper, lime, cilantro, coriander seeds, sugar, and salt. Process on high until a paste is formed. Scrape down the sides and process once more.
  3. Combine the vegetable oil, fish sauce, and soy sauce. With the processor running on high, stream in the oil mixture until a viscous sauce is formed. Set aside about a third of the marinade.
  4. If desired, slice the wings at the drumette joint. In large bowl, toss the wings in the remaining two-thirds of the marinade. Mix very well (your hands are the best tools, just be sure to wash thoroughly afterward) rubbing the marinade into the wings, making sure no piece of meat is uncoated. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour, overnight is better, two days is best. If refrigerating over 12 hours, try to mix once a day.
  5. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 275°F. If using a charcoal grill, prepare your chimney now. Arrange wings in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast for 25 minutes until chicken is cooked and still tender. Once cooked, toss well with reserved marinade. If you want to hold until the next day, let cool a little then cover and refrigerate at this point.
  6. If using a gas grill, turn it to high, close the lid and preheat for 10 minutes. Once the charcoal chimney is ready, setup the grill for direct and indirect heat (two zones).
  7. Grill, skin side down first, until deeply browned and a little charred on each side, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. If not grilling, increase oven to 450°F. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, skin side up, until deeply browned and crispy. Garnish with scallions and cilantro and serve hot.