While planning our menu for a July 4th weekend BBQ, we decided to break from traditional American fare and highlight the melting pot of international cuisines that help define our country. So we landed on a smorgasbord of both Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare: Baba Ganoush, Hummus, Black Olives, Tabbouleh, Tzatziki, Grilled Halloumi, Vegetable Kabobs, Pacar Salatasi with Skordalia, and—the center of the plate star of the night—Za’atar Grilled Smart Chicken Wings!
We adapted this wings recipe from Food52 and were intrigued by the review summary, “a welcome, refreshing, herby departure from sticky-sweet wings.” It took a little advanced planning as we had to go to our local spice store for the Sumac and Za’atar (not something we already had in our spice drawer) and the chicken should soak in the marinade for at least 24 hours. We used two family packs of fresh “Party Wings” (about 40 combined wingettes and drumettes) from the Smart Chicken brand because it’s “air-chilled” and is the best at absorbing marinades and brines. Then we reduced the amount of onions and increased the amount of other spices—adding a little red pepper flakes for additional heat). We could not find any frozen fava beans and substituted an equal amount of lima beans and butter beans. The end result was a grilled alchemy of bright and herbal flavors that are unlike any other wings we’ve tried. We’re hooked and our guests all requested this recipe:
Za’atar Grilled Smart Chicken Wings
- 3 tablespoons sumac
- 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 cups cold water
- 2 red onions, thinly sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- Zest and juice of 4 large lemons
- 40 pieces Smart Chicken wings; both drumettes and wingettes
- 8 tablespoons za’atar (divided)
- In a large bowl, make the marinade by mixing the spices (with the exception of the za’atar), water, red onions, garlic, olive oil, zest and lemon juice together.
- Add the chicken wings, coat in the marinade, and let sit in the marinade in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours (we tossed again after 12 hours). We left it marinating for 32 hours and are convinced this was even better.
- Heat the grill to 400° F.
- Drain the marinade and pick off any clinging onion and garlic. Add 6 tablespoons of za’atar and mix together until wings are coated (add more as needed to coast the wings).
- Grill the wings for about 25 minutes, flipping over once or twice halfway. Once cooked, remove from the heat and toss with an additional 2 tablespoons of za’atar.
- Enjoy with dip outlined below; or, we also enjoyed dipping in tzatziki.
- 1 1/2 cups frozen lima beans
- 1 1/2 cups frozen butter beans
- 2 cups Greek yogurt
- 6 ounces feta
- Juice and zest of one lemon
- Boil the beans for 4 minutes until soft. Drain.
- Using a blender or food processor, blend the boiled beans, Greek yogurt, feta, and lemon juice until smooth. Taste and adjust for salt and acid.