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Grilled Chicken Wings with Lime, Cilantro & Maple

Grilled Chicken Wings with Lime, Cilantro & Maple
Grilled Chicken Wings with Lime, Cilantro & MapleNathan Congleton / TODAY


  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 bottle (approx. 20 ounces) agave syrup
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 4 pieces star anise
  • 3 tablespoons juniper berries
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 head of garlic, whole cloves, peeled
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
Chicken wings
  • 1 dozen chicken wings, wing tips removed
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or sunflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Coarse black pepper to taste
  • Zest of 3 limes
  • Juice of 3 limes, plus juice from 2 additional limes
  • 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 3 tablespoons grade B amber maple syrup, plus 2 tablespoons additional syrup
  • Kosher salt to taste

Chef notes

Sick of the same old Buffalo wings at every tailgate, party, really any social gathering? Change the game with these better-for-you, more complex-tasting but simple-to-make grilled chicken wings — no frying necessary. They're so packed with flavor, you'll forget why dipping sauce was ever invented.


Make the brine a day ahead: In a small sauté pan, combine peppercorns, star anise, juniper berries, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Toast the spices together in the pan over medium heat until aromatic. In a medium sized pot, add these toasted spices to the gallon of water, kosher salt, agave syrup, bay leaves, garlic cloves and fresh thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn heat off immediately. Set aside to cool.

When brine is cool, submerge the chicken wings in the brine, and leave overnight in your refrigerator. The next day, take the wings out of the brine and pat dry well with paper towel.

Once dry, toss the wings in a large stainless steel bowl with the flaxseed oil, salt, cracked black pepper, lime juice, honey and maple syrup.

On a hot grill, in batches, cook the wings. Once fully cooked through, in an additional stainless steel bowl, toss the wings with the additional lime juice, lime zest and seasoning. Add the cilantro and additional maple syrup. Toss well. Serve immediately.