There’s something very inspiring about walking into a new restaurant and trying something that is so good, it makes you say, “I need to make this at home.” During a recent road trip driving through Michigan and Minnesota, we decided to make a pit-stop at Canal Park Brewery in Duluth, MN. When the person next to me ordered lemon garlic chicken wings, I knew that I would be ordering the exact same thing. It was so delicious, I decided to make it myself at home.
Lemon Garlic Chicken Wings
Does it get any better than wings? They are so much fun to make and they’re always a hit if you’re hosting friends or family. Mike and I usually make them with a smoky dry rub or a spicy sweet bbq sauce, so this recipe’s flavor combination is definitely different for wings. The slightly spicy lemon and garlic flavor combination dipped into a cucumber ranch sauce is surprisingly refreshing and oh-so-addictive… just like wings should be.
LEMON, GARLIC HONEY SAUCE
Let the recipe testing begin! I decided to mix the flavors of lemon and honey together. This produced a bright citrus flavor that was tamed down by the smooth, sweet honey. It’s a flavor combination that includes garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper.
I highly recommend making two batches of the sauce during the preparation. Use one batch for marinating the wings and the other batch to baste over the wings after pulling them from the grill. Trust me, you won’t be able to get enough of this sauce. It’s THAT good.
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VEGAN CUCUMBER RANCH
When I started researching recipes for the Cucumber Ranch, I was finding a lot of versions that included a lot of sour cream, buttermilk and mayonnaise. Dairy and I aren’t always the best of friends and although I normally love the flavor of a good ranch dressing, I decided to look for a dairy-free version.
I was a little skeptical that it would take like real “cucumber ranch dressing,” but was pleasantly surprised when I tasted it. It’s the PERFECT dip for these lemon garlic chicken wings too. In addition, you can use this as a dip, salad dressing or even a sandwich spread.
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LEMON GARLIC CHICKEN WINGS
- 2 pounds chicken wings
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Zest of 1 lemon, peeled or finely grated
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1-2 teaspoons of honey
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese for serving
- Combine garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, honey, olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper in a large resealable plastic bag.
- Add chicken wings, seal bag, and turn to coat.
- Chill at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Prepare grill for indirect heat.
- Remove wings from marinade and place, skin-side-up on grill.
- Cover grill and cook until fat has rendered and an instant-read thermometer reads close to 165º F, about 10 minutes.
- Move the wings over direct heat.
- Grill, turning occasionally, until wings are golden brown and slightly charred, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Stay close to watch for the occasional flare up. Note: If this happens, move the wings to a slightly cooler part of the grill.
- Remove wings from grill and baste with the second batch of the sauce.
1. Add honey to balance the citrus from the lemon, to taste.
2. I made two batches of the sauce. One for marinating the chicken and another batch to baste over the wings after pulling them off the grill.
All images © Regan Baroni 2016.