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Get that grill fired up and your taste buds ready for some massive flavor. These Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken Wings are about the best thing you might make this month. 

great appetizer, perfect for game day, and spot on for a backyard party dish. You might find that this chicken wing appetizer becomes a part of your regular rotation!

Eight Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken Wings on a silver platter getting ready to be served. There are two spent limes and a dish of samal oelek in the background.
Try these tasty Tequila Lime Chicken Wings!

🍾 What makes this recipe special?

I wanted to bring margarita flavors to chicken wings with this recipe and that is exactly what I do. Tequila, lime, and salt are all traditional flavors. 

The sauce has adds bit of kick to it with Sambal Oelek (or use Sriracha if you want), so there is a bit more to this recipe than meets the eye. All of our margarita flavors come together in this wing for a perfect appetizer. 

If you are looking for other spicy recipes, maybe pair this with a Spicy Margarita or this Sweet and Spicy Dry Rub Chicken Wings recipe. Another great appetizer is these Cheesy Fried Pickles or check out this Bacon and Sriracha Chip Dip

🍗 Ingredients

Wings are the star of this one, but our sauce is what makes it really special.

  • Wings
  • Butter
  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Sambal Oelek
  • Lime
  • Sugar
  • Tequila
  • Salt & pepper

See the recipe card for quantities.

Sambal Oelek

I am in love with Sambal Oelek. Imagine something that is sort of like Sriracha, but maybe a little less sweet and tastes more of the chili and vinegar. Oh, fear not, there is room for both in your fridge. 

I have found that I tend to use Sriracha more as a condiment (think eggs, ramen, etc), while I use Sambal Oelek more often when I cook. Both are awesome and the bold chili bite seemed more appropriate for these wings. If you don’t have Sambal, you can use chili sauce or sriracha as a substitute.

🍲 Instructions

There are really two parts to this recipe. Grilling the chicken is important, but then we are also tossing our grilled wings in a sauce.

The chicken is the main character in the dish and the sauce is the supporting cast. The supporting cast is oftentimes just as important as the main character in a movie. I think we found our Oscar in the Margarita Tequila Lime Chicken Wings.

I was pretty excited to get this sauce developed. It took some time, but I think I found a wing sauce that accurately represents the flavors of a margarita and works great in this recipe.

Besides the obvious additions of Tequila and Lime, we ended up adding some other ingredients that helped bring the flavors out of the wings.

Wings in a deep-fat fryer are simple and you can find my Sweet and Spicy Dry Rub Chicken Wings Recipe here if that is the kind of recipe you are looking for. With a deep-fried wing, you are almost guaranteed to get a nice crispy skin because you are cooking it in fat.

Even in the oven, I have learned to get some great crispiness using Alton Brown’s wing method which uses fat that already exists in the wing. Cooking great wings on the grill is just a bit tougher. The fundamental issue with grilling wings is getting that nice fried flavor on the skin while still cooking the wings all the way through.

There are some things you can do to ensure success on the grill.

Start with a clean grill

Clean your grill and lightly oil it. This will help prevent sticking, which can really mess up a good grilled wing. Do yourself a favor and make sure your grill is nice and clean.

Don’t break down the wing

If I cook wings in a fryer or oven, I will separate the drumstick from the wing, and remove the tip. Leave it all intact when you grill. 

This will allow a greater chance of any fat from the wing to stay in the wing and cook the skin. We don’t want that fat dripping down into the grill.

Sear the chicken wings

For these wings, I generated two cooking zones in my grill for a good sear.

Once clean and oiled, heat up the grill. One side of the grill should be hot, but the other should be kept for indirect cooking.

So, start on the hot side for 10 minutes. Then move them to the indirect heat side of the grill. This allows us to establish a nice crunch on the skin and then heat the wings all the way through

Meat thermometer – get one

Use a thermometer. If you don’t have one, get one [Affiliate Link]. We need our chicken at 165° Fahrenheit. 

Another nuance of this process is that if you just plunge your thermometer into the skin, you might release some precious juices. When temping these guys, try and avoid puncturing the skin and I tend to temp them in the fat part of the chicken drumstick.

🤷 Substitutions and variations

There are a few ways to change this.

  • Sambal Oelek – Sriracha is a great substitute for Sambal Oelek or any other chili style sauce you may have. 
  • Lime – You could use lemons as a substitute in a pinch.
  • Grilling vs Frying – This recipe is a grilled recipe, but you could deep fry your wings and just toss them in the tequila lime sauce. 

📦 Storage

They should be cooled to room temperature before storing and can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days or in the freezer for up to four months. To reheat, they can be placed in the oven or on a grill until they are heated through to 165° Fahrenheit. 

🎓 Tequila Tidbit

Tequila is a Mexican liquor of 80 proof or higher (in the US) that is made from the blue agave plant. This plant is native to Tequila, Mexico, and prefers high altitudes (5000 feet above sea level) and very specific soil. The agave plant really requires a special location to grow.

OK, so get this, the blue agave is normally pollinated by a native bat when it flowers. After it flowers, it dies. To get around this, commercial farmers cut the shoots of the plant to prevent it from flowering. They, then, plant the shoots to make new agave plants.

Do you know how long it takes for an agave plant to grow so that it is mature enough for tequila? About 8 years… or longer. EIGHT YEARS to begin the process of making tequila, and even longer to make good tequila!

❓ FAQ

What is the best way to cook chicken wings?

Chicken wings can be cooked in various ways such as grilling, baking, frying, and even smoking. Each method will give a different texture and taste.

Can I freeze chicken wings?

Yes, chicken wings can be frozen. They should be placed in an airtight container or freezer bag and can be stored for up to four months.

How long do I thaw chicken wings before cooking?

You can thaw chicken wings in the refrigerator overnight or in the microwave on defrost setting. You can also thaw them in a bowl of cold water.

📝 Tips and tricks

  • Start with a clean grill.
  • If you don’t have a digital thermometer, get one. We need our chicken at 165° Fahrenheit to be safe.
  • Either cook your sauce inside or if your grill has a side station, you can cook it there.
  • If you don’t have, or cannot find, Sambal Oelek, you could use Sriracha or any other chili sauce as a substitute.
  • It only seems fitting that you serve it with a Perfect Margarita Cocktail or maybe a Frozen Strawberry Margarita.
  • When temping your wings, doing so in the fat part of the drummie can help prevent fat from escaping.
Eight full chicken wings on a silver platter being held up with two hands.
Game Day goodness with these wings!

😋 Did you make this recipe?

That is awesome, and thank you so much for giving this Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken recipe a try. If you could leave a rating in the comment area below, it would be greatly appreciated. This lets me know how I am doing and also helps others decide if they want to make this recipe. Most of all, thanks for visiting Ramshackle Pantry.

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Eight Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken Wings on a silver platter getting ready to be served. There are two spent limes and a dish of samal oelek in the background.

Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken Wings

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Ben Myhre
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Wings 1x
  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Mexican
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Description

All of the Chicken Wings with a Margarita Kick. These Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken Wings are tasty and a great addition to your grilling arsenal.


Ingredients

Scale

For Margarita Tequila Lime Sauce Sauce:

  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Teaspoons Sambal Oelek
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup tequila

For Wings:

  • 8 Chicken Wings
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, To Taste

Instructions

  1. First, make the Tequila Lime Sauce. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat
  2. Add cornstarch to a small dish and add in water. Stir and set aside
  3. Once the butter has melted, add Sambal Oelek, lime juice, and sugar to saucepan and stir together
  4. Add tequila
  5. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for approximately 5 minutes
  6. Re-stir cornstarch slurry and add to boiling sauce
  7. Continue stirring until sauce thickens
  8. Remove and set aside
  9. Preheat Grill to 425° Fahrenheit, but make sure there is a direct heat zone and an indirect heat zone
  10. Salt and pepper wings liberally
  11. Place wings, skin side down, onto the hot side of the grill and allow to cook for 5 minutes
  12. Turn and cook an additional 5 minutes
  13. Move to indirect heat and allow to cook for 10 minutes
  14. Take the temp. If it is less than 165° Fahrenheit, flip and wait 5 minutes.
  15. Repeat the last step until the chicken reaches an internal temp of 165° Fahrenheit.
  16. In a large bowl toss wings and sauce together until fully coated.
  17. Serve

Notes

  • Start with a clean grill.
  • If you don’t have a digital thermometer, get one. We need our chicken at 165° Fahrenheit to be safe.
  • Either cook your sauce inside or if your grill has a side station, you can cook it there.
  • If you don’t have, or cannot find, Sambal Oelek, you could use Sriracha or any other chili sauce as a substitute.
  • It only seems fitting that you serve it with a Perfect Margarita Cocktail or maybe a Frozen Strawberry Margarita.
  • When temping your wings, doing so in the fat part of the drummie can help prevent fat from escaping.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 Wings
  • Calories: 378 kcal
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Sodium: 630 mg
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Saturated Fat: 8 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 3 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 23 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 14 g
  • Cholesterol: 64 mg

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4 Comments

  1. I am also a Sambal Oelek fan! I have no doubt I’d also be a fan of these chicken wings! They sound delicious.