Smoky Sweet Spicy Wings

Chipotle Cinnamon Grilled Wings RecipeA couple of weeks ago, I headed over to Baltimore Maryland to get school on spices, along with my buds Jenny, Shauna and Nicole. What do you do at spice school? We eat, of course!

Their amazing culinary team fed us every couple of hours, in fact, our meeting space was inside McCormick’s Asian kitchen (built-in wok!) and our “class” was no more than 3 steps left of the kitchen.

Of the dozens of food and drinks that we sampled, my favorite were these Chipotle Chinnamon Baby Back Ribs. See that plate? I polished off half of that myself.

A lot of recipe developers and chef talk about “balancing flavors” – and these ribs are a perfect example of playing with the powerful punch of spice – sort of like the soundtrack to “The Perfect Storm”

::sweet (brown sugar) :: spicy & smoky (chipotle) :: warm (cinnamon and cocoa) :: salty (garlic salt) :: tangy (tomato paste)::

So I’ve re-created those flavors into the form of wings. We even threw them on the grill for more smokiness, but you can bake and broil for same effect.

About Chipotle Chile Pepper

What is Chipotle Chile Pepper? From McCormick’s Enspicelopedia:


When green, this Capsicum annum is called jalapeño, a chile with distinctive sweet and acidic notes, along with a moderate level of heat. But when the pod is dried and smoked, it becomes a different animal altogether and is called chipotle. With a strong, smoky aroma and a deep brown color, chipotle pepper is available ground.


Chipotle pepper is the quick way to put a hit of smoky, spicy, “Howdy Pardner!” flavor into anything from prepared mayonnaise, salsa and rubs to cornbread, bean dips, chili con carne and butter for glazing vegetables. Pair it with chili powder and cinnamon as a rub for the most memorable baby back ribs you’re likely to taste.


Named for its hometown Jalapa in the Mexican state of Veracruz, jalapeño peppers are the raw materials from which chipotle pepper is made.


In the United States, the heat of chilies is measured in Scoville Heat Units. Sweet bell peppers score zero on the scale, while jalapenos hit the 2,500 – 4,000 range. Habaneros are reputedly one of the hottest peppers, reaching 100,000 to 300,000 Scoville Units. Some say, however, that certain varieties of African chilies are even hotter, most especially the tiny green gems known as bird’s eye peppers.

How to Easily Cut Chicken Wings

To easily cut a chicken wing, here’s my method — no wrestling needed.

Prop the wing with the backside facing you. Hold it up so that it forms a “V” on that first joint.  Now take your knife and cut straight down that “V”


If you cut straight down the “V” you shouldn’t meet much resistance at all. It should go through pretty darn smoothly.

Same thing for the wing tip. Hold the wing to form V and cut straight down the middle.

Throw the flappers and the drumsticks in a bag, save the tips for stock. Pour marinade in bag.

Close it up, but keep air in the bag so that the wings can move around. Now SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE! It’s a good flabby arm workout. After the wings are all coated, open just a crack of the bag up, squeeze all the air out and seal.

Like this bowl? It’s Fire King Jadeite and if you’re not an eBay addict yet, this baby will surely make you one.

Chipotle Cinnamon Grilled Wings Recipe

A recipe so easy, that even Andrew made it on television last week. That’s him right there at the Daytime studio, standing on a box with host Cyndi.


Smoky Sweet Spicy Wings Recipe

Servings: 6 as appetizer Prep Time: 5 Cook Time: 30 minutes

a.k.a Warm Sweet & Spicy Wings. If you're interested in using the same McCormick Gourmet Collection spices, here's what I used: McCormick Gourmet Collection Garlic Salt, McCormick Gourmet Collection Chile Pepper, Chipotle, McCormick Gourmet Collection Cinnamon, Saigon


1/4 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
3/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 pounds chicken wings, separated, wing tips saved for another use


In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients to form a thick marinade. Place wings and marinade into large sealable plastic bag. Toss to coat evenly. Marinate in refrigerator for 45 minutes up to overnight.

To cook on grill: Preheat grill, Turn one side of the grill to high heat, the other side on medium-low heat. Grill wings on high heat until the wings starts to caramelize and you get some
black grill marks, flip the wings and repeat. Move them to the cool
side of the grill, cover and cook for 20 minutes until the wings are cooked through.

To cook in oven: In oven: Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
or tin foil (this is an important step unless you want to spend an hour
scrubbing your pan after cooking). Lay wings on parchment paper or tin foil. Bake for 15
minutes, flip the wings and bake for another 15 minutes.

If you want, you can move rack near 8-inches to top and broil the wings for 2 minutes to caramelize even further. Just keep an eye on them to make sure they don't burn.

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Comments 34

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  2. rita in mi

    These sounds very delicious! I was wondering though – do you think you could substitute 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo for the chipotle powder?

  3. Janine O

    I was just looking for the perfect superbowl party food for a “throwdown” with my brothers. This is the winning recipe!

  4. Sherri M

    Love the sound of these. This combo of spices is right up my alley. Going to try them this weekend and if the boys love ’em, we’ll throw them into the big superbowl bash bowl.

  5. Kayla

    Thanks for the instructions on how to cut chicken wings. I have tried making chicken wings several times, but somehow they never really cook evenly. I guess that’s because I never cut them? I’d love to try this recipe. I’m totally intrigued by the use of ingredients such as cocoa powder, apple juice and cinnamon in your recipe:)

  6. Charlotte

    I wonder if I could use boneless skinless chicken breasts. I dont like the wings, yeah I know I’m crazy!! 😀

  7. BrianC

    Love the idea and can’t wait to try the wings. But the ribs looked (and sounded) equally delicious. How were they cooked? Grilled, or in the oven? Any details there would be great!

  8. Chris

    We are big fans of McCormick’s Gourmet series and their Grill Mates products. So what is the SHU for their chipolte powder? I have it and it has a kick but I like it.

    Your wings look rocking good. Thank you so much for grilling them, you made me feel at home.

  9. JillS.

    these look delicious! the crowd at my house loves their wings – so we’ll be trying these out for sure. maybe a superbowl treat.

  10. Charlotte

    I was just thinking of next weekend’s super bowl menu. I’m getting tired of the usual buffalo spicy wings. Unfortunately, my grill is out of commission. I’ll have to use the oven.

    As for the ribs, does it make the meat more tender if you use a lower temperature and longer bake time? I find the meat a little tough sometimes.

  11. Charlie

    definitly will be trying a version of the wings for superbowl. Maybe a few chipotle rubbed blue gill also. nice photos

  12. Pingback: My So-Called Knife » Archive » The Obligatory Super Bowl Roundup Post

  13. Pingback: 15 Mouthwatering Game Day Recipes : Wantist Blog

  14. mayra

    right now, just got your cookbook, and before i try anything,iam reading like a bible, and just love your book, and your website is really out of this world, iam dominican and just love ASIAN food

  15. Pingback: Game Day Food: 50 Super Bowl Recipe Ideas | Sarah's Cucina Bella

  16. Pingback: Buffalo Chicken Soup Recipe – A Souper Bowl for Super Bowl Sunday | Apron Strings

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  19. Kat

    What a delightful, yummy, delicate, layered recipe. It’s going to be a part of my regular party roster… Thanks!

  20. Pingback: Grilled Hot Wings Recipe

  21. James V

    Tried the recipe for the first time and smoked the wings on a Traeger … and holy nuts-o did they turn out really nice. Wife loved them … but we both agreed the “salt” factor was really missing from the recipe. Once we added salt at the end (weird in my opinion) we really thought this one is a real winner and will be served every game day. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Sandra

    This is now my go to recipe for chicken…we use chicken breast cut into strips. Very tasty on their own but great in a salad too. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

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