One of my favorite cuisines that I hardly eat enough of is Peruvian. My love started with Chicken saltados, and every time I find a Peruvian place to eat at I’m there.
Today is my take on Peruvian Chicken, using this bold and flavorful marinade on chicken wings. And how can a dad entering their 40s NOT put these in the smoker?
So yes, smoked Peruvian chicken wings is what’s on the menu for today.
I don’t care if this is a fun Saturday night dinner with the fam, or something amazing you’re cooking of for the Sunday game – these are going to go fast!
I think the best part about this recipe is the spicy green sauce that I paired with these. Keep these plain for the kids who aren’t into the spicy foods.
Then serve them up covered in the aji verde style sauce giving some heat and extra layer of flavor going on for the big kids!
This is definitely going on my top 3 wing recipes to put on rotation this football season!
Ingredients needed for Peruvian Style Chicken Wings
For the Peruvian Chicken Marinade
- Soy Sauce: This umami-packed ingredient forms the base of our marinade, infusing the wings with savory depth.
- Olive Oil: A drizzle of this golden elixir imparts a luscious richness and helps marry the spices to the chicken.
- Fresh Lime Juice: The zingy citrus notes not only tenderize the meat but will brighten up the flavor profile as well.
- Salt and Black Pepper: Salt and pepper. Do i need to say more? ALWAYS SALT AND PEPPER FRIENDS
- Paprika: There’s not much flavor going on here, but to get that beautiful color to come out, paprika is always suggested.
- Garlic Cloves: Garlic is a huge part of Peruvian cuisine, when in doubt add more garlic!
- Chicken Wings: Obviously, you’ll need chicken wings, but lets go with the ones that are separated, also known as party wings
Spicy Green Sauce (Aji Verde)
- Serrano Pepper: A fiery contender in the Peruvian culinary arena, the serrano pepper sparks the sauce with heat.
- Cumin: A fragrant spice that encapsulates the heart of Peruvian cuisine.
- Fresh Oregano: Whether in the marinade or the sauce, oregano bestows an earthy, aromatic character.
- Garlic Cloves: These cloves release their enchanting essence, weaving through the marinade.
- Aji Amarillo Paste (optional): IF you can find this – If not, a serrano pepper will do just fine!
- Sour cream (optional): I didn’t use sour cream in this batch, but if you want to add some tang, this is where its at. I’ll go with sour cream or Mexican crema when I do a variation of this sauce for fish tacos!
To get beautifully crisp chicken wings with flavorful skin that has a touch of smokey goodness to them, you’re going to need a few essentials in your arsenal:
Small Food Processor or Mini Food Processor: For both the marinade, and the aji verde sauce, you’ll want to use something that can puree everything down into a liquid.
I love using a nutribullet for this task since its a smaller amount of liquid and it leaves no chunks behind.
Pellet Grill: Yes, you could just a traditional smoker, a charcoal grill, or even a gas grill with some wood chips. But these types of recipes is where my Traeger Pellet Grill shines.
Takes 5 minutes to set up, it maintains the temperature like an oven, and gets hot enough to render down the fat on the skin to give you a nice crispy chicken wing.
Wire Rack: Not only does this help with transporting your wings to the grill, all at once but can help prevent any liquid from pooling so you can achieve that crispy skin.
Don’t have a wire rack big enough? I like to use a pizza tray with slotted holes in it!
Instant-Read Meat Thermometer: To make sure your Peruvian style chicken wings are crispy on on the outside, with moist chicken on the inside, you want to aim for around 170F internal temperature.
Using an instant read thermometer like a ThermoPro is the perfect tool to have on hand for this task!
Tips for Preparing Smoked Peruvian Chicken Wings
To ensure your smoked Peruvian chicken wings reach the pinnacle of perfection, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Marinate: Allow the wings to soak in the marinade overnight; this not only imparts flavor but also tenderizes the meat.
- Even Cooking: When smoking, arrange the wings on a wire rack in a single layer. This will give them maximum exposure to the smoke while making sure they all get crisp skin.
- The Grill’s Role: Preheat your Traeger pellet grill to 325°F (163°C) for a balanced infusion of smokiness. Want to go low and slow? Set it to 225 and add another 30-45 minutes to your cook time.
- Cook to Temperature, not time: Which leads me to my next point. Always cook to an internal temp reading instead of blindly cooking to time. First make sure the skin is crisp, then use an instant-read thermometer to
Should I marinate or brine my chicken wings?
The question of whether to brine or marinate chicken wings is a common culinary conundrum. Let’s break down the essentials:
- Brining: Brining is a process where meat is submerged in a saltwater solution, sometimes with added sugars and aromatics. The primary aim of brining is to hydrate the muscle tissues of the meat, which allows it to retain more water and thus stay juicier during cooking. The salt in the brine also helps in breaking down proteins, leading to a tender result.
- Marinating: Marinating, on the other hand, is a method of soaking meats in a mixture of acid (like vinegar or citrus juice), oil, and other seasonings. The acid in marinades can help tenderize the meat, while the oil and seasonings impart flavor.
- The Soy Sauce Effect: For Peruvian chicken wings, we’re using soy sauce in the marinade. Soy sauce is rich in salt, and this will have a brining effect on your chicken wings. So, in essence, the marinade is acting partly as a brine due to the soy sauce’s salt content. This helps the wings retain moisture during cooking and imparts a deeper flavor
So if you think about it, this marinade is almost a hybrid approach, both instilling flavor, while locking in the hydration from the high salt content from the soy sauce.
So if anyone ever argues with you on your Peruvian style chicken wings being brined or not. You’ve got receipts!
Aji Verde Sauce – What’s the Difference?
The first thing that brought me to love Peruvian cuisine was their beautiful green creamy sauce called Aji Verde. It’s packed with flavor, heat and goes good on everything!
If I have extra sauce leftover, I’ll use it for fish tacos and even use it as a salad dressing!
This is my spin on my favorite green sauce for smoked Peruvian chicken wings that brings its own unique zest to the table.
Distinctions from Traditional Aji Verde:
Pepper Variation: Traditional Aji Verde often incorporates aji Amarillo, a bright orange chili pepper with a fruity flavor.
This pepper is near impossible to get fresh in the states.
While you can get aji panca paste I find that the heat and sharpness of serrano peppers, giving the sauce a different kind of fiery kick, that does the trick!
Grilling Onions: This isn’t traditional at all, but those huge green onions that you see at the store with the large bulbs also known as Mexican Grilling onions – SO GOOD in sauces.
It adds a distinct flavor and bite to the sauce that I love.
Oregano Punch: While both versions might use fresh herbs, the pronounced use of oregano in our sauce introduces an earthy, robust flavor that harmonizes perfectly with the smokiness of the grilled wings.
Perfect Companion for Smoked Peruvian Chicken Wings:
Where Buffalo wings have their ranch, Peruvian Chicken Wings have this aji verde sauce.
Whether its drizzled all over the top, or served on the side, It adds brightness and spice that complements the smokey umami flavors going on in the chicken wings.
This spicy green sauce isn’t overpowering in heat, but just enough to get the point across, and adds SO MUCH MORE FLAVOR.
Bland chicken wings? Not up in here!
Smoked Peruvian Chicken Wings with Spicy Green Sauce
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 6 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 tsp cumin whole
- 1 lime juiced
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 lbs chicken wings
Spicy Green Sauce Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup mayonaise
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano
- 1 grilling onion roughly chopped
- 1-2 serrano peppers adjust to taste
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- In a blender or small food processor, combine all marinade ingredients. Blend until smooth.
- Place the chicken wings in a large bowl or resealable bag and pour the marinade over them. Ensure all wings are coated. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat your Traeger pellet grill to 325°F (163°C).
- Place the marinated wings on a wire rack and smoke on the grill grate for 45-60 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 170°F (77°C).
- While the wings smoke, prepare the spicy green sauce. In a food processor, blend all sauce ingredients until you achieve a smooth and vibrant sauce.
- Once the wings are smoked to perfection, drizzle the spicy green sauce over them.
- Serve the smoked Peruvian chicken wings with your chosen side dishes and relish in the symphony of flavors.