Steve McHugh's Chicken Wings with Chipotle-Pineapple Sauce

The chef-owner of Cured in San Antonio brines his wings in a flavorful garlic-lime mixture.

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Photo: Greg DuPree

The chef-owner of Cured in San Antonio brines his wings in a flavorful garlic-lime mixture

Steve McHugh’s Chicken Wings with Chipotle-Pineapple Sauce

8 limes
1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated
1 jalapeño chili, sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed
6¼ cups water, divided
5 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
5 lbs. chicken wings
1 tsp. black pepper
¾ cup diced pineapple
3 Tbsp. chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
2 tsp. light brown sugar

1. Squeeze juice from 6 limes to equal ½ cup. Reserve 3 tablespoons lime juice for dipping sauce. Quarter the remaining 2 limes, and reserve for serving.

2. Combine cilantro stems, jalapeño, garlic, 6 cups water, 5 tablespoons salt and remaining 1/3 cup lime juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and let cool completely.

3. Place wings in a large bowl, and cover with brine. Cover and chill 3 hours. Drain, and discard brine. Rinse chicken, and pat dry.

4. Preheat oven to 425°. Set a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange wings evenly on baking sheet. Sprinkle with black pepper, and bake until golden brown and cooked through, 35 to 45 minutes.

5. Combine pineapple, chipotle chilies in adobo, brown sugar, reserved 3 tablespoons lime juice and remaining ¼ cup water and 1 teaspoon salt in a blender; process until smooth, about 1 minute.

6. Place wings on a platter; garnish with cilantro leaves and lime wedges. Serve with chipotle-pineapple dipping sauce.

Serves: 6
Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes, plus brining time

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