One of the many things I love about traveling is that it opens my mind to new flavors. There’s something inspiring about walking into a new restaurant in a different city and trying something on the menu that is so good, it makes you say, “I need to make this at home.” This recipe for Lemon Garlic Chicken Wings with Cucumber Ranch is inspired by a pit-stop we had at Canal Park Brewery during one of our road trips through Minnesota.
The best wings are addictive wings. Normally, I’m used to eating them with a smoky dry-rub or a spicy-sweet bbq sauce. When I saw this unique flavor combination on the menu at Canal Park, I was immediately interested. And, when I saw a server walk by with an order of them, I started getting antsy. They looked incredibly good. The slightly spicy lemon and garlic flavor combination dipped into a cucumber ranch sauce is surprisingly refreshing and definitely addictive… just as wings should be.
After we got home, I started testing recipes. A change that I made was that I added honey to the sauce to tame the citrus from the lemon. You can do this to your own taste preference. I also made two batches of the sauce during the preparation. One for marinating the wings and the other to baste over the wings after pulling them from the grill. Can’t get enough of that tasty sauce.
When I started researching recipes for the Cucumber Ranch, I was finding a lot of versions that included 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. Thanks to Anjali from the Vegetarian Gastronomy blog, I found an excellent vegan version of cucumber ranch that tastes like the real deal.
Get her recipe here.
I was skeptical at first, but pleasantly surprised when I tasted it. You can use this as a dip, salad dressing or even a sandwich spread. It’s versatile and super delicious.
I’ll be interested to see what you think!
LEMON GARLIC WINGS WITH CUCUMBER RANCH
LEMON GARLIC 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
Note: Add honey to balance the citrus from the lemon, to taste
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
Note: 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.
1. Combine garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, honey, olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper in a large resealable plastic bag.
2. Add chicken wings, seal bag, and turn to coat.
3. Chill at least 1 hour or overnight.
4. Prepare grill for indirect heat.
5. Remove wings from marinade and place, skin-side-up on grill.
6. Cover grill and cook until fat has rendered and an instant-read thermometer reads close to 165º F, about 10 minutes.
7. Move the wings over direct heat.
8. Grill, turning occasionally, until wings are golden brown and slightly charred, 5 to 10 minutes.
9. Stay close to watch for the occasional flare up. Note: If this happens, move the wings to a slightly cooler part of the grill.
10. Remove wings from grill and baste with the second batch of the sauce.
VEGAN CUCUMBER RANCH
Get the recipe on Vegetarian Gastronomy!
All images © Regan Baroni 2016.