Addictive Spicy Garlic Chicken Wings – Pollo Pil Pil



Pollo pil pil on Ken Perrin of Atlantic Art Glass’s beautiful plate.

A staple, an award winner, it’s even one of my favorite lunches: an order of Pollo pil pil and a salad. Spicy and filling, this lunch made me feel virtuous for avoiding the carbs, eating a pile of veggies, and also filled me up. There’s something about chicken protein that just makes me satisfied.

We were so proud of winning the Bangor Metro Best Wings award for this tasty tapas. Proud because it seems almost every other restaurant’s wings start with a bag of frozen pre-breaded wings dumped into the fryer. It was proof that our customers knew that the care we put into our food made the difference. The pride of many of our tapas chefs, these were always made with great attention to detail with techniques on rubbing and timing passed down over the years. Some of our tapas chef’s became true masters and in our last days at Cleonice when so many folks from the past were reaching out and coming back around for one last meal or hug, we were lucky to have our Chef Jen come back and make our last batch of these marvelous treats.


Pollo Pil Pil – Spicy Garlic Chicken Wings

20 servings of 6

  • 10 pounds of Chicken Wings
  • ½ cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • ½ cup Pommace oil (regular old olive oil, not extra virgin)
  • 1 Tb Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup Minced Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1 Tablespoon Dry Rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon Dry Thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/3 cup Smoked Paprika
  • 1/3 cup Hot Paprika


You’ll likely have to disjoint the wings yourselves. Start by taking off the wingtips. These will make a great stock. Go ahead and start one up now or toss them in your freezer for later. Stocks are the foundation of so much good cuisine. I’ll add a basic chicken stock recipe when I post the upcoming Chicken Arthur Avenue recipe, so if you haven’t made a stock at home before, freeze those wing tips and I’ll teach you how to use them later.

pilpiljoint1From the inside of the joint cut half way through.


Pull joint back to break the connection between the two pieces, this will give you a clean cut without broken bones.

pilpiljoint3 Now you can easily cut through the joint to make your two wing pieces.

Pollo pil pil marinade ingredients

Gather up the rest of the ingredients and chop your garlic. Yes, a cup is a lot of garlic, but this is a party sized batch of garlicky wings. Do not use bottled chopped garlic, garlic should be good quality and chopped at home. For a quantity this large, you might want to try Saveur’s How to Peel a Head of Garlic in less Than 10 Seconds. Then you can also throw the garlic into a food processor and pulse to chop it faster.

pilpilmarinCombine all the ingredients in a bowl big enough to stir everything around.

pilpilmixthorMix it up.


Mix it up good. This is a wet rub more than a marinade, so you want to make sure it’s covering all of your wings. Put your rubbed wings into the refrigerator and let all that goodness soak in. Allow them to soak up the flavors for at least a half hour and as long as overnight.

Spread out your wings evenly on a sheet pan and roast in a preheated 400 degree oven for twenty five minutes. Cut into a a drumstick to see if they are done. When all the pink is gone from the meat and the skin is a little crispy, they are ready to serve. Oven temps and wing sizes very quite a bit, so watch and check for doneness. These will keep well in a chafing dish for a party or are easy to reheat by simply popping them in a hot oven until they heated through and re-crisped.

pilpilfinNote: Plate featured here was made by Ken Perrin of Atlantic Art Glass. We are lucky to have Ken and Linda as gracious customers and friends.

Cary Hanson

About Cary Hanson

My husband and I didn't have children, we had a restaurant. For twelve and a half years we poured body and soul into Cleonice Mediterranean Bistro. We worked closely with local farmers, fishermen, and food artisans, doing our best to support our local community. We made great friends, beautiful food, and had a lot of fun. As Rich and I rediscover ourselves as our own beings outside of the all-consuming restaurant we have time to share our recipes and reminisce about Cleonice.