I’ve been intrigued by Szechuan Peppers as they’ve made a resurgence back in the states after a long absence. They are a staple of Chinese cooking, but were banned in the US from 1968 -2005 because they are in the citrus family and had the potential to
The Szechuan pepper is not actually a peppercorn at all like the black and white peppercorns we are familiar with, but is the dried berry husk found on the prickly ash tree. The taste is surprising and invigorating. Not hot in a typical sense, it has citrus undertones and causes a slight numbing sensation on the tongue. This is the basis for the wings, paired with a sweet and slightly spicy thai peanut sauce. This wing recipe is not spicy in the traditional sense, but has the pungent citrus/electric shock of the peppercorns paired with the sweetness of the thai peanut sauce.
I’ve found the absolute BEST thai peanut sauce recipe in the world on the She Simmers blog, a blog all about Thai cooking. This recipe is easy-peasy and needs no modification. I did, however, add the juice of one lime and lime zest to the peanut sauce because everything is better with a little citrus and it compliments the citrus undertones in the szechuan in this recipe.
Directions: Marinate the wings in 1/2 bottle of ponzu sauce for at least 30 minutes. While marinating, make the Thai-peanut sauce. In the meantime, preheat a grill to medium high heat. Oil the grill grates so the wings will not stick. Remove the wings from the marinade and sprinkle with 3/4 of the szechuan pepper, coating all sides. The Thai Peanut sauce will make a large batch; pour approximatel 1.5 cups into a bowl to take to the grill for brushing on the wings while grilling. Grill the wings, brushing with generous amounts of sauce. Grill until the internal temp of the wings have reached 170 degrees. Tent the wings under foil for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the wings with the remaining szechuan pepper before serving. Serve with more thai peanut sauce for dipping. This recipe will make you want to slap your momma it’s so good! (** I would never of course slap my momma but the expression is fitting here because it is that good!)