Adobo Grilled Chicken Wings

Few things inspire pride in Filipinos as their family’s recipe for adobo sauce. Considered to be the national marinade of the Pacific island republic, adobos are known for their zesty combination of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and other aromatics that complement meat and poultry.


½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
5 garlic cloves, sliced
½ tablespoon crushed red pepper
½ tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 kg chicken wings, tips removed and wing and drumette divided
Spray oil


As you could gather from our opening sentence, the ingredients for adobos vary wildly from region to region, and even household to household. The common ingredients are the vinegar and soy sauce. From there, the sky’s the limit.

The recipe we’ve captured, below, calls for the addition of fish sauce. Fish sauce is loaded with umami, that fifth taste that means “delicious” in Japanese. It won’t taste “fishy” – but the fish sauce significantly deepens the yummy flavours of the marinade.

Some tips as you introduce your palette and grill to adobo:

  • If you’re new to grilling, chicken wings are an excellent choice. Because of their high skin to meat ratio, you can over-grill wings, and they’ll still taste delicious.
  • You’ll want to place the plastic bag of marinade and chicken wings in a sturdy container, such as a casserole dish, before refrigerating. If the bag leaks, you won’t have a mess.
  • may be tempted to add salt and pepper to the wings after marinating and before grilling. Resist that temptation – there’s plenty of salt in the soy sauce and fish sauce already.


  1. Combine the cider vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, red pepper and black peppercorns in a small bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Pour the marinade into a heavy duty gallon plastic bag and add the chicken wings. Seal and refrigerate 4-6 hours.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium.
  4. Remove the wings from the marinade and pat them dry.
  5. Grill the wings for 14-16 minutes, turning to get even char marks on all sides.


Don’t be alarmed at the prep time – most of that involves marinating the chicken wings in the refrigerator.