The aroma of chicken grilling over charcoal is always enticing, whether it is in a busy street market or in a clearing in the countryside. These tangy chicken wings, jawaneh, are great street and picnic food, best eaten with your fingers, straight from the grill or barbecue.–Ghillie Basan

What is sumac?

Sumac is the ground berry of a wild flower with a tart, tangy smack that’s similar to lemon. It’s perhaps most familiar for its role in the rub called “za’atar”, although it also figures predominantly in dressings and marinades.

A green plate topped with a few garlicky chicken wings, a bowl of salt, and a lemon wedge.

Garlicky Chicken Wings With Sumac

5 / 3 votes
These garlicky chicken wings are marinated in garlic, lemon juice, and sumac, then tossed on the grill. An easy meal that will please everyone at the table.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories440 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes


  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon (3 to 4 tablespoons)
  • 4 to 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 16 to 20 (2 1/2 pounds total) chicken wings
  • Sea salt


  • In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and sumac.
  • Drop the chicken wings in a shallow dish and rub the marinade all over them. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Preheat your grill on medium-high.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: No grill? No problem. These wings can also be baked at 400°F (200°C) for 30 to 40 minutes.

  • Place the chicken wings in a single layer over direct heat and grill, basting them occasionally with the marinade, until the wings are completely cooked, 8 to 10 minutes per side.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: If your wings are exceptionally meaty, they may take a bit longer to cook through.

  • Sprinkle with salt and serve hot.

Adapted From

The Lebanese Cookbook

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 servingCalories: 440 kcalCarbohydrates: 2 gProtein: 28 gFat: 35 gSaturated Fat: 8 gMonounsaturated Fat: 17 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 118 mgSodium: 122 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2020 Ghillie Basan. Photo © 2020 Jon Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I have to start with a disclaimer that I picked this recipe before I realized that the recipe asks that they are grilled. I do not own a grill so I baked the wings in the oven instead. They were delicious! The tartness of the garlic, lemon juice and sumac worked really well. I baked them at 400°F for just under 40 minutes and made a homemade blue cheese dip to go with them.

This is a pretty simple yet delicious recipe. Sumac gives it acidity in flavor! I used drumettes instead of wings. My advice would be to serve them with sauce. I used Ranch and it was a wonderful combo!

This is a fantastic recipe for anyone looking for a quick and easy way to cook chicken on the grill, and a bonus for those who like wings. The simple combination of lemon, sumac, and garlic delivers amazing flavor, and this is further enhanced by the char from the grill. This is also a good recipe to introduce sumac to those who have never tasted it before.

The garlic flavor was not as strong as I hoped so I recommend increasing the amount or chopping the garlic if you want more garlic flavor. Because wings are used instead of larger pieces, the cooking time is quick and there is less risk of overcooking the chicken. Serving this with lemon wedges is crucial to provide some brightness to the dish.

In general, all cooking smells are welcome smells, I think. Fresh bread, anything vanilla or cinnamon, caramelizing onion, and fresh squeezed limes are some of my very favourite. But none of those compare to the mixture of lemon and garlic. Honestly (and trust me, I know just how weird this sounds), even my compost smelled incredible after making these wings. The addition of sumac and the grilling method only intensified how much I enjoyed this recipe.

This marinade is simple but really, really tasty. I left the wings in the fridge for just over 2 hours and they absorbed quite a bit of flavor. My lemon yielded nearly 4 tablespoons of juice and I used the full 6 cloves of garlic for my 20 wings.

I grilled them on my stove top in a cast iron grill pan. I assume that they would have cooked faster on an open flame but they still only took about 10 minutes a side. They developed gorgeous grill marks, nonetheless, and remained juicy on the inside.

I served them with extra lemon, warm pita bread, labneh, and a cucumber salad.

I am a huge fan of chicken wings, so much so that we have a wing-off in our backyard every year where our group of friends compete for best wing. I’m always excited to try a new wing, and I think this one might make its way into the contest.

Sumac was an incredibly hard ingredient to find in my city, so I had to order it online, but now I’m completely in love. What a great spice for a wing! It’s like lemon-pepper, but elevated, and the lemon and garlic play a great supporting role. I was worried about the lack of salt in the marinade but it was nice to see these ingredients sing without it, and the final shower made the wings really pop.

My big regret however was that the night I intended to make the wings, it was raining sideways and pitch black so I opted to cook them in the oven. They still came out crispy and phenomenal.

These are some intense lip sumac-ing wings! (I can’t resist a good pun, I’m sorry.) Confession, this was my first time using sumac. When the little jar arrived via Amazon van, I immediately cracked it open and tried the spice in its raw form. I know in the Middle East it is used as a condiment sprinkled on cooked kebabs, so I thought the flavor was going to blow me away. It was fine, not as intense as I had thought, and hoped.

But then something magical happened. After resting in a sumac, garlic, lemon bath and crisping up on the grill, these wings were screaming with sumac in a beautiful way. The combo of marinating then grilling brought the sumac to the forefront. The wings were tangy and toasty. You seemingly could taste the tang on the tip of your tongue before it even hit your mouth. The tanginess was balanced beautifully with the grounded garlic and bit of char from the grill. Not only were these enjoyed by our entire crew, I opened the eyes of my strictly buffalo wing loving husband to new wing opportunities. Sumac is my new best friend!

Who needs another grilled chicken wing recipe? Well, it turns out I do, and maybe you do, too, if you haven’t tried them with sumac.

The recipe is dead-simple and the only sauce ingredient you might be missing is the sumac. It all goes together in a matter of minutes and you probably know what to do without poring over recipe details.

The recipe served 4 non-ravenous people with enough left over for 2 lunches.

Wings are a favorite for dinner or anytime at our house. I was excited to try these with such a simple list of ingredients. The marinade was easy to prepare but I found given the weight and size of my wings there was not enough marinade to use for both marinating and basting. I used 20 wings and we got 4 servings. They were very big and meaty for wings.

The colour of the sumac in the marinade does make judging the doneness of the wings by sight a little harder as it is dark in colour. We grilled the wings 10 minutes per side and found a few were a bit too close to underdone so I gave them all an additional 5 minutes in the oven. Also I had noted a lot of them didn’t have crispy skin. I’m not sure why that was but the additional time in the oven solved that problem as well.

As it was, they were delicious. I liked the earthiness of the sumac and bright hint of lemon and who doesn’t love garlic? I served the wings with cut veggies and a creamy dip made with plain yogurt, garlic, lemon zest and a tsp of sumac to mirror the flavors of the marinade.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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