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Chicken Wings for the Dirty Birds

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Other than the recent reports concerning Georgia’s Fifth District, the big deal right now in The ATL is that the Falcons are playing the Green Bay Packers for the NFC Championship — and a ticket to the 51st Super Bowl. In honor of the Falcons, also known as the “Dirty Birds,” I thought I’d share a few of my favorite recipes for wings. The sweet heat glaze for the Dirty Bird Chicken Wings is made with none other than Coca-Cola, which of course, also hails from Atlanta. And, the Curried Wings are served with a (Georgia) Peach Dipping Sauce. Both recipes are guaranteed winners. It’s a toss up to which one will score more points at your Falcon’s Tailgate! Each wing recipe can be made ahead and reheated; both recipes are baked, not fried, making for healthier wings; and lastly, no oil means a pretty easy clean-up. I’m also including a short video on how to make the Dirty Bird Chicken Wings. Check it out below or on my Facebook page. I’ve got a feeling! 

#TCOB  for No Kid Hungry

While I hope the Falcons will Take Care of Business on the field, there’s some other business we need to take care of – child hunger.  No child should grow up hungry in America, but one in five children struggles with food insecurity — and one in four in the state of Georgia. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is working to end child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. This is something we really need to win!

I am pleased and honored to announce that I have been named as a member of the inaugural No Kid Hungry Atlanta Society. The No Kid Hungry Atlanta Society is comprised of individuals committed to increasing philanthropic support and awareness of No Kid Hungry.  Twenty three members, including myself, were specially selected to join the groundbreaking 2017 inaugural class. We have an initial cumulative fundraising goal of $125,000 and we will celebrate at Atlanta’s 29th Annual Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry on Thursday, April 20th, 2017. (You can buy tickets for this grand tasting event featuring Atlanta’s top chefs here.) If this groundbreaking program proves to be successful it will be rolled out in other cities!! It’s a huge honor — and a huge job. Please consider donating to my fundraising page.

Thanks for reading. Hey — let me know what you think about the wing recipes and which one scores at your party!

Bon Appétit Y’all — and let’s go Falcons! 

Virginia Willis

Dirty Bird Wings on

Dirty Bird Chicken Wings

Serves 4 to 6

1 12 ounce can Coca-Cola Classic
Juice of 2 limes
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon tamari or sauce
1 hot chiles, finely chopped, plus 2 more, sliced, for garnish, or to taste
3 pounds chicken wings, separated into drummettes and flats
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Position an oven rack 4 inches below the broiler element. Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with several sheets of aluminum foil and place an ovenproof rack on the lined baking sheet. (Really make sure you cover the pan well so your Dirty Bird Wings will clean up easily.) 

To make the glaze, in a shallow saucepan, bring the soda, lime juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, and the chopped chiles to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer until syrupy, about 30 minutes; keep warm over low heat.

Place the wing pieces in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour about half the glaze over the wings and toss to coat. Keep the remaining sauce warm over low heat.

To broil the wings, place the glazed wings on the rack set on the baking sheet. Broil for 10 minutes per side, brushing twice on each side with the reserved glaze. Transfer to a warm platter, garnish with the sliced chiles, and serve immediately.

 Making ahead: The glaze can be made ahead, cooled, and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The wings can be completely prepared ahead and reheated in a 350°F oven until warmed through, about 10 minutes. 



Curried Chicken Wings on

Curried Chicken Wings with Georgia Peach Dipping Sauce

Serves 4 to 6

For the Wings:
3 pounds chicken wings, separated into drummettes and flats
1 teaspoon Madras or spicy curry powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 to 3 jalapeños, cored, seeded, and very finely chopped, plus more for garnish
2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Dipping Sauce:
½ cup plain low-fat or whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
3 tablespoons peach preserves
¼ teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish


In a large bowl, combine the wings, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, soy sauce, canola oil, jalapeños, garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, combine the yogurt, preserves, and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Remove the marinated wings from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then set a large wire rack on the foil. (I don’t like to use a nonstick baking liner on the baking sheet in this instance because the curry can stain the silicone.)

 Transfer the wings without crowding to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the wings are deep brown and the juices run clear, turning once, 15 to 20 minutes per side. (If you like charred bits, after the 40 minutes, turn the oven on to broil for about 5 more minutes.)

Taste the yogurt dipping sauce and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro and serve the hot wings with the dipping sauce on the side.


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photo credits: Dirty Bird Chicken Wings by Virginia Willis and Curried Wings by Helene Dujardin

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links.

Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis’ biography includes making chocolate chip cookies with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, foraging for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvesting capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and hunting for truffles in France. She is talent and chef-instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen. Her segments feature authentic and innovative Southern cooking. She was the celebrity chef at the Mansion at Churchill Downs for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Virginia has spoken at SXSW, cooked for the James Beard Foundation, and beguiled celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman, and Jane Fonda with her cooking — but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. Recently, her work has been inspired by her weight loss success story, Virginia has lost 65# and kept it off for over 2 1/2 years! “If a French-trained, Southern chef can do it, you can, too.” She is the author of Fresh Start; Secrets of the Southern Table; Lighten Up, Y’all; Bon Appétit, Y’all; Basic to Brilliant, Y’all; Okra; and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all won a James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence in the Focus on Health Category. Lighten Up, Y’all as well as her first cookbook, Bon Appétit, Y’all, were finalists in the Best American Cookbook for the International Association of Cookbook Awards and were also named by the Georgia Center of the Book as “Books Georgians Should Read.” She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network’s Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, People Magazine, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating Well, GRLSQUASH, Culture, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know.” Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude, approachable spirit, and traveling exploits. Her culinary consulting company, Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc specializes in content creation, recipe development, culinary editorial and production services, cookbook writing, media training, spokesperson and brand representation, and public speaking. Virginia is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Atlanta Community Food Bank Advisory Board, as well as the Community Farmers Market Advisory Board. She is a food and hunger advocate for No Kid Hungry and a premier member of the No Kid Hungry Atlanta Society. She a member of The James Beard Foundation, Chef’s Collaborative, Georgia Organics, and Southern Foodways Alliance.

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