Chicken wings with tahini and za'atar

  • 6-8
  • 55 minutes plus 3 hours marinating time (or overnight if possible)

This chicken wings recipe from Helen Graves' LIVE FIRE combines a creamy tahini sauce with a bold za'atar garnish. They're very moreish! Serve them as a starter, a snack or as part of a BBQ spread. 

This recipe is taken from LIVE FIRE: Seasonal Barbecue Recipes and Stories of Live Fire Traditions Old and New by Helen Graves (Hardie Grant, £26) Photography: Robert Billington

First published in 2022

Helen says: "These wings went down a storm when I cooked them for a Lebanese-themed supper club in collaboration with Château Ka – a winery based out in the Beqaa Valley. The wings at that supper club were oven-cooked not grilled but trust me, they absolutely would’ve been had I had access to a barbecue."

"Could you use shop-bought za’atar for this? Absolutely, although it won’t be the same dish, so please bear that in mind. The recipe below makes a large batch, tastes about 1,000 times nicer and is good for throwing on anything from your eggs in the morning to flatbreads, salads and grilled fish. Both the tahini sauce and za’atar can be made the day before."






Tahini sauce



Combine the red pepper paste, sunflower oil, lemon juice, garlic and pul biber to make the marinade. Place the wings in a non-reactive dish and add the marinade, mixing well to make sure they’re well coated. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 3 hours


To make the za’atar, first toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until golden, keeping a careful eye on them to make sure they don’t burn, and stirring regularly. Allow them to cool, then mix with all the other ingredients. Store in an airtight container away from bright light. The za’atar will stay fresh for a few weeks


To make the tahini sauce, mix the crushed garlic in a bowl with the tahini. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice and loosen with a splash of cold water and some salt. Finally, whisk in the olive oil. It should be nice and sharp, and well-seasoned


Prepare a barbecue for indirect cooking over medium heat, with the coals arranged in the centre of the barbecue and space around the edge. To cook the wings indoors, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Bake the wings in the oven on a roasting tray for about 45 minutes, or until crispy and cooked through


Once the barbecue is ready, arrange the marinated wings in a circle around the coals, but not directly over them. Cook the wings for about 30 minutes, turning them every so often, until cooked through and caramelised. You can move the wings further into the centre of the barbecue as the coals burn down


Serve the wings drizzled with the tahini sauce and sprinkled with the za’atar

Helen Graves is Head of Content at Great British Chefs. She's also the author of the cookbook LIVE FIRE: Seasonal Barbecue Recipes and Stories of Live Fire Traditions, Old and New, and the editor of Pit, an independent magazine with roots in live fire cooking.

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