Carnita Style Duck Wings with Harissa Butter and Grilled Lime

Pair with Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Malbec

This is my take on traditional buffalo wings but elevated using a different protein (duck) and spice (harissa). Duck has a robust flavor that stands up to the Malbec without overpowering it. Also, the Terrazas Malbec has a hint of cherry which is really brought out by the spice.

Makes 10 to 15 servings


  • 5 pounds duck drumettes

  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed 

  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons red chile flakes

  • 1 gallon rendered duck fat or clarified butter

  • 4 limes, halved

Harissa Butter: 

  • 1 pound unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste (store bought is fine)

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped 

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint

  • ¼ teaspoon cumin

  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. In a large pan or mixing bowl, combine the duck drumettes, garlic, thyme sprigs, 3 tablespoons kosher salt, sugar and chile flakes.  Using your hands (for the best results) mix well, cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. 

  2. To make the harissa butter: combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until thoroughly combined.  Set aside. 

  3. Preheat oven to 250°F. 

  4. In a large dutch oven or deep baking dish, melt down the duck fat over low-medium heat to liquefy, approximately 5 minutes.  Turn off heat. 

  5. Using tongs, gently add the marinated drumettes to the duck fat, making sure they drumettes are fully submerged.  Cover the pot (with lid or cover with aluminum foil) and place in preheated oven. 

  6. Bake for 2½ to 3 hours or until the meat begins to slightly pull away from the bones (you should be able to see a bit of the bone).  Remove from oven and allow to cool before handling.  Reset oven to 450°F. 

  7. Once cooled, remove the drumettes from the fat using tongs and place onto a sheet tray lined with a wire cooling rack. 

  8. Once the oven reaches 450°F, cook the drumettes for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the skin is crispy. 

  9. Preheat a cast iron pan or grill pan over medium heat.  Grill the halved limes flesh side down until slightly charred, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.  Turn off heat and set aside. 

  10. In a large mixing bowl, gently toss the crispy duck drumettes in the softened harissa butter to coat. 

  11. Transfer the coated wings onto a place or serving vessel, drizzle with extra melted harissa butter (leftover from tossing the drumettes) and serve with the grilled limes on the side.

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