Grilled chicken wings are pure joy. It’s a very easy way to cook wings and the result is crispy skin, tender and juicy meat inside, and delicious smokey flavor throughout. Season the wings simply with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder and then dip it in your favorite sauce when cooked.
GRILLED CHICKEN WINGS
The only thing that can rival chicken wings off the grill is smoked chicken wings. Smoking does take quite a bit longer so if you’re in a mood for some wings fast, grilling is the way to go. It will take only about 20 minutes to grill them and a few minutes to prepare the grill. For a big backyard barbecue bash, grilled wings is the way to go.
I like to season my wings simply, especially when there will be several sauce options for dipping. You don’t want to overwhelm wings with seasoning and then combine that with sauce. So I use simple flavor enhancing seasoning mix of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. All four are mild in taste and bring out the flavor of the chicken. None of them will interfere with any sauces either.
When the wings are cooked and ready, I prefer to leave them without sauce. Why do I not toss my wings in sauce? There are two reasons. First of all, when wings come off the grill they are beautifully crispy on the outside and if you coat them in sauce, the skin will be soft within minutes. So if you won’t be eating them super fast, you run the risk of a soggy skin.
Second reason mostly pertains to parties. When I make a ton of wings for several people to enjoy, I also serve an array of sauces. So I leave wings naked that way everyone can choose their own sauce for dipping.
Coals: briquettes or lump coal
Grill temperature: medium: 350°-450° (1/2-3/4 filled chimney)
Placement on the grill: direct heat but build a two-zone fire just in case the outside is charring too fast and you need to move the wings over to the cool side.
Wood if desired: hickory, oak, pecan
HOW TO BREAK DOWN CHICKEN WINGS
You can buy chicken wings that are already broken down into drumettes and flats or get whole wings and break it down yourself.
Chicken wing consists of three parts: drumette, wingette (flat), and a tip. Drumette is the part of the wing that looks like the leg drum and is the part that is attached to the body. Wingette is the middle, flat part of the wing. The tip is the very end of the wings and it generally gets discarded.
To breakdown the wings:
First, pull the wing apart to clearly see the joints where each part is attached.
Then, make a cut through the skin and meat between the drumette and the flat, right to the joint. Use your hands to pop the bone out of the joint and cut through the remaining meat and skin to separate the wing.
Finally, do the same at the joint of the tip and the flat. Discard the tips.
HOW TO GRILL CHICKEN WINGS
Seasoning on these wings is very simple so it doesn’t clash with any sauces. (If you do want to make some dry rubbed chicken wings and serve without sauce, I urge you to try my Dry Rub.) All you need for these wings is:
Pat the wings dry with a paper towel and place the wings in a mixing bowl. Drizzle oil over the wings and toss them to coat. Sprinkle in seasonings and toss to coat the wings evenly.
Start the coals and build a two-zone fire when coals are ready. (Or set your gas grill to medium (400°-425°).) Close the lid and let the grill preheat for about 10 minutes. Make sure the grill grate is clean and seasoned.
Place wings on the side directly over coals and grill them for about 20 minutes, turning them over and moving every 4-5 minutes so they don’t get too charred. Use meat thermometer to check if wings are ready. Insert towards the center, near the bone. Wings should be cooked to 165°. (If the wings are getting charred on all sides but aren’t ready yet, move them over to the warm side, over indirect heat, to finish cooking.)
SAUCES TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN WINGS
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Grilled Chicken Wings
- 2 lbs chicken wings
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tsp salt (more or less if you prefer)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Pat the wings dry with a paper towel and place them in a mixing bowl.
- Drizzle oil over the wings and toss them to coat. Sprinkle in seasonings and toss to coat the wings evenly.
- Start the coals and build a two-zone fire when coals are ready. (Or set your gas grill to medium (400°-425°).) Close the lid and let the grill preheat for about 10 minutes. Make sure the grill grate is clean and seasoned.
- Place wings on the side directly over coals and grill them for 18-20 minutes, turning them over and moving every 4-5 minutes so they don’t get too charred. Use meat thermometer to check if wings are ready. Insert towards the center, in the thickest part near the bone. Wings should cooked to 165°.
- (If the wings are getting charred on all sides but aren’t ready yet, move them over to the warm side, over indirect heat, to finish cooking.)