Everyone loves finger food and when you’re planning to get the grill out, there’s nothing better food than chicken wings.
Instead of grilling plain chicken wings, we’ve listed 10 recipes for you that will add flavor and texture to the humble wing.
For the recipes in the following pages you can use fresh or frozen chicken wings. If you choose to use frozen wings, just make sure they’re defrosted thoroughly before cooking.
Useful Tools for Grilling Wings
To successfully grill wings, you don’t need much beyond your usual grilling tools and kitchen utensils.
But there are a few things you can use to make life easier.
A decent thermometer will allow you to measure the temperature of the grill, which is important when using a charcoal grill.
Charcoal grills do not have thermostats or controls and it can be tricky to get the heat correct.
It’s also worth investing in a meat thermometer to check that your chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Use a pair of heat-proof gloves when you’re grilling to protect your hands from the heat. A sauce mop is also useful for basting wings while they are on the grill.
10 Recipes for Grilled Chicken Wings
The following ten recipes are reasonably easy to follow and all of the ingredients are readily available.
They’re also tasty, quick, and bound to go down well with your guests.
Sticky Grilled Chicken Wings
These chicken wings are a classic grill favorite and are so easy to prepare and cook.
There’s no polite way to eat them, it’s simply a case of picking them up and getting messy. They taste amazing off the grill and they’re just as good as a cold snack.
This recipe will serve 2 to 4 people. The grill needs to be nice and hot before you start to cook.
Rinse the chicken wings in cold water and pat them dry with a paper napkin to get rid of any excess moisture.
Mix the sugar, salt, pepper, garlic, paprika and cayenne pepper together. Then, toss your wings in this spice mix.
Place the seasoned wings on the grill and cook for 30–40 minutes. You can turn the wings after 20 minutes, unless you’re smoking them, in which case they can be left.
Mix the butter, BBQ sauce, honey, ketchup and hot sauce in a large bowl until all the ingredients are combined.
When the wings are cooked, remove them from the grill and coat them generously with the sauce.
Place the wings back on the grill for 5–10 minutes or until the sauce begins to sizzle and bubble before serving.
Spicy Grilled Chicken Wings
If you like your food to have a bit of a kick this is a must-try recipe and it’s one of the simplest out there.
It takes a few minutes to prepare and cook and you can tailor the heat to your own tastes.
These wings are best done on a charcoal or gas grill that’s been preheated to medium to high heat.
Season the chicken wings with the garlic powder and place on the grill for approximately 15 minutes, or until they start to get some color. Brush with the hot sauce every 5 minutes and turn the wings regularly.
When the chicken is cooked, the sauce should have a shiny glaze. Plate up the wings and top with the sliced onion.
If you need an extra kick, try adding some jalapeno peppers just before serving or use a hot chilli dipping sauce.
Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings
If you have a pellet grill, this recipe is perfect as you’re going to bake the wings to get them crispy, rather than grill them. As well as the ingredients, you’re able to choose your favorite woods to add some extra flavor.
In order to get the crispy skin you’ll need to get the grill very hot, at least 350 degrees Fahrenheit or more if your grill allows it.
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and coat each chicken wing in the dry rub until they’re all completely covered. If you’re using a pellet grill, place the wings directly on the rack and close the lid for 20–30 minutes. If you’re using a charcoal or gas grill, it’s better to wrap the wings in foil before grilling.
Regularly brush the wings with BBQ or hot sauce until they’re fully cooked, crispy and coated in a crust.
Salt and Vinegar Chicken Wings
If you like salt and vinegar chips then you’ll adore these chicken wings, with their moreish flavor. The wings are a perfect accompaniment to a few cold beers on a hot summer’s night.
Place the chicken wings in a resealable plastic bag and set to one side while you make the marinade.
Combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly to make sure that the salt has dissolved. Draw off ½ cup of the marinade and set aside to use for basting. Pour the remaining marinade into the bag with the wings and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
Prepare a charcoal grill and get the temperature to around 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the wings on the grill and turn them occasionally to get an even color. After 30 minutes, baste the wings with your leftover marinade and repeat after 20 minutes.
A few minutes after that, baste the wings for a final time and then leave them to grill for around 45–60 minutes, or until they’re crispy. When the wings are golden brown and crispy, you can serve them with your favorite dipping sauce.
Chinese-Style Grilled Chicken Wings
These Chinese-inspired chicken wings taste great and they’re perfect for cooking on a charcoal grill. There is a little preparation to be done but the amazing flavors are worth the work.
Separate each wing into a drumstick and wing portion and skewer each piece lengthwise. Season the chicken with the black pepper and wrap in film before refrigerating overnight.
Put all of the remaining ingredients in a blender and blitz until you have a smooth sauce. Place the sauce in a pan and simmer before setting aside.
Heat the grill up to temperature, for best results you should be aiming for 400–450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grill the wings for approximately 45 minutes, over an indirect heat so that they don’t burn.
Bring the sauce back to a simmer and coat each piece of chicken with a generous amount. Return the wings to the grill over a direct heat and cook for 4–5 minutes, making sure you flip them every minute. When the wings are brown and glazed, they are ready to serve.
Smoky Cajun Chicken Wings
If you have a smoker or a pellet grill, these Cajun wings taste great when they take on a smoky flavor.
For the best results, use apple hardwood to produce a mild smoke that adds a little sweetness.
Make a dry rub by mixing the baking powder, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, thyme, cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper.
Rinse the chicken wings in cold water and dry off with a paper towel before covering each one with the dry rub. Make sure each wing is evenly coated to get maximum flavor.
Spread the wings out on a grill rack and cover with aluminum foil. Leave in the refrigerator overnight.
When you’re ready to grill the wings, get the grill smoking and place the rack of wings in the grill for 30 minutes with the lid closed. Increase the temperature of the grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and roast the wings for 45 minutes.
When the wings are cooked, remove them from the grill, and place them in a bowl. Pour on the hot sauce and the Worcestershire sauce. Make sure all wings are coated and you’re ready to serve.
Thai Grilled Chicken Wings
If you like Thai food, this recipe for grilled wings is perfect for you and they’re so easily made. Thai food is known for being easy to make and very tasty, and it’s even better when it has a spicy kick.
Set one of the green onions aside and chop up the other four onions. Place the chicken wings in a large resealable plastic bag. Put all of the remaining ingredients in the bag and move the wings around until they’re all coated. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Set the grill to a medium heat. Remove the wings from the bag, making sure to keep the marinade to one side. Grill the wings on the rack for 20 minutes and baste regularly with the marinade.
Turn the wings often and cook for a further 20–30 minutes, coat with the marinade when necessary. Remove the wings from the grill, chop the remaining green onion to garnish the wings, before serving.
Citrus Chicken Wings
These chicken wings take on a lemony flavor, which is perfect if you’re grilling on a summer evening. The combination of the charcoal smoke and the refreshing lemon gives the wings a mouth-watering flavor. If you’re not a fan of lemon, you can replace it with orange juice.
Mix the salt, sugar and water to make a brine and put the chicken wings in a large resealable bag. Pour on the brine, seal the bag and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Remove the wings from the bag and throw away the brine. Place the wings on the grill but not directly over the heat, and grill them slowly.
While the wings are on the grill, take the garlic and sprinkle on a little salt and mix to form a paste. Heat the olive oil and garlic in a pan until you get a nice aroma from the garlic. Remove the oil and garlic from the heat and pour into a bowl before adding the lemon (or orange) juice.
When the wings have been on the grill for around 40 minutes, take them off, coat them in the citrus sauce and return them to the grill. Baste the wings with the lemon sauce until the wings are cooked, and serve.
Mexicana Chicken Wings
These spice-crusted wings have a fiery kick and are a good choice if you like your wings hot and spicy.
Inspired by the flavors of Mexico, these wings make great party snacks and appetizers.
Take the chicken wings and cut them into 3 sections, making sure you get rid of the wing tip. Rinse the pieces of chicken in cold water then pat dry with a paper towel and set aside.
Place all of the remaining ingredients in a resealable plastic bag and shake well until everything is combined. Place the wings in the bag and shake again until all of the chicken pieces are coated.
Remove the wings from the bag and place them on the grill over a medium heat. Grill them slowly. Turn the wings every 10–15 minutes taking care not to remove any of the spicy coating. A good tip to avoid the coating sticking to the rack is to oil it beforehand.
Check the wings with a thermometer, or use a skewer to check whether the juices run clear. When the wings are cooked, serve them with either a spicy dip or a cooling one. A crunchy salad goes well on the side.
Tandoori Grilled Chicken Wings
Traditional Indian cooking is done over charcoal in a tandoor oven and you can recreate this with your grill.
These aromatic wings are always a hit and they taste great, hot or cold. You can serve these as snacks or as a starter before an Indian curry.
Split the chicken wings and remove the tips before placing all of the chicken pieces in a large bowl.
Set the whole lemon to one side and put all the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blitz until smooth. Pour the mixture over the chicken wings, cover with film and marinate overnight so that the chicken takes on the flavors.
Heat up your grill. You’re aiming for a medium to high heat to get some charred flavors into the chicken. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place them on the rack. Grill for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, turn the wings and, if any of the marinade has fallen away, you can baste with the mixture.
Grill the wings for a further 30 minutes or until the skin is nice and crispy. Serve the wings with a salad and garnish with wedges of lemon, and some fresh green chilli if you like it spicy.
Whether you try one or all of the recipes above, your taste buds will thank you. Trust me, chicken wings will never have tasted so good.
You can also try experimenting with your own rubs and sauces to create new flavors.
Use different grills if you can, to add another dimension to your outdoor cooking. It’s also worth exploring the world of smoking to add even more flavors to your grilled chicken wings.