How to Perfectly Grill Wings at Home
You can fry, you can bake, but there is something to be said about grilled wings. Not to mention, it is an easy dinner to throw together. While the history of wings might be somewhat debated, wings are all around a delicious meal. So grab your tongs and get ready to learn how to perfectly grill wings at home.
Step 1. Clean Your Grill & Get it Started
Honestly, this should also be the last step too. When you make time to clean it after you cook, it makes using it the next time even easier. However, make sure it’s cool before you scrub it down with a wire brush. When in doubt, check your manufacture’s directions.
Once you are done cleaning it, let’s oil it up. Grease up your grates with oil and put it on medium heat. This is key. Many times people want to put it on high but that isn’t how you are going to cook perfectly grilled wings. Start low until you add the chicken wings then bump it up to medium. But don’t go high. Also, let’s not skip ahead yet, because we aren’t ready to add the chicken wings until…
Step 2. Prep Your Wings
Now a lot of people use a sauce or thing you need to marinate them, you don’t. Actually, for good wings, we want to wait on the sauce. Also, a marinate usually doesn’t do much if you are using a sauce – it will be overpowered. On top of it all, it makes the cooking time longer if you need time to marinade. So we way, skip it.
Instead, season your wings. Think dry rubs, spices, herbs, etc. Number one mistake is only using salt and pepper. It’s the foundation, sure, but you need a lot more to perfectly grill wings. Try mixing it up with paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, cayenne, lemon zest, or our favorite, Old Bay! Get adventurous, but don’t be boring.
Step 3. Get to Grilling
Now it’s time to add the wings! Add the wings to the racks and close the grill. Remember, keep it at medium heat. A good trick to tell the heat with charcoal grills is holding your hand about 5-6 inches above the cooking grate. If you can keep it there for about 5-7 second comfortably, that is about medium heat. Please bee careful and use your best judgment when doing this.
You’ll want to use those tongs to turn the wings occasionally until they turn golden. A good tip is to leave some burners off or an area that isn’t as hot. Wings can cook at different rates depending on size. It will take about 25-30 minutes to cook the wings. If you have a thermometer, check a few at the center to make sure they’ve reached an internal temperature of 165ºF. Try checking them about 15-18 minutes in to be on the safe side and not overcook.
Step 4: Sauce Them Up
No matter what the sauce, it really only matters on when you need to sauces. However, there are two schools of thought:
- Take them off, and toss them.
- Baste the wings on the grill.
Neither is wrong, but here are our two cents. For #1, make sure you start doing this about 15 minutes into cooking. You don’t want to do it too soon or you can burn the wings. Also, you need to take into consideration the sugar content of your sauce. The more sugar, the more likely they will char. Keep a close eye and move them off direct heat if you think they are cooking too quickly.
For #2, a lot of people prefer this way. It is quicker and needs less attention on the grill. Also, you can avoid burning them. Just make sure you heat your sauce up first. You don’t want the sauce to cool off your wings too much. No matter what you decided, again, just make sure your chicken is cooked completely through before adding the sauce.
Step 5: Enjoy
Plate them up. Grab some extra sauce, your favorite dressing, and dig in. Even get some carrots and celery too. Sticking to this simple but specific plan will help you to perfectly grilled wings time and time again. We also have suggestions on other summer BBQ recipes to try. Make sure to check out our blog on how to grill the perfect steak as well. And if you just feel like taking the night off from cooking, you can always get your BBQ fix at Adam’s. We have a wing of the week on our Daily Specials and quite a few options on our regular menu. We look forward to seeing you!