These Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings are a summertime entertaining staple at our house. A recipe developed and perfected by my husband Mark, I am so excited to now share it with all of you.
I have to say, in the over 7 years that Tasty Yummies has existed, I cannot believe we’ve never had my husband Mark as a guest contributor here. While I do most of the cooking around here, the grilling duties land nearly exclusively on his shoulders and this man has truly mastered his craft.
These are a low and slow method, so they aren’t a quick throw them on the grill recipe, but this actually makes for a great recipe when entertaining. Our grill is front and center on our large deck, we all gather round with drinks and snacks while Mark tends to his duties. He likes having a job and I love relinquishing some of the cooking control. Don’t rush these, the crispiness and lack of dryness is all thanks to the indirect method Mark developed.
What Beth Says: Mark takes his grilling very seriously and he is always tweaking and adjusting his methods, creating new ways to use old tricks. This grilled chicken wing recipe of his is by far the most popular. Based on the concept of his long-perfected beer can chicken these wings are now legendary and the reputation of these wings might just precede Mark, at this point.
I love this particular recipe for so many reasons. 1) it’s created by the human I love most in this world. DUH! 2) this recipe has afforded me a little more opportunity to actually enjoy dinner guests, especially in the summer months. With most of the cooking generally being my responsibility, with good reason, I usually host dinner and feel like I spend more time preparing and cooking, than I do being able to visit. Now I can craft a few sides, a salad and a dessert and leave the main up to my man! 3) being from Buffalo, I feel like it’s in my DNA to love chicken wings. However I am usually underwhelmed and left feeling crazy gross with almost all restaurant chicken wings, so I just never eat them. I can assume that likely the feeling of hot gut death is because they are submerged in hot, rancid, oxidized garbage vegetable oil. With these grilled wings cooking low and slow, they are crispy, without being dried out and there is not of those horrible, ‘what did I just do?’ feelings in your tummy. 4) We get invited to a lot more BBQs, with the request that we show up and make these. Fair enough!
Thanks for the photo Gustavo Jaimes
What Mark Says: Marky love wingy. They say everything in art is inspired by something else, well at least that’s what I hope they say – because I say it all of the time. The idea for my backyard Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings came from two other works of art. Years ago before Tasty Yummies was the powerhouse it is today, we experimented with the infamous Beer Can Chicken and the Butterflied Chicken (link below), these types of meals gave me a chance to give back to the woman that feeds me everyday and, if we’re being totally honest, looks after my nutrition like hawks fly around roadkill. The grill became my thing, I got good at it and for a food dummy, Tasty Yummies was proud of me.
Living in Buffalo, New York the Buffalo wing is a religion. Nothing beats Anchor Bar wings, the inventor of the Buffalo Wing, well except for La Nova, but that’s a debate that never ends. One day, I was trying to figure out how to re-heat some wings, leftover from a depressing Buffalo Bills game the day before, where we lost our appetite after the destruction. While trying to re-heat these wings I thought of the indirect cooking skills that I had acquired from those previously mentioned chicken recipes. Both recipes made for a delicious crispy pair of chicken wings, so I applied those same techniques to reheating the leftover wings, it worked. Beth even said “They Were Even Better”.
This positive reinforcement got me thinking what if I just made my own wings using my indirect grill skills and applied it to the City of Buffalo’s food icon? Low and behold, that was the day the perfect backyard chicken wing was created. I love making these Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings for friends and family! It’s the perfect amount of hanging and working, which pretty much sums up my life. More specially, it’s a time when I can take over the making of food and give back to the woman who feeds me 90% of the time!
Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings – Three Ways
Lemon Pepper Wings
- lemon pepper seasoning blend*
- fresh lemon juice (and zest, if you have it)
These have become the crowd favorite. Unexpected, a little tart with the subtle heat of the pepper. Since these are all dry-rub style without a sauce, they are maxed out on crispiness potential. The fresh squeeze of lemon juice and zest, if you have it, just before serving – these really set it off!
Add a generous sprinkle of the seasoning blend to the oiled raw wings. Add a little more at the end, since much of it gets lost on the grill, then the fresh lemon juice is your finishing move.
These are a classic, background grill-out staple. I recommend a homemade barbecue sauce so you can control just how sweet it is, most store-bought sauces are loaded with sugar and/or corn syrup. What we love about these are the gentle crystallization that happens with the sugar in the sauce, producing tasty browned bits.
These go on the grill with just olive oil, salt and pepper and the BBQ sauce gets added at the end, this minimizes flare-ups and burns. Add as much or as little as you’d like. Mustardy BBQ sauces are also quiet tasty here, too.
Classic Buffalo Style Wings
- Buffalo-style hot sauce (we recommend straight up Frank’s Original Hot Sauce)
- melted grass-fed butter (ghee or olive oil will also work)
- blue cheese dressing (or ranch dressing, if you wanna be shunned by all Buffalonians)
As former Buffalonians, this is football-season staple in our house. What I love about them is how they are spicy, but not too spicy that you can’t enjoy them. The butter is a classic addition, to the sauce, but you can swap in ghee or olive oil if you cannot tolerate dairy. Just don’t buy pre-made Buffalo sauces, they are crap, with things like “butter-like flavoring” YUCK!
Like the BBQ wings, these go on the grill with just olive oil, salt and pepper and the wing sauce gets added at the end. Again, adding as much or as little as you’d like. A good starting point is 1/4 cup hot sauce with 2 tablespoons of melted grass-fed butter. Adjust as needed for how many wings you are cooking.
- 2-5 lb organic chicken wings, cut into two pieces - drumstick and wing*
- Terra Delyssa Extra Virgin Organic Olive oil
- Course Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Dry rub or seasoning, if using (see above for suggestions)
- Sauces, if using (see above for suggestions)
- Preheat your grill to hot. All the burners. Close the cover to allow to heat up. Rinse and pat dry the wings.
- Drizzle the wings with olive oil and coat evenly on all sides.
- Season with sea salt and black pepper.
- Evenly sprinkle the wings with dry rub or seasoning, if using (adjust salt as needed)
- Turn off center two burners (or 1, depending on grill). Leave outside burners set to hot. Place wings on the hot grill over center burners (that should be off) and/or on top shelf rack. Note the wings on the top rack will cook faster. Close the grill.
- At no time should the wings ever be over direct heat/flame. We are indirect cooking them.
- Check the wings at 15 minutes, just to be sure there are no wings too close to the direct flame, you can move around as needed if some get more heat, but don't flip yet. At this point the wings should still look somewhat pale, but not raw.
- Check again at 30 minutes. At this point the top of the wings should have a nice, very light brown color. Flip all the wings over, the bottoms should be golden brown. Any wing that you can't pick up (stuck to the grill still) these may need another 5 minutes or so.
- Check the wings at 45 minutes. Just to be sure nothing is getting too much heat. Swap any around as needed, if some are getting too much.
- At 1 hour, have a medium sized bowl ready. Remove the wings in groups of 4-8. Place into the bowl and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Add any seasoning or sauces. Shake well to coat.
- Place the coated wings on the top rack. If your grill doesn't have a top rack, place back in the center of the grill where the burners are off. Continue with remaining wings until all are sauced/seasoned and added back to the grill.
- If all the wings are on the top rack turn on all burners to high. (If not, leave offthe burners where the wings are) close the cover and in increments of 3-5 minutes, check the wings you are cooking until desired crispness is achieved. Remove from the grill, season as needed and serve.
We have our butcher leave the wing tip on the two piece wing bone, because Mark loves the crispiness.
The amount of wings that you can cook at once will depend on your grill size, as you can't load up and crowd the grill with this cooking method. We find that 5lbs is the max on our standard sized-grill. This is with some wings on the top rack and some on the center of the grill.
Lemon Pepper Wing: when the wings come off the grill to be served, we add a little fresh lemon juice and zest.