How to Grill Chicken Wings: Mastering the Art of Grilling

How to Grill Chicken Wings

If you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing, flavor-packed dish, grilled chicken wings are the answer. However, achieving crispy, juicy wings can be challenging if you don’t know the right grilling techniques. As a professional copywriting journalist, I’ve honed my skills in the kitchen and on the grill, and I’m excited to share my secrets with you.

Key Takeaways:

  • Grilling perfect chicken wings requires proper preparation and technique
  • Choosing high-quality chicken wings and creating a delicious marinade are essential for flavorful results
  • Proper preheating and setup of your grill is crucial for even cooking
  • Monitoring the temperature and timing your wings are important factors for achieving juicy, crispy wings
  • With the right tools and techniques, you can enjoy delicious grilled chicken wings year-round

Choosing and Prepping the Chicken Wings

Before firing up the grill, selecting the right chicken wings and prepping them correctly is key to achieving the best results. Here’s a quick rundown on how to do it right:

Choosing the Best Chicken Wings

The key to succulent, perfectly grilled chicken wings is to start with high-quality meat. Look for wings that are plump and meaty with smooth, unblemished skin. Avoid wings that are slimy, discolored, or have strong odors. You can also choose between conventional or organic chicken wings, depending on your preference.

Prepping the Chicken Wings

Once you have your chicken wings, it’s time to prep them for the grill. Begin by rinsing them under cold water and patting them dry with paper towels. Then, remove the wing tips and use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to separate the wings at the joint. You can choose to leave the drumettes and flats attached or separate them further if you prefer.

For extra crispy skin, sprinkle the chicken wings with a light dusting of baking powder, which will help draw out moisture and create a nice sear. Then, season the wings with your favorite dry rub or marinade (we’ll get into that in Section 3) and let them sit in the fridge for at least an hour before grilling. This will allow the seasonings to penetrate the meat and infuse it with flavor.

Choosing and Prepping the Best Chicken Wings

Choosing the Best Chicken WingsLook for plump, meaty wings with smooth skinAvoid wings that are slimy, discolored, or have strong odorsChoose between conventional or organic chicken wings
Prepping the Chicken WingsRinse the wings under cold water and pat dry with paper towelsRemove wing tips and separate wings at the jointDust wings with baking powder for extra crispy skinSeason with rub or marinade and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour before grilling

Creating a Delicious Marinade

A mouthwatering marinade can transform everyday chicken wings into a flavor-packed meal. Whether you prefer spicy, smoky, or sweet, there’s a marinade that will suit your taste buds.

Here are three of my favorite marinades for grilled chicken wings:

Spicy Garlic1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Lemon Pepper1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt
Honey Mustard1/4 cup Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/4 teaspoon paprika

When marinating your chicken, it’s important to give it enough time to absorb the flavors. For best results, marinate your wings in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours for maximum flavor.

Make sure to pat your wings dry before grilling to avoid flare-ups and uneven cooking.

TIP: Reserve a small amount of marinade to brush onto your wings during grilling to add an extra burst of flavor.

Preheating and Setting Up the Grill

Before you start grilling your chicken wings, it’s essential to preheat and set up your grill correctly. Whether you have a gas or charcoal grill, the process is similar.

If you’re using a gas grill:

  1. Turn on all the burners to high and close the lid
  2. Allow the grates to heat up for approximately 10-15 minutes
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low for cooking your chicken wings
  4. Oil the grates with a high smoke point oil such as canola or vegetable oil to prevent the chicken wings from sticking

If you’re using a charcoal grill:

  1. Add charcoal to the chimney starter, and ignite using the starter cubes or kindling
  2. Once the charcoal is ashed over (gray), use tongs to arrange them into a two-zone fire, a hot side for cooking, and the cooler side for indirect cooking
  3. Oil the grates with a high smoke point oil such as canola or vegetable oil to prevent the chicken wings from sticking

Proper preheating will ensure your grill is at the ideal temperature for cooking your chicken wings, resulting in a tasty, crispy end product.

Grilling Techniques for Chicken Wings

Grilling chicken wings isn’t just about putting them on the grill and waiting for them to cook. It requires specific techniques to ensure even cooking and delicious results. Here are my top tips for achieving juicy, flavorful wings with the perfect amount of char:

1. Direct and Indirect Heat

One of the most important grilling techniques for chicken wings is using a combination of direct and indirect heat. Start by placing the wings on the hottest part of the grill, directly over the flames. Sear them on both sides until they start to develop a crispy crust. Then move them to the cooler part of the grill, away from the flames, to finish cooking. This allows the wings to cook through without burning on the outside.

2. Basting

Basting your chicken wings as they cook can add extra flavor and keep them moist. Mix up a quick marinade or use your favorite barbecue sauce and apply it to the wings every few minutes, using a brush or spray bottle. This helps to prevent the wings from drying out while also adding extra layers of flavor.

3. Patience

Grilling chicken wings can take some time, so it’s important to be patient and not rush the process. The wings should be cooked all the way through, with an internal temperature of 165°F. If they’re not quite done, keep them on the grill for a few more minutes. If they’re overdone, they’ll be dry and tough.

By using these grilling techniques, you can achieve chicken wings that are crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and packed with flavor. So fire up the grill and get ready to enjoy some delicious wings!

Monitoring the Temperature

Grilling chicken wings requires precise temperature control to ensure the meat is cooked through without being dry. The ideal temperature range for grilled chicken wings is between 165°F to 175°F.

To achieve this temperature range, you will need a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the wing, being careful not to touch the bone as it can give an inaccurate reading. Once the meat thermometer reaches the ideal temperature, your chicken wings are ready!

Perfect Timing for Grilling Chicken Wings

Timing is crucial when it comes to grilling chicken wings. The key to achieving perfectly cooked wings that are juicy and flavorful is in knowing how long to grill them for.

How Long to Grill Chicken Wings on Charcoal Grill?

When grilling chicken wings on a charcoal grill, the cooking time will depend on the heat of your coals. Wait until the coals have turned gray and are glowing, and then spread them out evenly across the bottom of the grill. Place the wings on the grill directly over the heat and cook for 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally. The wings are done when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (73°C).

How Long to Grill Chicken Wings?

The cooking time for grilling chicken wings on a gas grill is also around 20-25 minutes. Preheat your grill to high heat and place the wings on the grates directly over the flame. Close the lid and cook, turning occasionally, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (73°C).

Grilling MethodCook Time
Charcoal Grill20-25 minutes
Gas Grill20-25 minutes
Oven25-30 minutes

Remember to always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the wings to ensure they’re cooked through but not overdone. With these cook times and methods, you’ll be grilling up mouthwatering chicken wings in no time.

Achieving Crispy Skin

When it comes to grilled chicken wings, achieving that perfect crunch is key to delivering a memorable taste experience. Here are my techniques for making sure your wings are crispy every time.

The Secret Behind Crispy Skin

Before you begin grilling, make sure you dry off your chicken wings thoroughly with paper towels. Moisture on the surface of the wings can interfere with the development of crispy skin.

Next, brush your wings with a thin layer of oil, such as canola or vegetable oil. The oil will help to enhance browning and give your wings a golden, crispy finish.

As you grill your wings, don’t move them around too much – this will give the skin time to crisp up on its own. Check on the wings occasionally to make sure they’re not burning, and adjust the heat as needed.

Flavorful Additions

If you want to add even more flavor to your crispy chicken wings, consider tossing them in a dry spice mix or seasoning blend after they come off the grill. Coating the wings in your favorite dry seasoning while they’re still hot will help the spices to stick and impart extra flavor and texture.

Another option is to glaze your wings with your favorite sauce just before they’re finished cooking on the grill. A sticky, sweet glaze can add depth and complexity to your flavor profile and make your wings even more irresistible.

Grilling Chicken Wings Indoors

If you don’t have access to an outdoor grill, you can still enjoy delicious grilled chicken wings by using your oven. While it won’t produce the same smoky flavor as grilling outside, it’s a great alternative when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Below are the steps to follow to get perfectly cooked chicken wings using your oven.


  • 2 lbs chicken wings, tips removed and separated at the joint
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the chicken wings with olive oil, salt, and pepper until well coated.
  3. Arrange the chicken wings in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip the wings and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  5. If you want crispier skin, broil the wings for 1-2 minutes after baking until they are browned to your liking.
  6. Remove the wings from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.

By following these instructions, you can enjoy delicious, perfectly cooked grilled chicken wings without ever leaving your kitchen. Whether you’re grilling indoors or out, the key to success is to keep a close eye on your wings and pull them off the grill or out of the oven just as they reach the ideal internal temperature. Enjoy!

Serving and Enjoying Your Grilled Chicken Wings

Congratulations! Your delicious grilled chicken wings are ready to be served and enjoyed. Here are some recipes and serving suggestions to make your wings the star of any meal or gathering.

Grilled Chicken Wings Recipe


  • 2 lbs. chicken wings
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. paprika
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. black pepper


  1. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
  2. Place the chicken wings in a large bowl and pour the marinade over them, making sure each wing is coated.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.
  4. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  5. Remove the chicken wings from the marinade and discard any excess marinade.
  6. Grill the wings for 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until crispy and golden brown.
  7. Remove the wings from the grill and let them cool for a few minutes before serving.
  8. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

Grilled chicken wings are a versatile dish that can be served as a snack or a main course. Here are some suggestions:

“These chicken wings are the perfect addition to any summer barbecue. Serve them with a side of potato salad and corn on the cob for a classic American meal.”

If you’re looking for a more adventurous serving suggestion, try Korean-style wings:

“Brush the wings with a mixture of soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger, and grill until crispy. Serve with a side of pickled vegetables for a flavorful twist on traditional wings.”


Grilling chicken wings can seem daunting, but with the right tools and techniques, it’s a breeze. Remember to choose high-quality wings and prep them properly before marinating and grilling. Proper preheating and setup of your grill is also key to achieving those crispy, juicy wings we all love.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the internal temperature and cooking time, as overcooking can result in dry meat. And of course, don’t skip out on achieving that crispy skin!

Whether you’re grilling indoors or out, there are plenty of delicious recipes and serving suggestions to take your chicken wings to the next level. So what are you waiting for? Get grilling and enjoy the tasty results!


How do I choose and prepare chicken wings for grilling?

When selecting chicken wings for grilling, opt for high-quality wings with ample meat. To prepare them, rinse the wings and pat them dry. Remove any excess fat and season them with salt, pepper, and any desired spices or marinade.

What are some flavorful marinade recipes for grilled chicken wings?

There are endless marinade options for grilled chicken wings, such as teriyaki, buffalo, honey mustard, and lemon pepper. Experiment with different combinations of spices, oils, and acids to create a marinade that suits your taste preferences.

How do I properly preheat and set up my grill for grilling chicken wings?

For a gas grill, preheat it to medium-high heat and oil the grates to prevent sticking. If using a charcoal grill, arrange the charcoal in a two-zone fire, with coals on one side for direct heat and the other side for indirect heat. Allow the grill to preheat for about 10-15 minutes.

What are some techniques for grilling chicken wings to perfection?

To achieve juicy and flavorful wings, start by searing the wings over direct heat for a few minutes on each side to develop a crispy exterior. Then, move them to indirect heat to finish cooking them through. Basting with marinade or sauce throughout the grilling process can also add flavor and moisture.

At what temperature should I grill chicken wings?

Grill chicken wings at a medium-high heat, around 400-425°F (200-220°C). This allows them to cook through while developing a nice char on the outside. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).

How long should I grill chicken wings?

The cooking time for chicken wings on the grill varies depending on factors like the size of the wings and the grilling method. As a general guideline, grill small wings for about 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, while larger wings may take 25-30 minutes or more.

How can I achieve crispy skin on grilled chicken wings?

To get crispy skin, make sure the grill is preheated and the wings are patted dry before grilling. Searing them over direct heat and basting with oil or melted butter can also help achieve a crispy exterior.

Can I grill chicken wings in the oven?

Yes, you can grill chicken wings in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and place the wings on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, turning once, until the wings are cooked through and crispy.

Do you have any tasty recipes for grilled chicken wings?

Absolutely! Check out our website for a variety of delicious recipes, including honey sriracha wings, garlic parmesan wings, and spicy barbecue wings. These recipes will take your grilled chicken wings to the next level.

Any tips for serving and enjoying grilled chicken wings?

Serve your grilled chicken wings with dipping sauces, such as ranch, blue cheese, or barbecue sauce, on the side. They pair well with crispy fries, coleslaw, or a fresh salad. Enjoy them as a main course, appetizer, or game-day snack!

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