The Ultimate Guide to Grilling Perfect BBQ Chicken Wings

Jun 12 , 2023

Samuel Brody

The Ultimate Guide to Grilling Perfect BBQ Chicken Wings


Barbecue chicken wings are a delightful and popular dish loved by many. The combination of smoky flavors, tender meat, and tangy BBQ sauce makes them an absolute crowd-pleaser. Grilling chicken wings to perfection requires some know-how and techniques that can take your BBQ game to the next level. In this ultimate guide, we will explore the step-by-step process of grilling perfect BBQ chicken wings, from preparing the marinade to achieving that irresistible charred finish. Get ready to elevate your grilling skills and impress your guests with mouthwatering BBQ chicken wings!

1. Choosing the Right Chicken Wings

The first step in grilling perfect BBQ chicken wings is selecting the right cut. Opt for fresh, high-quality chicken wings with intact skin. You can choose between whole wings or pre-cut drumettes and flats, depending on your preference. Make sure the wings are evenly sized to ensure even cooking.

2. Preparing the Marinade

Marinating the chicken wings adds depth and flavor to the meat. Prepare a marinade by combining your favorite BBQ sauce, a splash of vinegar or citrus juice, minced garlic, and a touch of sweetness like honey or brown sugar. Add some spices like paprika, cayenne pepper, and black pepper for a kick of heat. Coat the wings in the marinade and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator for enhanced flavor.

3. Preheating the Grill

Before grilling the chicken wings, preheat your grill to medium heat. This ensures even cooking and prevents sticking. If you're using a charcoal grill, wait until the coals are covered with white ash before placing the wings on the grill. For a gas grill, preheat for about 10-15 minutes.

4. Indirect and Direct Grilling

To achieve the perfect texture and juiciness, it's best to use a combination of indirect and direct grilling. Start by placing the wings on the cooler side of the grill, away from direct heat. This allows the wings to cook slowly and evenly without burning. After about 15-20 minutes, move the wings to the hotter side of the grill to get that charred and crispy exterior.

5. Proper Grill Temperature

Maintaining the right grill temperature is crucial for grilling perfect BBQ chicken wings. Keep the grill temperature between 350-400°F (175-200°C). This temperature range ensures that the wings cook through while developing a beautiful caramelized crust. Use a grill thermometer to monitor the temperature accurately.

6. Timing and Flipping

Timing is key when grilling chicken wings. Flip the wings every 5-7 minutes to ensure even cooking and prevent them from sticking to the grill grates. The wings are ready when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) and the juices run clear. This usually takes around 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of the wings and grill temperature.

7. Basting with Sauce

During the last 5-10 minutes of grilling, start basting the chicken wings with additional BBQ sauce. This adds a glossy glaze and intensifies the flavor. Brush the sauce onto the wings and let it caramelize slightly. Be careful not to add the sauce too early, as the sugars in the sauce can burn quickly.

8. Resting and Serving

Once the chicken wings are done, remove them from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in more tender and flavorful wings. Serve the grilled BBQ chicken wings hot with your favorite dipping sauce, celery sticks, and carrot sticks for a classic accompaniment.


In conclusion, mastering the art of grilling perfect BBQ chicken wings is an achievable feat with the right techniques and attention to detail. By selecting high-quality wings, marinating them to enhance flavor, preheating the grill properly, and employing a combination of indirect and direct grilling, you can achieve tender, juicy, and smoky wings with a delectable charred exterior.

Maintaining the grill temperature within the recommended range, flipping the wings at regular intervals, and basting with sauce towards the end of the cooking process all contribute to the overall perfection of the dish. Finally, allowing the wings to rest before serving ensures that the flavors are locked in and the meat remains succulent.

Remember, grilling perfect BBQ chicken wings requires practice and experimentation. Adjust the cooking times and flavorings according to your personal preferences. Don't be afraid to add your own twist to the marinade or try different types of BBQ sauces to create unique and delicious flavor profiles.

Now armed with this ultimate guide, you're ready to impress your family and friends with your grilling prowess. Whether it's a backyard BBQ party, a game-day gathering, or a casual weeknight dinner, serving up a platter of perfectly grilled BBQ chicken wings will undoubtedly make you the hero of any occasion. So fire up the grill, get those wings sizzling, and enjoy the mouthwatering results of your grilling expertise!