Many years ago, when I was a cross-country runner in college on Long Island, our team had a Tuesday tradition: After an especially hard workout, we would go to a place called Big Barry's in Lake Grove and eat as many Buffalo BBQ wings as we possibly could.
Why Tuesday? That was the night when each wing cost only 13 cents.
The Best BBQ Wings of My Life
Now I've eaten thousands of Buffalo wings before and since, but none were like Big Barry's. I swear they had to be either roasted or grilled because Barry's wings were crisp and charred and very much not like those nasty, pallid fried things you get in most of the country.
Amazing what a slight difference in a cooking method can do for a humble dish.
I loved these BBQ wings. Loved them. So much so that one day, after an unusually tough workout (and not a few beers), I decided to pick up the gauntlet that Barry's threw down at every customer who walked in the door: Eat enough wings to get your name on the Plaque of Honor and your whole table eats free. No problemo, I thought.
How Many Grilled Chicken Wings Can You Eat?
Because Barry's wings were barbecued (or roasted, I was never sure), and they could be ordered with sauce on the side, I had routinely eaten dozens at a sitting. I started with 25 wings, which went down easy. Another few Pabst Blue Ribbons and I was on to my second 25. Again, easy-peasy.
It was the final 25 that got me. Mind you, as a cross country runner I weighed maybe 140 pounds. The last dude who got his name on the plaque was a fireman from Middle Island who was 6'7" and weighed four bills, easy.
I hit a wall when I got to 60 wings. At the urging of my teammates (screaming, more like, because they didn't want to pay their bar tab), I managed to choke down another 7 wings before I gave up.
Don't Eat 100 BBQ Wings, but Make Plenty
Did I make it? Not even close, the waitress said, smiling sweetly. "Good try, though, especially since you're so skinny, but you'd need to eat another 40 wings to get on the board."
The thought of eating another 40 wings made me want to hurl, so we paid up and left as soon as we could.
This grilled chicken wings recipe is as close to Big Barry's BBQ wings as I've been able to make. They go down real easy, so make more than you think you'll need. But I'd advise stopping before you hit 100, OK?
Watch This Grilled BBQ Buffalo Wings Recipe
What Chicken Wings to Buy
Buy whole chicken wings for this recipe: wings with the tip, the flat, and the drumette. Whole wings are cheaper than pre-separated wings, and breaking them down yourself is easy!
How Break Down Chicken Wings
Here's how to break down those wings once you're back home:
- Wiggle the joint where the wing tip connects to the flat. With a chef's knife or kitchen shears, cut right through the middle of this joint.
- Do the same with the joint connecting the flat and the drumette. Cut right down the middle to separate.
READ MORE: How to Break Down Chicken Wings
Make Your Own Buffalo Sauce
We're making our own Buffalo sauce for this recipe! It's a simple mix of butter, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sugar.
This sauce comes together in minutes, but it's fine to use store-bought sauce if you want to save some time.
If you want another way to make Buffalo wings, try our recipe for oven-baked Buffalo wings!
How to Grill Chicken Wings
This is not a quick-cooking wing recipe; grill these wings low and slow over indirect heat on your grill. This will take at least an hour—longer is even better if you can stand to wait!
You might think all this grilling will result in tough, overcooked wings, but never fear. Your reward for all time at the grill is meat so tender that it practically falls off the bone, with every bite infused with smoky, spicy flavor.
PRO PARTY PLANNING TIP! If you're throwing a party, get these started before your guests arrive so you can greet them with the first wings off the grill.
Love Chicken Wings? Try These Recipes!
- Bourbon Maple Glazed Chicken Wings
- Slow Cooker Honey Buffalo Chicken Wings
- Cacio e Pepe Chicken Wings
- Honey Mustard Chicken Wings
- Miso Glazed Chicken Wings
Grilled Buffalo Wings
We like to make our own Buffalo wing sauce, but you could use a store-bought one if you are pressed for time.
In this Buffalo chicken wings recipe, we are using a grill to mimic the low and slow cooking of barbecue. If the temp is too high, the wings will cook more quickly than indicated here. We are trying to achieve a low cooking temperature so that the wings cook slowly.
For the sauce:
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/4 cup hot sauce, such as Crystal, Texas Pete, or Tabasco
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
For the wings:
3 pounds chicken wings
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Make the Buffalo sauce:
Mix all of the ingredients together in a small pot set over low heat and stir constantly until the butter melts. Do not let it boil.
Once the butter melts, whisk the sauce vigorously off the heat and set aside. It should remain liquid throughout the cooking process. If it starts to solidify, heat it up just enough to melt it, whisking all the time.
Cut the wings into parts:
If you have whole chicken wings, you'll want to cut them into parts. (Here's How to Break Down Chicken Wings.)
Using a sturdy chef's knife or poultry shears, cut off the wing tips and either discard or reserve (we usually freeze) for making chicken stock. Then use your knife or shears to separate the drumettes from the flats (the mid-joint wings).
Heat the grill:
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for low, indirect cooking. 250°F is a good temperature to shoot for, although even as high as 300°F will work. The goal is to slowly grill the wings and let some of the fat render out.
Grill the wings:
Toss the wings with the vegetable oil and the salt, and arrange in one layer on the grill set over indirect low heat. If you are using charcoal or wood, it will be very difficult to do this, so set your fire on one side of the grill and arrange the wings on the other side, away from the direct heat.
You want them to cook slowly, with little or no sizzle. Cover the grill and cook like this for 30 minutes.
Baste the wings and continue grilling:
Turn the wings and paint with the Buffalo wing sauce. Close the grill and cook for another 30 minutes. Repeat the process, until the wings are done to your liking, this time painting the wings every 15 minutes or so. Make sure you have a little leftover sauce to toss the wings with at the end.
Toss the chicken wings in the leftover sauce and transfer to a serving platter. Serve immediately while warm.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 75g||96%|
|Saturated Fat 30g||148%|
|Total Carbohydrate 25g||9%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||5%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 15mg||77%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|