BBQ Grilled Chicken Wings

We like to make our own BBQ wings sauce, but you could use a store-bought one if you are pressed for time.

In this grilled chicken wings recipe we are using a grill to mimic the low and slow cooking of a 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.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 1-12, depending on your appetite


  • 3 pounds chicken wings
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons or 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 12 tablespoons hot sauce (Crystal, Texas Pete, Tabasco, etc)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


1 Make the 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.

2 Cut whole 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).

How to make BBQ Wings - Wing Meat Preparing chicken wings for grilled chicken wings recipepreparing chicken for grilled buffalo wings Chicken meat for grilled chicken wings recipe

3 Heat the grill: Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for low, indirect cooking.

4 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.

5 Paint wings with sauce, continue to grill low and slow: 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.

6 Serve immediately.