Barbecued Chicken Wings
Barbecued Chicken Wings
5 from 1 vote
Unearth the secret to perfect barbecued chicken wings with this sizzling guide. From mastering the marinade to achieving that enviable char, I've got you covered. Elevate your grill game and wow your taste buds, no culinary degree needed!
Barbecued Chicken Wings

When it comes to finger-lickin’ good food, barbecued chicken wings are the undisputed champions. Tracing their origins to the American South, these delicacies have travelled far and wide, amassing a legion of dedicated aficionados.

Now, some might say that the barbecue sauce is the star, but let’s be honest, it’s the technique that really sets apart the humdrum from the sublime. 

Speaking of technique, don’t be daunted by the idea of grilling your own wings. If you can mix a few ingredients together and know how to turn on a grill, you’re pretty much there.  

This recipe straddles the line between effortless and impressive, perfect for novices but also offering room for veterans to flex their grill skills. 

The brilliance of barbecued chicken wings lies in their versatility. The classic version we’re making today gets its rich flavour from a dynamic marinade involving soy sauce, ketchup, and a drizzle of honey.  

But you can easily swap these out for teriyaki sauce, buffalo sauce, or even go oriental with some hoisin sauce. The world is your wing! 

Now, I don’t want to make this sound like rocket science, but the marinade needs some time to work its magic.  

A mere hour could do the trick, but let’s say you’ve got some extra time on your hands—let those bad boys soak in that flavour pool for a good 3-4 hours. Patience is a virtue, especially in the barbecue world. 

Smoked paprika and cayenne pepper are my go-to spices for this wing extravaganza.  

They bring that slightly smoky, tantalizing kick which is offset by the sweetness of the honey. It’s like a carnival of flavours, and guess what? You’re invited. For the brave souls out there, ramp up the cayenne pepper to turn this into a real party. 

Of course, what would grilled chicken wings be without the grill marks? We’re talking about the epitome of barbecued beauty. Grill ’em on medium-high heat, and don’t skip on basting towards the end. It’s like adding a dash of cologne before stepping out; it just completes the ensemble. 

To cap it all off, fresh cilantro leaves. Their vibrant, citrusy notes are the finishing flourish to your culinary masterpiece. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. So, tie those apron strings and fire up the grill, because we’re winging it, and we’re winging it in style! 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

Alright, let’s unravel the mystery behind the mouth-watering magic that is barbecued chicken wings. Each ingredient plays a pivotal role in crafting that sensational flavour and enviable texture. You might say it’s a symphony, and every musician—or in this case, ingredient—counts. 

Chicken Wings: The star of the show. Chicken wings are the ideal canvas for soaking up the rich marinade.  

Their relatively small size and ample skin-to-meat ratio make them perfect for quick and even cooking. The skin crisps up beautifully while the meat stays juicy. If you’re looking to switch things up, chicken drumettes or boneless chicken bites are suitable alternatives. 

Vegetable Oil: The unsung hero in the marinade. Oil helps to disperse flavour evenly, ensuring each wing is a masterpiece. It also assists in the browning and crisping process. If you’re feeling adventurous, try using sesame oil for an Asian twist or olive oil for a more Mediterranean vibe. 

Soy Sauce: This brings saltiness and umami to the party. It deepens the flavour profile and acts as a meat tenderizer. If you’re steering clear of soy, coconut aminos can serve as a delightful substitute. 

Ketchup: Not just for fries, my friends! Ketchup adds a sweet tanginess that counters the saltiness of the soy sauce. The acidity helps tenderize the meat, too. If ketchup isn’t your thing, BBQ sauce or even a mild salsa can stand in its place. 

Honey: The sweet whisper in this flavourful shout. Honey provides a counterbalance to the spicy and salty components, and its sugars caramelize during grilling for that extra oomph. Maple syrup or agave nectar are fine alternatives if you’re looking to keep things vegan. 

Minced Garlic: The aromatic maestro! Garlic brings an earthy richness that complements the tang and spice. You can’t really replace garlic, but if you’re out, garlic powder in a pinch will suffice. 

Smoked Paprika: Think of it as the smoky eyeshadow to your wing’s makeup look. It adds a subtle smoky flavour without overpowering the other elements. For a different type of heat, chipotle powder makes a good stand-in. 

Cayenne Pepper: The spice that keeps things interesting. A little goes a long way, but it’s what makes these wings not just food, but an experience. Red pepper flakes or even a dash of hot sauce can bring that desired heat. 

Salt and Pepper: The basics, but crucial. They enhance all the other flavours and tie everything together. Himalayan salt or sea salt could add a gourmet touch, and freshly ground black pepper always trumps pre-ground. 

Fresh Cilantro Leaves: The final flourish. Cilantro brings a burst of freshness that elevates the dish. If you’re one of those people who think cilantro tastes like soap (it’s genetic, don’t worry), fresh parsley or chives can step in. 

Each ingredient in these barbecued chicken wings is like a chapter in an epic novel. Sure, you could skip one, but why miss out on the full story? Whether you stick to the script or improvise your own twist, the stage is set for a blockbuster hit. Time to roll credits and dig in! 

How to Get That Perfect Grill Mark on Your Chicken Wings 

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Salivating over those grill-marked chicken wings you see in restaurants or food shows.  

Those sear marks are more than just eye candy; they’re a testament to precise grilling and pack an extra punch of smoky flavour. Let’s lift the curtain on how to get those coveted grill marks on your barbecued chicken wings. 

Firstly, let’s talk about temperature. Your grill needs to be preheated to medium-high heat. You don’t want it too hot because you’ll just scorch the wings, but a low temperature won’t give you those crispy, caramelized lines either. The Goldilocks zone, if you will, is essential for those perfect grill marks. 

Once you’ve mastered the heat, it’s all about the placement. Lay your wings at a 45-degree angle across the grates for that oh-so-professional diamond pattern.  

Whatever you do, resist the urge to move them around too much. They need to sit in the same spot for about 5 minutes, so grab a drink and let the grill do its job. 

Now, it’s time for the flip. Use a pair of tongs, not a fork, to turn the wings over. A fork would puncture the meat, releasing those precious juices. Again, place them at a 45-degree angle, but this time in the opposite direction to get that crosshatch pattern that’ll make your Instagram followers green with envy. 

Basting plays an essential role here, especially in the last few minutes of grilling. You’ve got that marinade left over, so why waste it? Brush a generous layer onto your wings; it enhances those lines and gives an extra depth of flavour. 

Getting those perfect grill marks is a fine art that involves the right temperature, correct placement, limited interference, and a finishing touch of marinade basting. Implement these steps, and you’ll elevate your chicken wings from backyard amateur to grill master status. 

The Role of Marinades in Achieving Delectable Barbecued Chicken Wings 

A succulent piece of chicken wing, its flavours perfectly balanced between sweet, salty, and smoky. It’s like your taste buds have transcended to a higher plane of existence. If you’ve ever wondered what the key is to such gastronomical nirvana, I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s all about the marinade. 

You see, marinades are like the personal trainers for your chicken wings. They whip those cuts of meat into their best possible shape.  

And in our case, we’ve got a blend of soy sauce, ketchup, honey, and a medley of spices. Each ingredient serves a specific purpose, whether it’s tenderizing the meat, adding flavour, or helping with that grill crispiness. 

The soy sauce is the protein whisperer. It penetrates deep into the wing, distributing salty, umami flavours while also tenderizing the meat. Think of it as the flavour foundation upon which all other ingredients build. 

On to the ketchup and honey, the sweet symphony of the marinade. Ketchup brings tartness and sweetness, while honey brings a smooth, unadulterated sugary note. When these two get grilled, their sugars caramelize, leading to a complexity that’s hard to describe but easy to love. 

But what’s a marinade without its seasonings? Smoked paprika offers a mild smoky aroma, almost teasing your palate for the real grill smoke that follows. And let’s not forget the cayenne pepper.  

It’s the sizzle to your steak, the pop to your corn. It’s that kick that makes you say, “Wow, that’s what I’ve been missing!” 

Unlocking the Secret to Juicy Chicken Wings 

It’s time to shatter a myth: barbecued chicken wings don’t have to be dry and overcooked. In fact, they can be just as juicy and tender as any other cut of meat. The secret lies in proper marination and grilling techniques. Let me break it down for you. 

Marinating is more than just slathering on some sauce. It’s a science, a complex ballet of acids and seasonings, working together to break down muscle fibres and lock in moisture.  

In our stellar recipe, we marinate our chicken wings for at least an hour, but for optimal juiciness, 3-4 hours is the sweet spot. Next, let’s talk grill management. Keeping your grill at medium-high heat is essential.  

Too low and you’ll end up steaming the meat. Too high and you’ll char the outside while leaving the inside undercooked. Remember, it’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon. You want that heat to penetrate through the meat, leaving the wings juicy and fully cooked. 

Moisture loss can also occur when flipping the wings, which is why it’s important to use the right tools. Tongs are your best friend here, allowing you to turn the wings without piercing the meat and letting the juices escape. A fork might be handy for your salad but keep it away from the grill. 

Last but not least, let’s talk serving. As soon as the wings come off the grill, it’s crucial to let them rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring each bite is as juicy as the last. Trust me, it’s worth the wait. 

Achieving juicy barbecued chicken wings isn’t a matter of luck; it’s a matter of skill, timing, and a little bit of science. Get these elements right, and you’ll have yourself some mouth-wateringly juicy wings that will be the talk of any barbecue. 

Picking the Perfect Side Dishes for Barbecued Chicken Wings 

So you’ve mastered the art of grilling the perfect barbecued chicken wings. They’re flavourful, juicy, and have those envy-inducing grill marks. But what’s a star without a supporting cast? Yes, I’m talking about side dishes—the unsung heroes of any meal. 

Let’s start with the classics: coleslaw and grilled corn. These are the Brad Pitt and George Clooney of the barbecue world—always reliable and incredibly versatile.  

Coleslaw brings a creamy, tangy element that balances out the smokiness of the wings. Grilled corn, with its sweet, charred kernels, offers a textural contrast that’s nothing short of delightful. 

Then, we have the fancy options. Think roasted vegetable skewers or a peppery arugula salad with a zesty lemon vinaigrette. These sides bring a level of sophistication to your meal, turning your barbecue from a casual get-together to an event worth remembering. 

Don’t underestimate the power of a good dipping sauce, either. Whether it’s a classic blue cheese dip or something more exotic like a spicy mango salsa, the right dip can elevate your chicken wings to new heights. It’s like adding a cherry on top of an already delicious sundae. 

But, let’s not forget beverages. The rich, complex flavours of the wings call for something that can stand up to them without overpowering them. A crisp, cold beer or a glass of tangy lemonade would do the trick. They help cleanse the palate, making each bite of your chicken wing as exciting as the first. 

When you’re grilling up a batch of barbecued chicken wings, don’t neglect the sides. With the right complements, your wings will shine even brighter, creating a meal that’s more than the sum of its parts. 

Elevating Your Barbecued Chicken Wings with Herbs and Spices 

Let’s face it, while barbecued chicken wings are amazing on their own, there’s no reason to settle for ordinary when you can make them extraordinary. The secret? It’s all in the herbs and spices. A little oregano here, a sprinkle of thyme there, and boom, you’re not just a grill master, you’re a culinary alchemist. 

Take cayenne pepper, for example. It’s not just about heat; it’s about depth. When you add cayenne to your chicken wing marinade, you’re also introducing a layer of complexity that tickles the palate.  

The spiciness acts as a counterpoint to the sweetness of the honey and the tang of the soy sauce. It’s like adding a bass line to a melody. 

Now, let’s talk garlic. Garlic doesn’t just repel vampires; it also elevates your chicken wings from good to “Can I have the recipe?” great.  

Mincing a couple of cloves and throwing them into your marinade isn’t merely an afterthought. It’s a statement. It says, “Yes, I understand the nuances of flavour, thank you very much.” 

And then there’s smoked paprika. If cayenne is the bass, smoked paprika is the drums. It sets the rhythm of the dish, providing a smoky undertone that mimics the chargrilled goodness of the barbecue. It’s not just a spice; it’s an experience. 

Herbs and spices are more than just seasonings; they are the soul of your barbecued chicken wings. So, the next time you’re prepping for a barbecue, don’t just settle for salt and pepper. Dive into your spice rack and let your culinary creativity fly. Your taste buds will thank you. 

Mastering the Grill Temperature for Barbecued Chicken Wings 

When it comes to barbecued chicken wings, getting that smoky char is almost as important as the marinade you slather them in. Let’s not mince words: mastering the grill temperature is the name of the game.  

You can have the most delectable marinade in the world, but if you don’t know how to control the heat, you’re literally playing with fire. 

So let’s dig in. Medium-high heat is your best friend here. We’re talking about a grill temperature hovering around 375-400°F (190-205°C).  

Why? Because anything lower and you’re slow-cooking the wings, anything higher and you’re on a one-way trip to Burntville. Remember, you need enough heat to sear the skin and lock in those precious juices. 

Adjusting the heat isn’t just about turning the knob to medium-high and walking away. Oh, no. It’s about vigilance. You have to be the Gandalf of your grill: “You shall not pass” should be your mantra to any flare-ups or overly hot spots. Use the two-zone method: a hot side to sear and a cooler side to let the chicken cook through. 

Don’t just throw your wings on and forget them. Turn them, love them, talk to them if you have to. Make sure each side gets equal face time with the grill. That way, you get a nice, even char, which is just another layer of flavour to add to your already spectacular wings. 

Controlling the grill temperature is not rocket science, but it is science. The science of delicious, irresistible, “can’t-eat-just-one” barbecued chicken wings. Remember, when you master the heat, you master the meat. 

Making Barbecued Chicken Wings Kid-Friendly 

The stuff of legends, tailgate parties, and unfortunately, not always suitable for little taste buds. But let’s change that narrative. Making barbecued chicken wings kid-friendly isn’t just doable; it’s a culinary adventure you and your mini-me can embark on together. 

Let’s start with the spice. Cayenne pepper might be the adult’s ticket to Flavour Town, but for kids, it could be a bit much. Instead, opt for something milder like paprika, which adds colour and a touch of sweetness without the heat. Remember, you can always spice up your own portion later. 

Another quick trick to woo the young ones is to involve them in the process. Let them help with the basting or the garnishing. Put a little chef’s hat on them and let them feel like the kings and queens of the kitchen. When kids have a hand in making the food, they’re more likely to eat it. 

Don’t forget the dipping sauces! A ranch or honey mustard sauce can make all the difference. It’s like giving them a “customize your adventure” option and trust me, kids love to play food architect. Plus, it’s another layer of flavour that can make those wings a hit. 

Lastly, presentation matters. Make it fun. Use colourful plates or insert little flag toothpicks. Turn mealtime into an event, and those barbecued chicken wings will disappear faster than you can say “finger-lickin’ good.” So go ahead, turn your kitchen into a playground, and watch those wings fly off the plates. 

The Psychology Behind the Love for Barbecued Chicken Wings 

Let’s dissect the phenomenon that is the love for barbecued chicken wings. Seriously, what’s not to love? But have you ever wondered why we’re so magnetically attracted to these smoky, savoury bits of heaven? Sure, they’re delicious, but the allure goes deeper, tapping into our primal instincts. 

The act of barbecuing itself is steeped in ritual. Think about it: fire, meat, and the collective enjoyment of food are all elements that date back to our caveman ancestors. So when you bite into that perfectly charred chicken wing, you’re participating in an age-old tradition. 

Let’s talk about the texture—crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. This duality activates different taste receptors in our mouth, making the experience not just a feast for the taste buds, but also a tactile adventure. It’s an irresistible combination that leaves us craving for more. 

The play between sweet, spicy, and smoky is like an intricate dance of culinary chemistry. Each bite is a cascade of sensations, from the initial sweetness of the honey to the kick of cayenne and the smoky undertones from the grill. It’s a symphony in your mouth. 

And let’s not forget the social element. Sharing a plate of barbecued chicken wings is an act of camaraderie, a communal experience that brings people together. Whether it’s game day, a family gathering, or a casual hangout, chicken wings are the ultimate social food. 

Tips for Making Barbecued Chicken Wings Ahead of Time 

Sometimes life gets in the way of your barbecue plans, and that’s okay! The good news is, barbecued chicken wings are surprisingly forgiving when made ahead of time. With a few simple strategies, you can still achieve that just-off-the-grill magic, even if they were prepared days in advance. 

First things first: the marinade. The longer you marinate, the deeper the flavours will penetrate. If you’ve got the time, go for that 3-4 hour window, or even overnight. Trust me, the flavour payoff is worth the wait. 

Then comes the pre-grill. You can partially cook your wings in the oven, and then finish them off on the grill later. This method ensures that the insides are fully cooked, so you only need a few minutes on the grill to achieve that delightful char. 

Storage is crucial. After pre-grilling, let your wings cool down to room temperature before storing them in an airtight container. This prevents moisture loss, keeping your wings juicy and tender for the grand finale. 

When you’re ready to serve, just heat the grill and give those wings their final char. A quick basting with reserved marinade will resurrect their original flavour, making them as irresistible as they would’ve been if grilled fresh. 

Time may not always be on your side, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on flavour. With these tips, your make-ahead barbecued chicken wings will taste just as phenomenal as their freshly grilled counterparts. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

If you’ve just whipped up my Barbecued Chicken Wings and are savouring the smoky aroma, don’t put away your apron just yet! I’ve got some mouth-watering options to keep those tastebuds dancing and your grill sizzling. 

First, let me introduce you to Spicy Chicken Wings. Oh, these aren’t just any wings. Picture the robust blend of spices hitting your palate with the first bite, and just when you think it’s too spicy, the flavours mellow down to a satisfying tang. It’s pure heaven in every wing! 

Maybe you’re not just about wings, and you want to explore the meatier side of chicken. My Chicken Parmesan is so tender, with the crispiest crust you’ll ever have. Each bite is a dreamy mix of cheese and marinara sauce. You might just forget about traditional BBQ! 

Are you a drumstick aficionado? Then, Grilled Chicken Wings are calling your name. You’ll adore how the skin crisps up in the heat, while the inside stays tender and juicy. It’s minimalism at its delicious best! 

Now, let’s talk about the accompaniments. How about some Garlic Butter Noodles to go with those wings? These noodles are so simple, but the flavour is rich and garlicky. It’s the side dish you didn’t know you needed until now. 

Last but not least, if you’re someone who can never say no to dessert, wait till you try my Banana Chocolate Chip Cake. It’s moist, it’s decadent, and it has a chocolatey banana goodness that’s impossible to resist. 

So, if you’re in the mood to keep cooking and indulging, give these a try! Don’t forget to leave your feedback in the comments below; I’d love to hear what you think. 

Barbecued Chicken Wings

Barbecued Chicken Wings

by Nabeela Kauser
Unearth the secret to perfect barbecued chicken wings with this sizzling guide. From mastering the marinade to achieving that enviable char, I've got you covered.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetiser
Cuisine American, Western
Servings 4
Calories 245 kcal


  • 500 g Chicken Wings
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 2 cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper Adjust to taste
  • Salt To taste
  • Black Pepper To taste
  • Coriander


  • In a bowl, combine the vegetable oil, soy sauce, ketchup, honey, minced garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Mix well to make the marinade.
  • Place the chicken wings in a large resealable plastic bag or a bowl. Pour the marinade over the wings, ensuring they are well coated. Seal the bag or cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. For best results, marinate for 3-4 hours.
  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  • Remove the chicken wings from the marinade, allowing any excess marinade to drip off. Reserve the marinade for basting.
  • Place the chicken wings on the grill and cook for 10-12 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked through and have a nice char. During the last few minutes of cooking, brush the wings with the reserved marinade to add extra flavour.
  • Once the chicken wings are cooked, transfer them to a serving platter. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves for a burst of freshness.
  • Serve the barbecued chicken wings hot as an appetizer or as part of a delicious meal. They pair wonderfully with coleslaw, grilled corn, or your favourite dipping sauce.


Feel free to adjust the amount of cayenne pepper to suit your desired level of spiciness.
If you prefer a smokier flavour, you can use smoked salt in the marinade.
These barbecued chicken wings are perfect for outdoor gatherings, parties, or even a casual weeknight dinner.
Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 245kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 14gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 621mgPotassium: 171mgFibre: 0.4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 488IUVitamin C: 1mgVitamin D: 0.1µgCalcium: 16mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Barbecued Chicken Wings, BBQ, Chicken, Chicken Wings, Food, Gameday, Recipe
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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