The BEST recipe for grilled hot wings!!!
I’m a little bit of a snob when it comes to wings. Back when we lived in Milwaukee, our apartment was just around the corner from a handful of amazing wings restaurants (in case you didn’t know…chicken wings are kind of a big deal in MKE!).
That’s exactly how I fell head over heels for grilled chicken wings. Of course, fried chicken wings are always incredible, but there’s just something about a super crispy chicken wing with charred bits & smoky grilled flavor…grilled buffalo chicken wings are seriously where it’s at!
& my grilled buffalo chicken wings recipe? It’s seriously the best, for a few different reasons…
- They are so seriously delicious. Trust me!
- They’re made with 3 simple ingredients (+ a generous pinch of salt!)
- You can meal prep them in 2 minutes at the beginning of the week. literally.
- My easy grilling method creates juicy & tender wings, with the perfectly crispy & charred crust!
- They are SO EASY. period! Keep on reading for everything you need to know…
These grilled buffalo wings have been a reader favorite ever since we published this recipe way back in 2017. If this is a new-to-you recipe…man, oh man, you’re in for a major treat!
Absolutely perfect, absolutely every time. ♡ Read on to learn more about this perfect Grilled Chicken Wings recipe, or jump straight to the recipe & get grillin’!
Everything you need to know about how to grill chicken wings:
1. THE INGREDIENTS:
One of my favorite parts of this recipe is how simple it is to make. You only need a couple of ingredients!
- chicken wings
- kosher salt
- & hot sauce or buffalo sauce
So simple, right?
Choosing the right beer for the beer brine: When it comes to beer, we like to use a beer that’s big, flavorful, & borderline stinky, like an IPA or porter. I’ve tried this beer brine with lighter beers, like a pilsner or a lighter ale, but their flavors just don’t impart themselves into the chicken the way the flavors of bigger beers do. Even if you’re not an IPA lover (I’m not either!), I’m pretty sure you’ll still love these wings! The beer flavor of the grilled wings is pretty mild – just enough to know that it’s there. That’s what we’re after here: a slight hint of beer flavor to pair perfectly with buffalo sauce!
2. THE BRINE:
The best part of good chicken wings, aside from their crispy crust, is how juicy they are. But if you’ve ever grilled chicken, you know just how easy it is to end up with chicken that’s totally dried out & tough. & When it comes to wings, dry + tough is pretty much the worst combination ever.
A simple brine is the first step to avoiding dry & tough wings. Brining wings couldn’t be easier – just think of it as marinating: place your wings in a large airtight container or resealable bag, then add in some kosher salt, top it all off with beer, & let it sit in the fridge & do its thing for up to 3-4 days.
It’s literally a 2-minute step that makes a world of difference in your grilled chicken wings, making them flavorful AF & keeping them juicy AF. The salt draws water out of the chicken & replaces it with the more flavorful beer. Osmosis magic!
3. THE GRILL:
So here’s the deal: the key to this perfect grilled chicken wings recipe (or any other flavor wings for that matter!) is zone grilling. The chicken wings first cook over indirect heat so they cook through without burning to a crisp, and then we put them over direct heat to get them nice & crispy. Keep on reading to learn more & be sure to check out the recipe card, below, for the exact rundown.
How to grill wings: exact steps
1. Light your grill, setting it up with a couple of different heat zones. You will want half of the grill to be fired up to high heat, leaving the other half of the grill unlit. Let the grill preheat for 10-15 minutes – it should be HOT, around 500-600 degrees F. (You can learn more about lighting your grill here, & you can learn more about grill temperatures & zone grilling here.)
2. Grill the wings with indirect heat. Once the grill is preheated, it’s time to cook the wings! The secret to not drying out your wings is grilling them first with indirect heat, then finishing them with a quick char over direct flame.
To do so, you’ll arrange the wings on the grates on the side of the grill opposite the direct heat. (As you can see in the photo above, the left side of my grill is lit, so I’m arranging the brined chicken wings on the right side of my grill.) Grill the wings for 7 minutes per side, rearranging the wings halfway through such that the wings closest to the flame for the first 7 minutes are furthest from the flame in the last 7 minutes, & vice versa, to help ensure they all grill up evenly.
3. Char the wings over direct heat. Once the wings are cooked completely through, they still need a little bit of love to get that totally crispy, charred skin that we want out of any perfectly grilled buffalo chicken wing. This is when we throw them over the open flame. Leave them over direct flame for 2 minutes per side, which is just long enough to let the skin take on some char without overcooking the chicken. Now we’ve got crispy wings on the grill!
The result? Perfectly crispy grilled chicken wings.
What temperature should I grill chicken wings?
Grilled chicken wings should be cooked on a grill that’s preheated to 500-600 degrees F, but there’s more to it. Grilled chicken wings are best when they are cooked at two different temperatures through a combination of indirect and direct heat.
How long does it take to cook wings on the grill?
Grilled wings take about 16 minutes to cook on the grill. This is 14 minutes (7 per side) of indirect heat and then 2 additional minutes of direct heat to get nice and crispy and charred. The wings should register 165 degrees F with a meat thermometer.
Dips for grilled chicken wings recipe:
Every grilled hot wing needs a sauce to be dunked in!
Because we like to keep things super simple when we’re grilling up wings, our go-to sauce is simply a fancied-up version of our favorite store-bought dressing. Add your favorite store-bought ranch to a small bowl, then stir in some blue cheese crumbles, freshly snipped chives, coarse ground pepper, & a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if you’re feeling fancy. It’s super simple, but always hits the spot!
I can’t wait for you to try these Grilled Buffalo Wings! They’re truly one of my favorite recipes here on PWWB, with very good reason. I know you’ll love them!
If you do give them a try, be sure to let me know!: Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! Happy cooking! ♡Print
My grilled buffalo chicken wings recipe (grilled hot wings!) keeps wings SO juicy from a secret step & ingredient! Plus, exact steps for how to grill chicken wings.
- Brine the wings: Place the wing sections in a large airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Top with the salt and beer. Toss to combine. Brine in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or up to 4 days. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to grill, pull the wings out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature for more even grilling.
- Preheat the grill. The magic of these grilled wings comes from zone grilling – creating different temperature zones in your grill. Learn more about zone grilling & grilling temperatures in this post. If using a gas grill, light the burners on one half of your grill to their highest setting (our grill has a “sear station” on one side of the grill that’s built to get hotter than the rest of the grill, so that’s the side we light). If using a charcoal grill, light your charcoal & distribute it to one side of the grill to create a high heat zone on one side. The grill should be HOT – 500-600 degrees F.
- Grill the wings with indirect heat: Once the grill is hot, place the brined chicken wing sections on the side of the grill opposite the heat source. They will cook first from the indirect heat in the grill.
- Use a heat-resistant basting brush to brush the wings with two coats of Frank’s. Close the grill lid & cook the wings for 7 minutes.
- Flip the wings, rearranging them so the wings furthest from the direct heat source in the first half of the cook are closest to the heat during the second half. Brush the wings with two more coats of Franks, close the grill lid & cook for 7 more minutes.
- After 14 minutes of indirect heat, the wings should be cooked through, registering an internal temperature of 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer.
- Char the wings over direct heat: Arrange the cooked wings over the direct heat to finish them off with a good crispy char, about 2 minutes per side or until as charred as desired, brushing with additional Frank’s as you go.
- Serve immediately, with a sprinkling of finely chopped chives & ranch or bleu cheese dressing for dipping as desired. Enjoy!
- Beer: I’ve tested these wings with all kinds of beer, & any kind will work well, however, a darker or hoppier beer (IPA, porter, stout) will give the wings a more prominent beer flavor that is just perfection when combined with the buffalo sauce. TL;DR: if you want a stronger beer flavor, it’s worth it to use a stronger beer. If not, just use whatever you have on hand.
Keywords: grilled buffalo wings, grilled chicken wings, easy, simple, beer brine, low-carb
Ready to hit the grill?
Us too! Try some of PWWB’s Top Grilling Recipes ASAP!:
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Ready to Hit the Grill?
If this all still feels new to you, I encourage you to head over to Grilling 101, a compilation of tips & tricks for all of the grilling basics – everything from how to light your grill to how to clean your grill.
All this talk about grilling have you feelin’ ready to hit the grill? Me too! Be sure to check out this post for my 15 go-to marinades you need this grilling season. At our house, a good marinade is at the heart of grilling season. I’m positive these marinades will be on repeat at your house this summer! For even more grilled goodness, be sure to check out all of our Grilling & Smoking recipes.
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