How to Cook Chicken Wings on a Charcoal Grill

Different from deep-fried chicken wings, grilled chicken wings are irresistible, smoky, and crispy-skinned. This makes them the clear favorites and the most requested finger food at all grill-outs.

Whether you are planning a friends-and-family cookout or having a get-together for your office colleagues, chicken wings are always a winner whenever they are served. It’s no secret that serving chicken wings is the best way to spice up a summer barbecue.

Chicken wings can be served in a variety of ways; you can serve the food as a complimentary dish or add flavor to the already mouth-watering taste that the food possesses.  Grilling after marinating with sweet and sour Asian barbecue sauce is one way of cooking chicken wings to ultimate juicy perfection.

Grilled Chicken Wings on a tray

The blend of sauces is crucial to the taste of the grilled chicken wings; therefore, before you go about cooking chicken wings, you need to ensure that you are aware of the type of flavor you want in your chicken wings. Balancing the mixture of various sauces is the key to ensuring your chicken wings get the taste you desire.

Learn How to Cook Chicken Wings on a Charcoal Grill

To prepare you for the numerous family gatherings and barbecues lined up, we are sharing a list of ingredients needed for making the perfect grilled chicken wings.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Chicken Wings, separated at the joints (the quantity depends on the number of guests you are expecting)
  • A bottle of your favorite sauces (buffalo, teriyaki, or barbecue sauces)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder

Now that you have readied the ingredients, here is a step-by-step guide for making the best grilled chicken wings in town.

Getting the Charcoal Grill Ready

If you have not used the grill or will do so after a long time, then the first thing you need to do is prepare it for cooking. Preparation involves cleaning the barbecue grill and ensuring that it is in working condition.

Before you begin the grilling process, get rid of any residue on the grates. The residue left on the grate can cause the food to stick during future grilling. Scrub off any remaining gunk in the gates. Rinse the grates and leave them to dry.

The process of cleaning is easier said than done. However, if you are using your charcoal grills after a long time, then it is essential to clean them before use.

With the charcoal grill nice, shiny, and cleaned to the core, you can begin grilling your chicken wings.

1. Light the Chimney

Fill the chimney with an appropriate amount of charcoal; ensure that you keep the briquettes as close as you possibly can. Since fire is dangerous, remember to take caution when lighting the chimney. We recommend the use of newspapers to light the chimney.

Lighting the newspaper from several spots is enough for lighting the charcoal and spreading the fire in the charcoal grill.

Place your cooking grate on the grill and then let the grill pre-heat until it reaches 425-450 °F.

2. Wash and Dry the Chicken Wings

Chicken wings need to be properly cleaned before they are grilled. You need to ensure that you clean the wings thoroughly.

Rinse each wing under running water and rinse each surface one at a time. Make sure that the wings have no feathers on them.  Pluck all the excess feathers while cleaning the wing under running water.

Once you are sure that the wings are clean, leave them to dry with a paper towel. However, before you leave the wings to dry, don’t forget to cut the wings into smaller, essential parts.

Drying the wings will help you prevent the wings from shrinking in size when you grill them.

3. Cut the Wings

Now, with a sharp knife, cut the wings. The whole wing constitutes of three parts; your job is to reduce the wing into the three constituent elements.

Cut the wings into the three pieces that form the wings: the drumette (resembling a drumstick), the wingette (flat) or the double-boned wing part, and the wingtip.

Start by cutting the wingtip, followed by the drumette and the wing part in that order. While cutting, ensure that you start at the portion where the joint connects the wing piece; at this specific area, the cartilage is softer than the solid bone. As you locate this portion, slice through the joint and you are done.

Now, that you have the wings ready in the form of smaller elements, leave them to dry while you get the sauces ready.


4. Prepare the Sauces

As mentioned before, sauces are the key to the taste of grilled chicken wings. You have many options for marinating the sauce. You can also try the pre-mixed sauces available in different stores if you don’t have time on your hands.

However, the fun of the barbecue lies in doing it all on your own. Going to a store is no fun when you can experiment and create flavors. You can choose your favorite barbecue sauce that you think will work perfectly well with the chicken wings.

Once you have concluded the style and taste of your barbecue, you’ll have to mix and marinate the wings.

5. Marinating the Wings

First and foremost, look for a bowl that is large enough to contain the sauce. Take the sauces of your choice and mix them with the recommended amount of garlic powder and sugar.

Mix all the ingredients by stirring thoroughly to ensure that the sugar mixes well and dissolves fully in the solution.

Once you have the sauces ready, it is imperative to marinade the wings a couple of hours before you cook them. Keep the wings dipped in the sauce for some time; this will let the marinade fully infuse its flavor deep into the bones of the chicken wings.

6. Season the Wings

As the grill preheats, your job is to season the wings. Lightly sprinkle the wings with salt and pepper and arrange the wings around the grate. With the heat of the charcoal grill monitored, grill the wings. Ensure that the lid is closed while you cook the wings. There is an indirect medium-heat from the grill until the meat is no longer pink.

Before you begin heating, place the chicken wings in the right order. As a user of charcoal grills, you will be aware that the center of the grill packs maximum heat. Placing the food on the grill’s center can at times overheat the food, making all efforts useless. Place the wings at the edge of the charcoal grill with the bony side of the wing facing the center of the charcoal grill and the fatty side of the wings facing upward.

Let the grill heat the meat for 20 to 25 minutes before you turn the meat once or twice during the span of the heating process.

Flip the wings over one at a time to verify that the wings are evenly brown; it’s a sign that you have perfectly grilled chicken wings.

If you want an additional layer of flavor to the chicken wings, apply it at the end of the cooking time by sprinkling sauce or glaze. Doing it before will wither the wings.

Remove the grilled chicken wings until they have a crisp, golden-brown look to them. The time you need to grill the chicken wings depends directly on their size as well as the temperature and the settings of the grill.

When the color changes and the slit in the thickest part of the juicy chicken turns smooth, it means that the grilled chicken wings are ready for serving.

Serving Your Chicken Wings

Now that you have the grilled chicken wings ready, place them on a plate and serve them immediately. You can also garnish the grilled chicken wings with greens or serve them alongside a bowl of salad.

Don’t forget to provide your guests with an additional set of tissues; they will need them for the sticky fingers from enjoying the chicken wings.

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