If you love slightly salty, tangy, honey sticky, Asian flavors AND chicken wings – then this recipe is for you! These are grilled not fried which gives them a slightly smokey flavor and are absolutely delicious as an appetizer or as a main dish especially if you pair them with some nice Asian style noodles as a side. What did you say? Game day is this Sunday? Then look no further than this recipe for a fun game day appetizer if you are not a big fan of Buffalo style wings but want to please a crowd or give folks some options with wings two ways (why settle for one when you can have both? After all you are grilling wings anyway!).
Now, truth be told my husband came up with this recipe… he is a huge BBQ fan and will put ANYTHING on the grill and my kids have grown to love the grilled flavor that gets imparted from the smokey wood flavor. He uses a charcoal grill but these can be made with a gas grill if that is what you have.
The secret to these wings in to not add the sauce till the very last minute and place them in the oven to finish them off. If you try to sauce them on the grill you will burn off an eyebrow or worse ruin some really delicious wings. The sugar and sauce is not suitable for the grill… instead you toss the wings in the sauce just before serving. During cooking you use a dry rub that will help season the wings without causing flare ups and burning. In addition, you want to set your grill up with a safe area and a hot area. Chicken being what it is you want to have two zones to your cooking method. Follow this advice and you will have wings that your neighbors and guests will rave about for months.
So here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind before you roll up your sleeves and start cooking.
This is, “THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP” to making grilled chicken wings: BE SURE TO CREATE A SAFE ZONE ON YOUR GRILL!
Sorry to shout, but the truth is that the biggest mistake people make when grilling food is to dump a whole bunch of lit coals in the middle of the grill and walk away. BIG mistake. That is the best way to ruing your food and burn your hands or burn eyebrows off.
You need to create, “safe zones” on your grill in order to control the temperature and reduce flare ups. To do so with a charcoal grill (my husband’s favorite… we actually gave away our gas grill in favor of our charcoal because the flavor is soooo much better) you will want to light your charcoal in a chimney starter (don’t use lighter fluid – it is not only dangerous but changes the flavor of food) and then bank the lit coals to one side of the grill. In the picture above the left side is the hot side and the right where the wings are on the safe side. There is still plenty of heat radiating to cook the wings on the safe side but you will minimize flare ups.
Using tongs move the wings from the safe side of the grill to the hot side of the grill and rotate the wings each time you do. As the fat from the chicken begins to render you will see the drips and flare ups begin to happen. When they do, using tongs, move the wings back to the safe side, season with the dry seasoning mixture on occasion till you are happy all have received enough seasoning love and then repeat the process. You will want to do this for about 15 minutes until the wings look like this:
At this point the wings have a nice smoky flavor and are par cooked but not completely cooked through. You don’t want the wings to be burnt or overdone on any side, just browned in general. Once the wings look browned overall with some char but not burnt then remove to a sheet pan with a wire rack as shown below.
At this point the wings can be placed in the oven to cook fully through, will maintain a nice smoky flavor and will be fall off the bone.
Don’t sauce your wings until you pull them from the oven… this will give your wings a nice coating of delicious without the gross burning or setting off your fire alarms.
Once they are sauced plate your wings, garnish and enjoy! Hope you enjoy this recipe and that my tips will help make your dish a success.
- About 2 to 3 pounds of chicken wings (depending on how large of a crowd you are feeding - estimate 6 to 8 wings per person).
- 2 Tablespoons salt
- 1 Tablespoon freshly ground pepper
- About 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 3 Cloves freshly grated garlic
- ⅓ Cup Asian sesame oil
- ¾ Cup Tamari sauce
- ⅓ Cup honey
- 2 Tablespoons Hoisin sauce
- 2 Teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 Teaspoon chili oil (or if you can't find it 1 teaspoon smoked paprika to 2 tablespoons safflower oil)
- 1 Teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Corn starch
- ⅛ Cup soy sauce
- Bunch of green onions
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Grate ginger and garlic into small bowl and set aside.
- Wash green onion and pat dry with paper towel, cut off bottom white roots and any tops that look bad from 2 of the green onions (safe the rest for garnish), set aside.
- In a medium sauce pan add all other ingredients for Asian Sticky Sauce and combine well with whisk. Add grated ginger, garlic, green onion and a pinch of red pepper flakes (like it spicy - add another pinch!), bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking of the sugar to the bottom of the pan, reduce to simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, remove from heat, remove green onion from pan and discard, cover pan with lid and set aside.
- Using a charcoal chimney starter set up a charcoal grill with a hot zone and a safe zone, by banking the lit coals to one side of the grill. If using a gas grill set up a high heat side and a low heat side.
- Place raw chicken wings on the safe side of the grill and spring some of the dry seasoning on the wings until lightly coated. Rake wings from safe side to hot side until chicken begins to render but not burn, if flare ups happen move wings to safe side, repeat until wings are consistently browned with a little char but not burnt.
- Using tongs, remove wings form grill to a sheet pan with a wire rack and arrange them so that they are one layer and not overlapping (depending on how many wings you are making you may need 2 pans).
- Place wings in a 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the wings reaches 165 degrees.
- Pour a small amount of wing sauce in a bowl and in batches toss wings in sauce, add more sauce and wings till all wings have been coated.
- Sprinkle wings with sesame seeds and chopped green onion (reserved from earlier).
- Serve and enjoy!