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Crispy Grilled Buffalo Wings Recipe


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4.59 from 172 votes
True Buffalo wings are deep fried, but I love the flavor and convenience of cooking them on the grill, and even smoking them first. And there is much less mess. Click here to tweet this 

Serve with: A pilsner.


Course:
Appetizer
,
Snack
Cuisine:
American

Makes:

Servings: 6 appetizer servings

Takes:

Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

Blue Cheese Dip

Classic Buffalo Wing Sauce

  • 1/2 cup melted salted butter
  • 2 cloves minced or pressed garlic
  • 1/2 cup Frank's Original RedHot Sauce

The Rest

  • 24 whole chicken wings (about 4 pounds (1.8 kg) for 24 whole wings)
  • Morton Coarse Kosher Salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 6 stalks of celery
Notes:
About the blue cheese dip. When I'm feeling lazy, I just use Marie's Blue Cheese salad dressing. Great stuff. It's in the refrigerator section of your grocery. Also, Ranch dressing works beautifully.
About the sauce. I often use DC Mumbo Sauce, Danny Gaulden's Glaze, Chris Lilly's Spiced Apricot Glaze, or Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce. Of course you could do as they do at Buffalo Wild Wings and other restaurants: Put out a variety of sauces and let people pick their fave. That's democracy at work.
About the hot sauce. Frank's is the classic Buffalo Wing Sauce base, and its charm is the fresh red pepper flavor. But it is not very hot. If you want more heat, try my Controlled Burn Hot Sauce or pick your poison. Keep in mind, not everyone is as manly as you. Like me. Better still, make two or three levels of heat so people can pick.
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works. 
Optional. Baking powder slightly raises the pH of the skins making them less acidic which helps them crisp and brown. So here's what you need to do: Put the salt, pepper, and baking powder in a big bowl and add the wings, tumbling them around until they have a little of all three on them.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page

Method

  • Prep. To create the blue cheese dip, take the cream cheese and the blue cheese out of the fridge and let them come to room temp. Then smush them together with the spices. Mix in the sour cream and half and half. Put them in a serving bowl and refrigerate. You can do this a day ahead. Cut up the celery into 4-inch (10 cm) sections and put it back in the chiller.
  • For the Buffalo hot sauce, melt the butter over a low heat and then adding the garlic. Let it simmer for about a minute but don't let the garlic brown. Then add the Frank's RedHot sauce. Let them get to know each other for at least 3 to 4 minutes. But remember, if you don't want to use the original and you want to get creative, try one or more of the other sauces listed above. I'm partial to DC Mumbo Sauce. Like the dip, the sauce can be made a day in advance.
    Graphic detailing parts of a whole chicken wing
  • When it comes time to prep the wings, note that there are three distinct pieces of different thickness and skin to meat ratio: (1) The tips (2) the flats or wingettes in the center, and (3) the drumettes on the end that attaches to the shoulders. The thickness differences means they cook at different speeds and finish at different times. The best thing to do is separate them into three parts with kitchen shears, a sturdy knife, or a Chinese cleaver (my weapon of choice because the ka-chunk noise of chopping them off is so very satisfying).
  • The tips are almost all skin, really thin, and small enough that they often fall through the grates or burn to a crisp. You can cook them if you wish, but I freeze them for use in making soup. Separate the V shaped piece remaining at the joint between the flat and drumette. You will cook both these parts.
  • Some folks like to season them with a spice rub. That works most of the time. I find that most commercial rubs are too salty for such thin cuts, and most have too much sugar that tends to burn during the crisping phase. Besides, they just get lost under the sauces and dips. So I just season them with salt and pepper. As Rachael Ray says: "Easy peasy."
  • Fire up. You can start them on a smoker if you wish, but I usually grill them. Set up the grill for 2-zone cooking with the indirect side at about 325°F (162.8°C) to help crisp the skin and melt the fat. If you wish, add wood to the direct side to create smoke. Use a lot of smoke.
  • Cook. Add the wings to the indirect heat side of the grill and cook with the lid closed until the skins are golden. That will probably take about 7 to 10 minutes per side. By then they are pretty close to done.
  • To crisp the skin, move the wings to the direct heat side of your grill, high heat, lid open, and stand there, turning frequently until the skin is dark golden to brown but not burnt, keeping a close eye on the skinnier pieces, moving them to the indirect zone when they are done.
  • Serve. Put the sauce in a big mixing bowl or pot and put it on the grill and get it warm. Stir or whisk well. Keep warm. When the wings are done you can serve them with the sauce on the side for dipping, or just dump them in with the sauce and toss or stir until they are coated. Then slide them onto a serving platter. Put the celery sticks next to them, and serve with a bowl of Blue Cheese Dip. People can scoop some Blue Cheese Sauce on their plates, and dip in the celery and wings.