posted January 29, 2024
Crispy Buffalo Wings
Crispy, bite-through skin on juicy, tender wings, slathered in rich Buffalo sauce bursting with flavor and heat, my Crispy Buffalo Wings on the grill are a must for any wing lover.
Crispy Buffalo Wings
The unmistakable, rich, spicy, goodness of Buffalo sauce all sticky and slathered on crispy chicken wings that pop when you bite into juicy, tender meat is a marvel of humanity. Buffalo wings were first made in Buffalo, NY in 1964, and honestly, I’m not sure how we survived without them prior. For me, the foundation of a great chicken wing comes down to nailing the perfect crunch when I bite into it. No matter how good the sauce is, that first bite is everything.
With my Crispy Buffalo Wings recipe, I’m going to show you everything you need to know to turn out scrumptious, crisp, and crunchy wings in an hour. I’ll walk you through a few easy, step-by-step instructions, then give you some serving tips. Also, I’ll teach you the secret that makes backyard BBQ wing heroes out of mere mortals.
What is Buffalo sauce?
While buffalo sauce and hot sauce taste similar in some ways, they aren’t one and the same. Hot sauce is actually a big ingredient in Buffalo sauce. For this amazing buffalo sauce, I simply combine some Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and unsalted butter over low heat until combined. Then, when my crispy wings are smokin’ hot, I toss them in my warm Buffalo sauce. Then, they’re ready to serve right away, and trust me, they won’t last long enough to cool.
Some recipes will also include additional ingredients, like peppers or vinegars. While those may add things in terms of flavor, they do little in terms of texture. I love the thick creaminess I get from simply melting in some butter. Hot sauce plays an important part in Buffalo sauce, but the key to getting that rich, sticky thickness is the butter.
Prepping Chicken Wings for Grilling
This recipe is for crispy wings, and one super important element to getting there is moisture control. To get a truly crunchy exterior that snaps when you bite into it, you have to make sure the surface of your wing is dry. You’ll want to make sure to pat down your wings good all around with a dry paper towel. This will help ensure you get a crispy skin, and keep all that juicy moisture in the tender meat.
Crispy Wing Secret Ingredient: Baking Powder
When I’m making wings and I want that crispy skin that pops with every bite, there’s only one way to go, and that’s baking powder. That’s because unlike baking soda, baking powder contains cream of tartar and cornstarch. The cornstarch in baking powder has drying properties to help you achieve that perfectly crispy skin on your wings. If you use baking soda, you’ll still have tasty wings, but you won’t get that crunchy skin you want. Sprinkle on a little Kosher salt, and get ready for the crispiest, crunchiest wings of your life.
How Long to Grill Chicken Wings with Crispy Skin
Getting a nice and crispy skin on your wings while maintaining the tender, juicy meat inside on your grill is super easy, once you know what you’re doing. To achieve it, you’ll use both indirect and direct heat with your grill. This is known as two-zone grilling. Check out my guide How to Cook with Two-Zone Grilling if you want to learn more on this.
First, you’ll grill your wings over indirect heat for 45 minutes. This will give the cornstarch in your baking powder plenty of time to do its thing and give that skin a nice crisping. It’s going to really lock that moisture inside your tender chicken, before you move it to direct heat. You’ll give them another 4-6 minutes on the direct heat to put the finishing touches and really make that crispy skin pop.
What to Serve with Buffalo Wings
Honestly, these crispy wings dripping with this rich, yummy Buffalo sauce is great all on its own. I like to serve these spicy wings with some quartered celery sticks to help with the mild heat. If you like dipping your chicken wings, it’s also traditional to serve them with a side of ranch or blue cheese dressing. These will enhance the natural creaminess of your Buffalo sauce, but its already exploding with flavor.
How to Make Crispy Chicken Wings
Make the crispiest wings ever in five simple steps.
- Dry and coat your wings. Dry your chicken wings thoroughly on all sides with a paper towel, and place in a zip-top bag. Add your baking powder and salt. Seal the bag and then toss your wings until they have a nice, even coating. Remember, baking powder is the key to that crispy, bite-through skin you want.
- Indirect heat. Set your grill to 350 degrees F for two-zone grilling. Once your grill is up to temp, remove your wings from the bag and then place them on the indirect heat side of your grill. Once again, you’re aiming for super crispy skin, and this step is very important for achieving that. You’ll want to give them 45 minutes on indirect heat with your grill lid closed.
- Direct heat. Next, increase your grill heat to 425 degrees F and move your wings over to the direct heat side of the grill. You’re shooting for an internal temperature of 175 degrees F, which will take 4-6 minutes. Make sure you’ve got a reliable food thermometer, like my Thermapen ONE. Flip the wings as needed to maintain even cooking and avoid any hot spots or flare-ups on the grill.
- Make your sauce. In a medium saucepan over low heat, add your Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and butter, and whisk until the butter is totally melted and incorporated. At that point, remove your sauce from the heat before it boils, or your butter will separate.
- Toss your wings. Remove your finished wings from the grill and toss with your warm Buffalo sauce, and then serve immediately. You don’t want to toss them until you’re ready to serve because the sauce will affect the crispiness of your wings.
More Amazing Wing Recipes
Now that you know how easy it is to make perfectly crispy chicken wings, you can enjoy them any time you want. Here are a few more of my personal favorite wing recipes to try next time you get that craving:
- Ultimate Buffalo Chicken Wings
- Beer Brine Chicken Wings with Sticky Sweet Buffalo Sauce
- Crispy Smoked Chicken Wings
- Smoked Then Fried Chicken Wings
- Honey Heat Smoked Chicken Wings
Crispy Buffalo Wings Recipe
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Crispy Buffalo Wings on the Grill
- 5 pounds chicken wings (flats and drumettes)
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
- 1/4 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- Dry and coat your wings. Dry your chicken wings thoroughly on all sides with a paper towel, and place in a zip-top bag. Then add your baking powder and salt, and toss until wings are coated.5 pounds chicken wings, 2 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Indirect heat. Set grill to 350 degrees F for two-zone grilling. Remove your wings from the bag and then place them on the indirect heat side of your grill. Allow them to grill 45 minutes on indirect heat with your grill lid closed.1 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce, 1/4 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- Direct heat. Increase your grill heat to 425 degrees F and move your wings over the direct heat side of the grill. When your wings reach an internal temperature of 175 degrees F, remove from grill. This will take 4-6 minutes.
- Make your sauce. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and butter, and whisk until the butter is melted. Remove from heat before boiling or your butter will separate.
- Toss your wings. Toss your wings in warm Buffalo sauce until all are coated nice and even, and then serve immediately.
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