posted July 27, 2022
Grilled Nashville Hot Wings
This recipe for grilled Nashville hot wings gives you all the flavors of Nashville hot chicken with a smoky twist from cooking over hot coals. A homemade hot chili oil baste ensures that your wings are juicy and crispy, and also loaded with flavor and heat. Your lips will be tingling after each bite!
What are Nashville Hot Wings?
Nashville hot wings are breaded and fried chicken wings topped with roaring hot chili oil. You get the juicy, brined chicken inside, crunchy breaded coating, and that punchy kick of spices right on the outside.
I took the traditional flavors of Nashville hot wings and applied my method for “grill-frying” chicken to keep the texture and taste of these wings the same with an extra kiss of grilled goodness.
How Hot are Nashville Hot Wings?
As you would expect, Nashville hot wings are HOT. Not only are they brined in hot sauce, but they’re also dredged in a flour mixture with cayenne pepper and then dunked in a cayenne and chili powder oil. If I were to rate them on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being burn-your-mouth-off-spicy, these wings are around a 7-8.
If heat isn’t your thing (or you’re planning on making these for family or friends who can’t handle the heat), you can decrease the amount of cayenne pepper in the recipe to help tone down the spice.
How to Make Nashville Hot Wings
These grilled Nashville hot wings take a few extra steps outside of your traditional grilled wings, but they’re worth it. Here are the basic steps to making these wings. For a full ingredients list and further details, scroll to the printable recipe card below. The four basic steps are brine, dredge, grill, and oil.
- Brine. Brine the chicken wings in buttermilk and hot sauce for 4 hours in the refrigerator.
- Dredge. Make the dredge mixture (ingredients found below in the recipe card) in a shallow pan. Use tongs to remove 1 chicken wing at a time from the brine and coat it in the flour mixture. Be sure to thoroughly coat the chicken in the flour.
- Grill. With your charcoal grill preheated to 450 degrees F for two-zone cooking, place the coated chicken directly on the grates over the indirect heat (away from the charcoal). Spray the wings with a high-heat oil (like avocado oil) until the flour is lightly coated. Close the lid and grill for 20 minutes. Flip and spray again with oil. Close the lid and cook for another 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches 170 degrees F as measured with an instant-read meat thermometer. If you like, you can move the chicken to the direct heat for a few minutes to crisp the exterior.
- Oil. Add cooking oil to a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes or until the oil starts to shimmer on top. Add seasonings to the oil. Keep the oil hot until ready to use. Remove the chicken from the grill and set it over a cooling rack. Next, baste each wing in the hot oil. Serve immediately over a slice of white bread with pickles.
Tips for Nashville Hot Wings
Here are some tips for making these Nashville hot wings using my “kettle fried” grilling technique.
- Don’t skip the cornstarch. The cornstarch in your dredge will give you the crisp you need to compensate for the last of frying.
- Indirect heat is your friend. The grill running at about 450 degrees F will be hot enough to cook and crisp the chicken without burning the flour. If you find your coating is still a little light in color, you can move it over direct heat for a few minutes to add additional color and crunch.
- Spray oil can be your friend and can also be scary. The bottle tells you not to spray directly over heat for good reason. Be careful when spritzing your chicken over indirect heat that you don’t spray that oil over your hot coals. You could create a firebomb and we don’t want that!
More Chicken Wings Recipes
If you’re looking for a handful of other tasty chicken wings recipes, look no further than Hey Grill Hey! We’ve got them all, including grilled and smoked wings (and even smoked THEN fried wings!). Check out a few of our most popular recipes below.
Nashville Hot Wings Recipe
Continue below for the full printable recipe card. Did this recipe turn out to be everything you needed and more? If so, let us know in the comments below. You can also catch more behind-the-scenes content from Hey Grill Hey on social media by searching @HeyGrillHey.
Grilled Nashville Hot Wings
- 2 ½ pounds chicken wings (flats and drumettes)
- 2 cups buttermilk
- ⅓ cup hot sauce
- 2 cups flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
Chili Oil Dunk
- 1 cup cooking oil (I prefer canola oil for this recipe)
- ⅓ cup cayenne pepper
- 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Brine the chicken. Combine the buttermilk and the hot sauce and add the chicken wings. Mix to thoroughly coat the wings and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Preheat the grill. Preheat your charcoal grill to 450 degrees F with your charcoal arranged on one side of the grill basin and no charcoal on the other (two-zone cooking).
- Make the dredge. Prepare your chicken for grilling by setting up a dredging station. In one shallow pan, whisk to combine the flour, cornstarch, and all of the seasonings.
- Coat the chicken. Use tongs to move one chicken wing at a time from the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, thoroughly coating the chicken wing in the flour.
- Grill. Place the coated chicken wings directly on the grill grates, on the indirect heat side of the grill, away from the charcoal. Spray the wings with a high heat spray cooking oil (I like avocado) until the flour on the wings is lightly coated. Close the lid of the grill and allow to cook for 20 minutes before flipping. After gently flipping the chicken wings, spray them again with cooking oil. Be cautious here to only spray the oil on the wings and not near the burning charcoal. Close the grill lid again and cook for approximately 20 more minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through to 170 degrees F. If your chicken hasn't browned as much as you'd like, you can gently move them to the direct heat side of the grill to crisp the exterior for 2-3 minutes.
- Prepare the oil. While your wings cook, prepare your hot oil dunk. Add your cooking oil to a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the oil starts to shimmer on top. Add in all of the seasonings while whisking and turn off the heat. The heat will infuse the chilis and spices throughout the oil. Keep the oil hot until ready to use.
- Coat in hot oil. When your chicken comes off the grill, set it on a cooling rack above a cookie sheet covered in a paper towel. This prevents the finished chicken from turning soggy. Baste each chicken wing in the hot chili oil, making sure there is a good amount of chili in each baste. Once your chicken is coated, you’re ready to serve with lots of pickles, white bread, and napkins!
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