Chicken Wings are one of our all times favorite indulgences. While we have several chicken wing recipes right here on our site, Grilled Buffalo Wings is one of our go to favorites (and the quickest to make). Easy to prep, quick to cook, and with a simple hack to get the deep fried texture but with the flavor of wood fire grilling.
Honestly, we will make chicken wings ALL year long. While they certainly make a great tailgating recipe idea, they’re also fantastic year-round as a snack or full meal. No matter how you make these, or when you make these, they will fulfill your Buffalo wing craving and then some, for a grilled take on the classic flavor.
We’ve done smoked wings in this style that turn out amazing as well if you want add a little extra kiss of smoke flavor.
Why This Recipe Works
- Corn Starch (versus baking powder) is added to the dry rub to help get that crispy deep fried flavor (without actually frying the wings.
- Using two-zone grilling allows the right amount of time (and heat) to cook the wings thoroughly and finish with crispy skin.
- A simple mix of hot sauce and butter gives a coating to the wings for that perfect classic Buffalo flavor combination.
Buffalo Wings Ingredients
The main ingredients for this grilled Buffalo wings recipe is of course the chicken wings. These are made up of the drums and flats or party wings as you may see them in the store. Typically when buying wings, you can expect 10 to 12 wings per pound. The remaining ingredients are all about the flavor and texture.
If you buy the entire wing together simply separate them with a sharp knife and remove the wing tips. If you can’t find wings locally you can also source via mail order through great purveyors like D’Artagnan Fine Foods who source locally from small farms throughout the world.
- Dry Rub – We keep it simple with our go-to beef rub, otherwise known as our SPG Rub. Typically we use 1 tablespoon of dry rub for each pound of wings.
- Corn Starch – Corn starch is the secret ingredient to get that deep fried texture, but cooked on the grill instead of deep frying. Use an equal ratio of corn starch and dry rub.
- Frank’s RedHot hot sauce – No, they aren’t paying us to say this. It’s the distinct flavor that comes from the traditional Buffalo Wing and we love it. It has the right balance of vinegar and pepper flavor. It’s the only sauce we’ll use for this style of Buffalo wings!
- Butter – To help the sauce adhere to the wings, melting butter in the Frank’s is a must.
See recipe card for quantities.
Grilled Buffalo Style Wings are all about the sauce. But before we get to the sauce, we start by preparing the wings.
- In a small bowl combine the dry rub and the corn starch. Stir to combine.
- Be sure the wings have been patted dry with a paper towel and are dry, and then place the wings in a one gallon plastic baggie.
- Pour the dried seasoning into the baggie, close, and shake the baggie to coat the wings liberally.
- Place onto the grill to cook.
Usetwo-zone grilling or indirect cooking where you start the wings away from the direct heat source, and then finish over indirect heat if needed. Often the indirect side will completely crisp up the wings with no need for a direct finish.
- Prepare the grill for two-zone cooking method using lump charcoal.
- When the internal temperature of the grill reaches 400 degrees Fahrenheit, place the seasoned wings on the indirect side of the grill.
- Cover the grill and grill wings for 15 minutes. Then flip the wings.
- Continue grilling indirect for an additional 15 minutes over indirect heat.
- At this point the wings should be crispy on all sides to the touch. If they are not, then move them to the direct heat side and finish over direct heat for about 1 minute per side.
Chef’s Tip – Use a good instant read thermometer like the Thermoworks Thermapen One to make sure the chicken is done. While the minimum safe zone for chicken per the USDA is 165 degrees F, the flats and drums actually taste better when cooked to 175 – 180 degrees. After 30 minutes they should be at that temperature.
Easy Buffalo Wing Sauce
We use the most traditional flavor for a medium heat Buffalo sauce. It starts with Frank’s RedHot hot sauce and butter. We use a ratio of 1 cup sauce and 2 tablespoons butter for every pound of wings. (We like excess sauce)
- In a small pan, pour in one cup of the Frank’s and 2 tablespoons of butter.
- Over medium heat, slowly melt the butter into the sauce, stirring consistently. Once the butter is melted turn off the heat after 2 additional minutes.
Chef’s Tip – You don’t want to boil the sauce otherwise the fats will separate and the sauce will be thin and won’t properly coat the wings. So it’s best to slowly melt the butter, then turn off the heat as soon as the butter and sauce incorporate.
Bringing the wings and sauce together
As soon as the wings come off the grill, place them in a large bowl and then pour in the warm sauce. Toss the hot wings in the warm sauce and then plate them. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
To time the sauce and wings to come off warm at same time, we start the sauce about 10 minutes before we anticipate the wings to be done.
Then dip in your favorite sauce. Drop a comment on your favorite – ranch or blue cheese!
Other Wing Recipe Ideas and Inspirations
- Smoked Buffalo Chicken Wings
- Wings on the Smoker with Thai Chili Sauce
- BBQ Chicken Wings
- Grilled Buffalo Chicken Sliders
- Buffalo Chicken Dip
For consideration, be sure to follow safe food handling practices.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C) – but in reality the drums and flats taste better when cooked to 180.
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
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This post was originally published in May 2017, and updated in October 2021 with frequently asked questions and more specific recipe details. The original recipe remains the same.
Grilled Buffalo Wings Recipe
- 1 Gallon Plastic Baggie
Buffalo Wing Sauce
- In a small pan over medium heat, pour in one cup of the Frank’s and 2 tablespoons of butter. Slowly melt the butter into the sauce, stirring consistently. Once the butter is melted, turn off the heat after 2 additional minutes. Do NOT bring to a boil, otherwise the butter will separate from the sauce.
- Prepare the grill for two-zone cooking targeting 400 degrees F.
- In a small bowl combine the beef seasoning and corn starch. Place the wings in a 1-gallon plastic baggie, then pour the dry rub mix into the baggie. Seal and shake vigorously. They are now ready to grill.
- Place the seasoned wings on the indirect side of the grill. Cover the grill and grill wings for 15 minutes. Then flip the wings and grill an additional 15 minutes.
- At this point the wings should be crispy on all sides to the touch. If not place them on the direct side of the grill and finish over direct heat for about 1 minute per side.
- Place the warm wings in a large bowl. Pour the warm sauce in the bowl and then toss them together to coat the wings. Place on a plate and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.