BBQ grilled chicken wings are the perfect grilling food for summertime. Grilled to perfection in a sweet and smoky homemade BBQ sauce, these wings can be eaten with one hand while holding a cold drink in the other! Perfect for any summer get together and a guaranteed crowd pleaser!
This post is brought to you by M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks, a supporter of really great BBQ this summer! All opinions are entirely my own.
Summer is here and that means it’s time to fire up that grill and start barbequing these BBQ Grilled Chicken Wings! These yummy little wings are perfect for any poolside appetizer and also are perfect as a main dish.
Living in a warm climate has its advantages. I grill and smoke all kinds of food year round, but there is just something special about grilling and smoking meat during the summer months. Firing up the grill and/or smoker just “fits”. There are so many amazing recipes I’ve created that are perfect for grilling and smoking, like my 10 Garlic Clove Marinated Grilled Filet and my Applewood Smoked Chicken and now, I have a brand new BBQ Grilled Chicken Wings that you are going to fall in love with!
How to Make Grilled BBQ Chicken Wings
There’s 2 steps to making these wings. The first thing we want to do is make the rub. You’ll need the following:
- Ranch dressing
- Fresh garlic
- Chicken wings
- Cayenne pepper
- Mince the garlic and add to a bowl. Combine the fresh minced garlic, cayenne pepper, and salt with a spoon.
- Gently rub the mixture onto each wing. The rub is going to be moist and it’s not going to spread well and that’s ok. The goal here is to get the fresh garlic and cayenne pepper directly on the chicken wings for flavor purposes. This step enhances the flavor of the wings.
- Now it’s time to baste these wings in BBQ sauce and ranch dressing.
What’s the Best BBQ Sauce to Use on Chicken Wings?
Before we go any further, let’s talk about BBQ sauce for a minute. You have the option to use store bought BBQ sauce or make your own. And I’ve done both. But I’m pretty partial to making my own homemade BBQ sauce because well…it’s just AMAZING.
This BBQ sauce recipe is easy to make and both sweet and smoky. Can’t decide if you like your BBQ sauce smoky or sweet? Well, I’m going to give you the best of both worlds. This BBQ sauce is on the sweeter side, but my secret to cutting some of the sweetness is to add just enough strong brewed coffee to the BBQ sauce while it’s simmering on the stove. The coffee also adds a bit of smoky flavoring.
Ok…back to these wings.
- We’re going to start by making a pocket out of aluminum foil. Pull and cut a long piece of foil from the roll and place 3-4 chicken wings on the foil.
- Using a basting brush, evenly coat ranch dressing on each side of the chicken wings. Then, baste the BBQ sauce on top of the ranch covered wings. The goal in this step is to ensure each chicken wing is covered with fresh garlic, cayenne pepper, ranch dressing, and BBQ sauce. This step is what gives these wings the flavor.
- Now it’s time to seal the foil packets. Pull each side up and fold the top. Now fold each end to ensure the foil packet is sealed.
- Preheat the grill and toss on the foil packets.
- Grill for 30 minutes. There is no need to “flip” the packets or move them around. Just let them cook on the grill.
- I took a little sneak peak about 25 minutes into grilling these packets. As you can see, the chicken is starting to reflect that golden grilled appearance and the meat is starting to fall off the bones. That’s what you want.
- Once the chicken wings are done, remove them from the foil packets and place them on a plate. Again, the meat should be slightly falling off the bone at this point and have that golden brown appearance.
- You’re going to take the chicken wings and place them back on the grill. Gently brush on the BBQ sauce and let the wings finish grilling about 5 minutes on each side.
- You’ll know they’re done based on the the total time they cooked (about 30 minutes), the golden color, and the grill marks.
Grilling and Smoking BBQ Chicken Wings
This recipe works perfect for both the grill or the smoker. I have a basic grill and a basic smoker, but as much grilling and smoking as we do here at our house, I’m thinking it’s time to upgrade soon! M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks builds BBQ trailers, grills, and smokers that are for the more serious level home griller. And ya’ll…that’s quickly becoming me! I love custom builds and I love quality!
Grilling and Smoking Times for Chicken Wings
- If you’re grilling these wings, you’ll grill them in the packets for 30 minutes. Then, you’ll add them to the grill for an additional 5 minutes so you can ensure you get crispy grilled BBQ chicken wings.
- If you’re smoking these on a smoker, you’ll want to smoke on 225 degrees for about 2.5 hours.
Should I Use Bite Size or Normal Size Chicken Wings?
You can make this recipe with the appetizer size chicken wings or you can make them with regular sized chicken wings. I’ve done both and the recipe turns out so amazing regardless of the size of the chicken wing. I prefer the bigger chicken wings because they are big, juicy, and so flavorful. That’s more of a meal for me. When I’m entertaining, I tend to buy a bag of the frozen bite size wings. Just let them completely thaw and you’re ready to start grilling.
One thing is for sure…regardless of the size of wing you use, these won’t last long so grab them while they are hot!
What Goes with BBQ Chicken Wings?
I think the better question is what doesn’t go with BBQ chicken wings? So many wonderful sides pair with these grilled chicken wings with BBQ sauce, like my Potato Salad and my Grilled Corn with Fresh Lime and Cotija Cheese. If you’re smoking these wings, they pair amazingly well with my Smoked Macaroni and Cheese and my Smoker Baked Beans with Bacon.
Summertime is a great season to enjoy the simple things in life. Take the time to hang out with your friends and family. Relax and enjoy the pool. Take the time to grill and/or smoke your favorite BBQ this summer!
This recipe is super simple to make, it’s gluten free, and I guarantee your friends and family will be raving over these BBQ Grilled Chicken Wings this summer! Happy Eats!
If you made this recipe, leave me a comment and give this recipe a star review! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #recipesworthrepeating and tagging me @recipesworthrepeating.
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BBQ Grilled Chicken Wings
Rub for Chicken Wings
BBQ Sauce Ingredients
- 2 cups ketchup
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 Tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 Tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1/2 Tablespoon granulated onion
- 1/2 Tablespoon parsley, dried
- 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee (I used Starbuck's Pike's Peak but any Dark or French Roast will work)
To Make the BBQ Sauce
- Combine all BBQ Sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Stir until mixed well.
- Simmer together in a saucepan until it starts bubbling. Once the sauce starts to get thick, remove from heat and set aside.
To Make the Wings
- In a mixing bowl, combine the fresh minced garlic, cayenne pepper and salt. Gently run the mixture onto each wing.
- Take a large piece of aluminum foil and place on counter. Place 2 regular sized chicken wings onto the foil (or 4-5 smaller ones). Gently brush on the ranch dressing and the BBQ sauce until the wings are coated on both sides.
- Fold the aluminum foil on the sides and in the middle until you have an aluminum pockets.
- Light your grill and when heated, add the foil pockets onto the grill.
- Grill the chicken wings in the aluminum pockets for 30 minutes, or until the meat is just starting to fall off the bone.
- Once done, remove the aluminum pockets from the grill and remove the wings and place them on a plate. Toss the aluminum pockets.
- Take the wings and gently place them back onto the grill. Brush on the BBQ sauce until fully coated. Grill for about 5 minutes on that one side.
- After 5 minutes, turn the wings over and brush on the BBQ sauce until fully coated. Grill for about 5 minutes on this side.
- Once done, remove the wings from the grill and place on a plate. Serve immediately with extra BBQ sauce, Ranch dressing and garnish with carrots and celery!
- If you're smoking these on a smoker, you'll want to smoke on 225 degrees for about 2.5 hours.
- Store any leftover BBQ sauce in the refrigerator.
- BBQ sauce recipe inspired by my dear friend Tyler Bain, the best engineer of software and food!
- Update Notes: This post was originally published in May 2017, but was re-published with updated step-by-step instructions, pictures, and tips in June 2019.