Hot Wings


Serious Barbecue

Published by APL Publishing

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Think of every great hot wing you’ve ever had and say a final goodbye--these Buffalo-style beauties are about to become your go-to wings.  I don’t change the classic recipe too much--don’t you worry, the winning combination of butter and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce is here-but I add a chile seasoning blend, some scallions and chives, and even grated garlic and jalapeno.  Add some mild wood while you’re cooking for yet another layer of flavor.

NotesFor the Herb Bundle: Use 1 bunch fresh herb(s) such as thyme, sage, or rosemary, or any combination.Using kitchen twine, tie the bunch to the end of a wooden kitchen spoon or a dowel. This will make it easier to use as a brush for basting. 


Cooking Methodgrilling


Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

Occasiongame day

Recipe Courseside dish

Dietary Considerationegg-free, peanut free, soy free


Five Ingredients or LessYes


Taste and Texturecheesy, crisp, hot & spicy, juicy, meaty, savory, sharp, smoky, spiced


  • 24 whole, fully intact chicken wings (tips still attached)
  • ¼ cup mild chile powder, preferably Chimayo, Ancho, or Hatch
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¾ teaspoon coarsely ground fresh black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning 
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or other hot sauce
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter cut into ¼ inch cubes
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green portions
  • ¼ cup finely chopped chives
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled, halved, germ removed, and grated on Microplane grater
  • 1 jalapeño chile, grated on a microplane grater, stopping before the seeds
  • 1 bunch thyme, tied in an herb bundle (see Notes)
  • ¼ to ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Coarsely ground fresh black pepper
  • 1 recipe Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 1 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 4 ounces, if starting with a block)
  • 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
  • 6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives


  1. For the wings:

    1. Preheat an indirect barbecue with a drip pan and fruitwood (preferably apple), a ceramic cooker with a deflector plate and fruitwood (preferably apple), or a charcoal or gas grill with a box or packet of fruitwood (preferably apple) to 350°F.

  2. Combine all the ingredients for the seasoning blend. Using the poultry shears or a chef’s knife, cut the tip off the end of each of the wings and discard. Separate the drumette from the wingette by cutting through the joint. In two disposable aluminum pans, preferably 13 ½ x 9 5/8 x 2 ¾ inch lasagna pans that will hold the wings in a single layer, spread the butter (2 tablespoons in each) in the bottom, and divide the water between the pans. Place the wings in a large bowl and toss with the seasoning blend to coat evenly on all sides. Arrange the wings in an even layer in the two pans. Top each with heavy-duty aluminum foil, and crimp to seal.

  3. Place the wings in the cooker, stacking the pans on top of each other, if needed to fit, and rotating them from top to bottom halfway through the cooking. Cook for 45 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, during the last 20 minutes of cooking, if you have not been using a charcoal or gas grill or ceramic cooker up to this point, preheat your direct cooker to medium-low, adding hardwood (preferably hickory, oak, or pecan) to smoke, if desired. Pour the hot sauce onto a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the butter and swirl the pan until the butter is completely incorporated. Add the scallions and the chives. Remove from direct heat, but keep in a warm spot.

  5. Transfer the chicken wings to a sheet pan or work surface and lightly pat dry with paper towels. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid and combine with the garlic and grated jalapeno. Using your hands or a brush, evenly, but lightly, coat the wings with canola oil.

  6. Place the wings on the grates and cook until well marked and lightly charred on the first side, about 10 minutes. Flip all of the wings.

  7. Remove the wings from the cooker and immediately toss in a large bowl with the hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a clean bowl, if desired, and serve with blue cheese dressing in the side.

  8. For the dressing:

    1. Combine the cheese, mayonnaise, vinegar, 1 ½ tablespoons of the sugar, and the cream. Add additional sugar to taste. Stir in the chives.

    2. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight for the flavors to develop.


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