My husband and I have been loving our Traeger smoker – loving. The best thing we’ve cooked up so far? These crispy grilled chicken wings! The skin is earth shatteringly crispy. Don’t have a pellet grill? No problem! You can follow the same cook time for crispy grilled chicken wings on either a gas grill or charcoal grill too!
How to grill chicken wings so they’re crispy every single time
Could you cook these low and slow (around 250F) on a smoker or pellet grill? Of course. But I think the best chicken wings cook at high heat (450F) over direct heat, which results in impossibly crispy skin from grilling.
You really don’t need much to make crispy wings on the grill. Forget cornstarch or baking powder, both of which play an important role in many baked chicken wing recipes. Here, all you’ll need is the following:
- raw chicken wings (preferably wing tips removed)
- extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Can you add other seasonings or sauces? FOR SURE. When I’ve got Traeger dry rubs and seasonings in my pantry, I’ll often add a few tablespoons to the mix. But listen closely: YOU DON’T NEED IT.
What about hot sauce? Look, I love buffalo chicken wings as much as the next gal. Frank’s hot sauce is my jam, and when mixed with a little melted butter you’ve got yourself one hell of a chicken wing marinade or serving sauce. But again, you SO do not need it! My favorite grilled chicken wings are as pictured below at the top of the frame — simple, quick, easy, and CRISPY AF. (For reference, the bottom half of the sheet pan is chicken wings grilled with Traeger spice rub.)
How long does it take to grill chicken wings?
Whether you grill or smoke wings, cook them over direct high heat — the grill temperature should be around 450 F for 25-30 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 165F is reached. It’s no fail! This is the thermapen I recommend to ensure meats are always cooked to proper temperatures. Chicken must register 165F to be fully cooked and safe to eat.
As far as prep work, keep things simple. The best grilled chicken wings are tossed with olive oil (or a neutral oil), kosher salt, and black pepper, or simply mixed with a pre-made seasoning or dry rub (such as Traeger). I’ve cooked wings side-by-side for the sake of comparison. Both ways are great!
No need to complicate it further with lots of marinades or seasonings. Sometimes the best things in life (like the ultimate crispy chicken wings) are the simplest.
Best wood for Traeger grilled chicken wings
To make Traeger smoked chicken wings, I recommend apple wood — the flavor is insane! But grilled wings are also great with mesquite, hickory, or maple woods. With something as straightforward as grilled chicken, you can safely bet that most wood varieties will pair with it just fine.
Best dips and sauces for serving with grilled chicken wings
The sky’s the limit! I much prefer to keep the chicken wing recipe simple and let everyone choose their favorite sauce to serve with them. A few great options:
- Classic dipping sauces for chicken wings: buffalo sauce (shoutout to Frank’s hot sauce!), blue cheese, ranch dressing, cracked peppercorn
- Something a little different: soy-ginger sauce, sweet chili, bbq, lemon-pepper, or chermoula (a Moroccan herb sauce)
How to make crispy chicken wings on a gas grill
Same method!! Keep the prep work minimal. The main difference is there’s no infusion of wood flavor into the meat from smoking or grilling on a pellet grill. Regardless of which type of grill or smoker you use, stick with high heat (450F) for 25-30 minutes and you’ll be golden (just like your grilled chicken wings!) (ba dum cha!)
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More Grilling Recipes To Try!
- Simple grilled lobster tails and clams
- Grilled blackened salmon with pineapple-avocado salsa
- Smoked Boston butt (pulled pork sliders!)
- Easy grilled potato salad with snap peas and burrata
- Grilled romaine with lemon-caesar vinaigrette
- Epic grilled s’mores crostini
30-Minute Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings
- 3 lbs chicken wings wings and tips separated
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp Traeger fin and feather seasoning blend optional, or any other poultry or homemade seasoning blend
- Blue cheese, ranch, buffalo sauce for serving, optional
- Season the wings. Place chicken wings in a large mixing bowl. Toss wings with 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp Kosher salt, and 1 tsp black pepper, then set aside. If using a spice seasoning or dry rub, add olive oil to wings, but omit the salt and pepper.
- To cook the wings on a smoker. Preheat a smoker or pellet grill to 450F. Place wings directly on the grates, allowing excess oil to drip over the mixing bowl, then cook for 30 minutes over direct heat, turning every 5-10 minutes or so, until an internal temperature of 165F is reached. Serve immediately, with sauces, if using.
- To cook the wings on a gas grill. Preheat a gas grill over medium-high heat to 425-450F. Place wings directly on the grill grates, allowing excess oil to drip over the mixing bowl, then cook for 20-30 minutes (this really depends on the size/thickness of the wings) over direct heat, turning every 5-10 minutes or so, until an internal temperature of 165F is reached. Serve immediately, with sauces, if using.Note: gas grills are more prone to flare ups. It's important to allow excess oil to drip off the wings before placing over direct heat.
- To reheat – Place chicken wings on a parchment or foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Reheat in an oven preheated to 375F until skin crisps up again, about 10 minutes.
- To serve with classic buffalo sauce – combine ½ cup Frank’s hot sauce, 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, and 1 Tbsp white vinegar in a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer until butter is melted. Toss cooked wings with sauce just before serving.