The Best Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings – From Your Gas Grill
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According to the Hearth, Patio & BBQ Association, around 70% of adults own a grill or smoker with 65% of those having a gas grill. That’s a lot of gas grills in backyards across the United States! While the gas grill may be looked down up by live fire aficionados, I couldn’t live without mine It’s so easy, convenient, and makes the best crispy grilled chicken wings of any of my backyard cookers.
There are a couple reasons for this. The first is heat control and the second reason is direct heat. A gas grill is really good at maintaining constant temperatures as compared to a charcoal grill. On the other hand a pellet grill can hold temperatures for a long time, but it doesn’t use direct heat. The common place gas grill can do both.
Constant Heat for Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings
I love all my cookers equally, but they all excel in an area that the other’s don’t. My early 90’s Weber Summit gasser is an amazing cooking machine. Its’ ability maintain consistent and even temperatures at any level is just as good as my pellet grill; and my pellet grill has a PID controller that is constantly monitoring temperatures and making adjustments. Compare that to my Weber, which is just a couple of mechanical knobs!
My other cooker is a Weber kettle which can hold constant temperatures, but it takes a little more skill. Considering we need to cook the wings about 50 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, the charcoal grill is going to start to struggle after 30 – 40 minutes. Maybe if you have an expensive ceramic cooker like a Big Green Egg or a Kamado Joe it would be different, but for me and a majority of other people, the gas grill is the way to go.
Direct Heat For The Win
I have been able cook a decent crispy grilled chicken wing on my charcoal grill, but the gas grill is better. The reason is direct heat. I usually set up my charcoal grill for indirect heat cooking wings. So when the fat renders out of a wing, it will fall onto bottom of the cool side of the grill and that’s not what we want in this case.
A gas grill typically has radiant heat bars below the cooking surface to try and evenly distribute heat. So when those fat drippings fall on to the heat bars they will vaporize. Those vapors then come back up and adhere to the meat. That is what gives grilled food it’s grilled taste. Weber actually calls those radiant heat deflectors, flavor bars, for a reason.
Tips To Make The Best Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings
Make sure your grill is sitting around 300 degrees. I’ve found this to be the best temperature as is renders the fat nicely without burning the wings. For my grill, I set all the knobs as low as they will go. If your grill is running hot, you can close the value to the gas source to get to the target temperature.
You will also need to pre-heat your grill for at least 15 minutes. This will allow the grates to heat up sufficiently to prevent the chicken skin from sticking. Speaking of grates, make sure to clean them as good as you can. I use a wood scraper like this. What’s nice about the wood scrapers is that they conform to your grates over time, making it a snap to clean. This particular one comes with a meat thermometer which leads me into my last point.
Last but certainly not least, make sure you cook the wings to an internal temperature of 200 degree Fahrenheit! GASP! Yes, I know that according to the FDA, chicken is cooked all the way through at 165. But cooked all the way through doesn’t necessarily mean that the chicken is cooked as good as it can be! Wings, and dark meat in general, have a lot more connective tissue and fat in them as compared to the breasts. The connective tissue needs to be cooked to a higher temperature to break down, and since the wings have so much fat in them, they won’t taste dried out. This also gives the skin plenty of time to turn crispy which is exactly what this is all about.
I hope your next batch of grilled chicken wings turns our crispy and dare I say, better than fried!
Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings
- gas grill
- 2 -3 pounds chicken wings
- ½ tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon oil (canola, vegetable)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Light your (gas) grill on low between 275°F – 300°F. You may need to close the propane tank slightly to achieve this temperature. Let the grill preheat for a minimum of 15 minutes. Make sure to clean the grates as much as possible.
- Lightly coat the wings with the oil and sprinkle on the kosher salt. Toss to ensure even coverage.
- Place the wings on the grill. The wings should sizzle slightly on the grates. If not, keep preheating the grill. Close the lid of the grill
- After 25 minutes, the wings should be ready to flip. Using tongs, gently release the wings from the grates and flip.
- After the wings have hit an internal temperature of 200°F, remove from the grill and toss with the butter. Set the grill to high heat.
- Toss the wings back on the grill for another 2 – 3 minutes with the lid open. Constantly move the wings to prevent burning.
- Remove the wings from the grill, sauce or season as you like and then enjoy!