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A Secret for Perfect Grilled Chicken Wings

The New York Post reported that Americans eat an average of 290 chicken wings per year, or nearly 18,000 over a lifetime. Whoa! We’re behind. Are you?

A great excuse to catch up is just on the horizon: Mark your calendar for July 29, National Chicken Wing Day. In fact, why not throw a casual party next weekend to show off your chicken wing skills? Links to some of our favorite wing recipes are below.

Here at, we actually get a lot of questions via email and social media about chicken wings. The most frequent one is, “The skin on my wings always seems to be rubbery. How do I achieve crisp skin?”

When we probe, we often discover the writer is attempting to smoke the wings at low temperatures (225 to 250 degrees) from start to finish. That method will produce rubbery skin as the temperatures aren’t high enough to render the fat. Our advice is to smoke-roast the wings at higher temperatures—at least 350 degrees—for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the wings.

We’ve also read for a few years about a method that involves adding baking powder to a dry rub before applying it to the raw wings, then letting the wings rest for 8 hours or more on a cooling rack, uncovered, in the refrigerator, before baking or indirect grilling.

Our first experiment with that method was a definite fail.

We set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheated it to medium, about 350 degrees. The coating browned prematurely, fell off the wings when we attempted to turn them, and after only 20 minutes, resembled toasted flour. But that wasn’t the worst part: The wings had a very unpleasant metallic taste.

A few trials later, we achieved success: perfectly cooked wings with well-seasoned, beautifully browned, crispy skin.

A few trials later, we achieved success: perfectly cooked wings with well-seasoned, beautifully browned, crispy skin.

We began by coating the wings lightly with extra virgin olive oil. (You could also use vegetable oil.) Add a couple of tablespoons of oil to a sturdy resealable plastic bag, then add the wings and seal the bag. Turn several times to coat the wings. Add your favorite rub and a tablespoon of aluminum-free baking powder to a second bag and transfer the wings to that bag, then shake to coat. The “aluminum-free” part is very important! We discovered it was the aluminum in the baking powder that gave the wings in our first experiment a metallic taste. The baking powder will not say “aluminum-free” on the label; you’ll have to read the ingredient list.

We did not bother to dry the wings in the refrigerator.

We set up our grill for indirect grilling and preheated it to 350 degrees. The wings were turned frequently after the first 20 minutes and were a joy to behold at the end of 45 minutes. They were beautifully and uniformly browned, the skin blistered, bubbling, and blissfully crisp, the meat perfectly cooked. The wings could have been doused in sauce the last 10 minutes, but we opted not to.


Here are more tips for perfect wings:

1. Save money by buying whole wings.

Save money by buying whole wings and breaking them down yourself. (Buy organic, air-chilled chicken when possible.) Lay each wing flat on a cutting board, then slice through the two knobby cartilaginous joints with a chef’s knife or cleaver. Reserve the “drumette” (it will look like a miniature chicken leg) and “flat” and either discard the wing tips or freeze them for stock.

2. Stretch whole wings out on skewers for maximum exposure to smoke and fire.

Alternatively, stretch whole wings out, Asian-style, on 12-inch bamboo skewers (soak the skewers in beer or cold water first, then drain) to maximize their exposure to the smoke and fire. This technique works best with larger wings. (For directions, see How to Grill, page 248.)

3. Avoid charring and flare-ups by indirect grilling your wings.

To avoid charring, flare-ups, and singed arm hair, indirect grill the wings for 30 to 40 minutes, turning once or twice. (Be sure to brush and oil the grill grate before starting as wings have a tendency to stick.) Put soaked, drained wood chips on top of the coals or in a smoker box for a smoky flavor.

Chicken wings with smoke

4. Test for doneness by making a small slit in the thickest part of the wing meat.

To test for doneness, make a small slit with a sharp knife in the thickest part of the wing meat. There should be no trace of pink at the bone—that is, unless you have smoked the chicken wings. Then you will see a smoke ring near the bone, but it should not appear bloody.

5. Apply wing sauce at the end of cooking time.

Apply wing sauce at the end of the cooking time or toss the wings in the sauce after removing them from the grill grate.


Ready to cook some wings? Try one of our favorite chicken wing recipes:

What’s your favorite chicken wing recipe? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or the Barbecue Board!

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Are you making the most out of your pellet grill? Here are five tips and tricks from our friends at Green Mountain Grills!

1. The reverse sear is a fun way to cook a great steak.

The reverse sear is a fun way to cook a great steak. Pellet grills are perfect for the reverse sear. You can smoke low at 150 degrees F. for max smoke at low and slow and then with the press of a button or an adjustment inside your APP, you can crank your pellet grill up to 550 degrees and add that sear for even more flavor. This gives you a perfect medium rare edge to edge. The built-in meat probes give you the ability to repeat your favorite internal temperatures.

2. Put cold meat into the smoker at a low setting for a smokier flavor.

This is a good trick for those large cuts of meat that you want to pull more smoke into. Next time you go for that long smoke on a brisket or even a Tri-Tip, try taking the cold meat that you have already dry rubbed right from your fridge into your smoker at a low setting. This will give you just a little bit more time for smoke to take hold.

Green Mountain Grills Pellets

3. Use the upper racks of your pellet grill.

One of the best accessories of a pellet grill are the upper racks. These give you extra space inside your cooker but they also decrease the radiant heat coming off the grease tray. An upper rack will allow for a more even cook and if you place a water pan under that rack, this will allow for those long brisket cooks to stay in an ideal environment.

4. The pizza attachment is a must have if you are a pizza fanatic.

The pizza attachment is a must have if you are a pizza fanatic. The genius of this attachment is temperature control with three types of heat. If you set the unit at 275 on your digital controller; you have a more than double surface temperature on your stone. The dome of the pizza attachment gives you a perfect radiant heat alongside the convection and conductive heats.

5. Use your pellet grill like you use your oven.

Let your creativity run. Anything you can do an oven, you can do on a pellet grill. Use different flavored pellets to add even more robust flavors to your foods.

Green Mountain Grills Pellet Grill


Find your new pellet grill at

Check out some of these fine recipes from GMG:


For research into new GMG Prime units-GMG Prime Videos:


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The exploding popularity of grilling and smoking has inspired a whole new generation of garage-based entrepreneurs to develop barbecue tools to enhance your outdoor experience. Some are ingenious. Some are clever. Some are useful. And some are a bit preposterous (cool, but preposterous!).

What tools do you really need for live-fire cooking? The list is actually a short one. Here are some of our favorite tools.

7 Essential Tools for Summer Grilling

1. Tongs

“Turn, don’t stab” is one of my grilling mantras. And for that, the best tool is a set of long handled, spring-loaded grill tongs. A BBQ fork pokes holes in the meat–best avoided when you can. I’m partial to tongs I invented called Lumatongs, which, have a two bright LED lights on one arm (removable) to illuminate the grill grate during an evening cook session.


2. Grill Brush

It’s something you do every time you light your grill and get it ready for grilling. And every time when you’re finished. Scour the grate with a stiff wire brush or scraper. When selecting a grill brush, choose one whose bristles are firmly anchored into a twisted wire armature, so they can’t pull loose and wind up in your food. For example, the Ultimate Grill Brush. Alternatively, pick up one of the wooden grill scrapers now available in grill stores these days. Avoid cheap brushes whose bristles fall out when they get wet.

3. Chimney Starter

Owners of charcoal and wood-burning grills can be ready to cook in just 15 to 20 minutes—about the same amount of time it takes to fire up a gas grill. Position a petroleum-based fire starter or crumpled newspaper underneath the unit, light, and the chimney starter does the rest. For a righteous, wood-enhanced fire, I like to fill the chimney starter with hardwood chunks.

Chimney Starter

4. Grilling Gloves

Grilling involves handling hot chimney starters, hot coals, and reaching across a hot grill grate. So you want a pair of sturdy insulated suede grill gloves. That are supple enough to preserve your dexterity. With sleeves that reach up to your elbows to protect your arms from the heat.

Suede Grilling Gloves

5. Thermometer

The question Steven is most often asked is probably, “How do I know when it’s done?” “Done,” of course, refers to hamburgers, steaks, pork shoulder, brisket, roast chicken, etc. It speaks not only to the aesthetics of barbecuing, but more importantly, to food safety. Invest in a reliable meat thermometer, preferably one with wireless connectivity so you can monitor what’s happening on your grill without hovering. Know your target temperature before you start your grill session.

Maverick Long Range Wireless Thermometer Set

6. Long-Handled Spatula

Talk about a substantial grilling tool! This oversized steel spatula with sleek pakkawood handle turns any food with ease. The sharp leading edge slides easily under food, while the holes in the spatula release steam to prevent sogginess. A built in bottle opener in the forged stainless steel handle makes it easy to always have a grilling beverage close at hand!

Stainless Steel Wide Spatula


7. Galvanized Steel Ash Can

If you’re a charcoal griller, it can be difficult to dispose of spent charcoal when you’re at home, or especially a tailgating or camping venue. This galvanized steel can is the ideal receptacle. Spent ashes can cool off while you enjoy the game, then be safely disposed of. Also great for keeping your charcoal dry.

Charcoal or Ash Can


What are YOUR essential tools for grilling? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, or the Barbecue Board!

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Our spirits soar each summer as the Independence Day celebrations draw us closer together with friends and family, and unite us around our grills. This year, we want to carry this spirit throughout the month of July and create fireworks on your grill all month long.

To celebrate in style, our partners are providing these fabulous prizes for one lucky winner!


The winner will receive:

  • Large Big Green Egg: The Large EGG can handle all of your cooking needs—from weeknight dinners to weekend pizza parties—exceeding all of your expectations for culinary perfection! Large enough for eight steaks at once, this kamado-style charcoal grill and smoker provides The Ultimate Cooking Experience.
  • The Ultimate Pitmaster Package from Creekstone Farms: This bundle is truly perfect for pitmasters and BBQ enthusiasts! You’ll be eating well with family and friends, with the items included: (1) 16-18-pound Prime Brisket, (4) racks of St. Louis Style Duroc Pork Ribs, and (2) Bone-In Duroc Pork Butts.
  • The Brisket Chronicles by Steven Raichlen: Find inspiration in both classic and boldly contemporary techniques. With 60 ingenious recipes that capture the full range of what is possible with this versatile cut of beef.
  • Project Smoke Barbecue Sauce 6-Pack: Switch up your grilling mojo with 6 world-influenced barbecue sauce flavors: Cabernet Rosemary, Cherry Beer, Chipotle Molasses, Lemon Brown Sugar, Smoky Mustard, Spicy Apple Barbecue.
  • Best of Barbecue Pit Mitt: This mitt makes for agile handling of items while grilling. The aramid fiber glove with soft cotton lining allows you to comfortably handle hot items directly on a very hot grill. The Pit Mitt is reversible for the left or right hand and has a silicone textured surface for superior grip.
  • Best of Barbecue Himalayan Salt Brick: Himalayan salt is rich in trace minerals, which adds to the depth of flavor your foods will achieve when cooked, chilled or presented on the beautiful pink salt brick. When heated and used to press food, it speeds up the cooking process and flavors your food from the top down.


Enter the Sweepstakes

Use your email address to complete your entry below.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to US residents of the 48 contiguous United States, age 18 years as of July 31, 2019. Sweepstakes begins at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) on 7/2/2019 and ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on 7/31/2019. Click here for official rules. Void where prohibited.


Take a video tour of the Large Big Green Egg:


Study Up on the Prizes:

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