Grilled Cajun Chicken Wings Recipe

Crispy, spice-encrusted wings tossed with a savory Buffalo-style sauce.

A large plate of grilled cajun chicken wings on the right hand side of the image. On the left side is a smaller blue plate with three chicken wings on it and a glass holding a glass of a golden-colored beverage.

Serious Eats / Eric Kleinberg

Why It Works

  • Resting the seasoned wings on a wire rack for 8 hours helps them crisp up faster on the grill.
  • Adding baking powder to the rub further increases the crispiness of the skin and enhances browning.
  • Spiking the Buffalo-style sauce with a little Worcestershire adds welcome savory notes.

Personally, I only have a passing interest in the Super Bowl itself, and my fanaticism ensues with a crazy night of wings that invariably ends with my face painted with bright orange sauce. I proudly wear that mask as a testament to my love for those little crunchy, meaty morsels, as well as my never-ending dedication to developing new and better recipes, like grilled Cajun hot wings.

These were a product of an intense Cajun kick—which has so far brought an incredible jambalaya and amazing ribs. Like most else I made during this time, the wings started with a coating of Cajun seasoning, but I added in some baking powder to get that crispy skin I'm looking for.

After an eight-hour rest in the fridge, the seasoned wings were grilled over indirect heat until blistered and crunchy, then tossed in a simple sauce of butter, Louisiana-style hot sauce, and Worcestershire.

My friends unanimously agreed that these were some of the best wings I'd ever made (and I've made a lot of wings). The highly seasoned skin gives them an earthy and spicy coating and the sauce has a complexity that goes beyond the standard Buffalo. They're certainly Super Bowl party-worthy, and I'm sure they'll be in the mix, among a few other favorites as well.

February 2013

Recipe Facts

4.7

(3)

Active: 20 mins
Total: 9 hrs
Serves: 4 servings

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Ingredients

For the Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon (4g) baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 3 pounds (1.36kg) chicken wings, cut into drumettes and flats

For the Sauce

  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Louisiana-style hot sauce

  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) Worcestershire sauce

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together baking powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne.

    A small ceramic bowl holding the Cajun spice blend.

    Serious Eats / Eric Kleinberg

  2. Pat chicken wings dry with paper towels. Place wings in a large bowl and sprinkle with seasoning mixture, tossing to evenly coat. Arrange wings in a single layer on a wire rack set inside a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, leaving a little space between each wing. Place baking sheet with wings in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

    A two-image collage. The top image shows the spice-coated raw chicken wings in a large ceramic bowl. The bottom image shows the chicken wings placed on a wire rack set inside of a sheet pan lined with foil. The chicken pieces are spaced so that they're not touching, which helps them brown.

    Serious Eats / Eric Kleinberg

  3. When ready to grill, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Set aside.

    A stainless steel saucepan holding the sauce ingredients which are being stirred together with a wooden spoon.

    Serious Eats / Eric Kleinberg

  4. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place the wings skin side up over the cool side of the grill, cover, and cook until skins are crisp and browned, about 45 minutes.

    A two-image collage. The top image shows the chicken wings neatly lined up on the cool side of a black kettle charcoal grill. The bottom image shows the chicken wings, still lined up but now flipped over demonstrating that they've cooked.

    Serious Eats / Eric Kleinberg

  5. Transfer wings to a large bowl. Add in sauce and toss to thoroughly coat wings. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.

    The cooked chicken wings coated with sauce inside of a large ceramic bowl.

    Serious Eats / Eric Kleinberg

Special Equipment

Grill, chimney starter

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1228 Calories
94g Fat
37g Carbs
58g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1228
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 94g 121%
Saturated Fat 37g 184%
Cholesterol 309mg 103%
Sodium 2292mg 100%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 58g
Vitamin C 20mg 102%
Calcium 288mg 22%
Iron 5mg 28%
Potassium 670mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)