Food & Drink

Grilling chicken wings- not crispy

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Jan 27, 2014
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Grilling chicken wings- not crispy

So I've been grilling chicken wings. My flats turn out crispy but not my drumsticks.

I oil my grates and use an accurate thermometer to cook to 175 degrees. Not sure what I'm doing wrong?
31 replies
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
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How do you prep the wings? Air drying will help.
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Aug 16, 2010
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I dry them in the fridge overnight uncovered.
Sometimes, I'll dust them with baking powder.
I tend to start the wings skin side down, then flip skin side up.
I don't grill them the whole time with the lid on (too much steam).

Here's a pretty good article at Serious Eats about oven baked wings (close enough to grilled) and the effect of baking powder (not baking soda!) on wings. In the end, I've found that nothing is like deep fried but these steps at least brings me closer.
https://www.seriouseats.com/the-best-bu ... ngs-recipe
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May 2, 2009
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Try seasoned corn starch? And a light coating of spray oil?
Deal Guru
Nov 15, 2008
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I dunno, stick your finger under the skin of the drumstick to loosen it away from the meat (works with breasts/birds), then set them in front of your air conditioner to really dry.

You could also consider par-frying them halfway before you grill.
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Apr 7, 2012
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Honestly, I don't know if it's possible to get really crunchy skin on grilled chicken - the only times I got anything crunchy on chicken was when I left it on the grill too long and it was on its way to being overdone (burned to a 'crisp').

I have an electric smoker and I smoke a lot of chicken and the occasional turkey. While the meat tastes wonderful, one of the drawbacks is that the skin turns rubbery and does not crisp up at all, and that's because it's impossible for the smoker to reach temperatures high enough to start rendering the fat in the skin. So, after the meat's been bathed in smoke for awhile, I finish it up in my oven to crisp up the skin, and it's worked well so far. I did try to crisp up the chicken on my barbecue once, but that didn't work out well, and I pretty much stick to my oven now.

So, my suggestion would be this - either turn up the heat on your grill after your chicken has hit the proper internal temperature and watch it closely till the skin reaches the desired level of crispy - or give the wings a couple of minutes in your oven, under the broiler, again, watching closely.

Hope that helps!
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Sep 5, 2009
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Mine turn out crispy when I leave them on the lowest heat and cook for a while. I don't flip or touch them until ready.
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Nov 15, 2020
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would brushing oil onto the skin help
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Nov 21, 2004
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My method for great grilled wings.... get the grill to around 350F, put the wings AS CLOSE TOGETHER AS POSSIBLE, flip every 5 minutes for a total of 20 minutes of cooking... turn grill to high while tossing the wings in sauce, place back on the grill AS SPACED AS POSSIBLE for 2 minutes a side to caramelize the sauce, remove and toss back in remaining sauce (if any) and serve
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Oct 13, 2008
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ar2020 wrote: So I've been grilling chicken wings. My flats turn out crispy but not my drumsticks.

I oil my grates and use an accurate thermometer to cook to 175 degrees. Not sure what I'm doing wrong?
Try DEEP FRYING to get crispy wings
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Charcoal is all you need, as hot as you can get it.
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Jun 12, 2003
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Gutty96 wrote: Charcoal is all you need, as hot as you can get it.
wouldn't that result in crispy skin but undercooked insides?

i assume that because that's the way to get a nice steak
ShadowVlican
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Jun 24, 2006
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ShadowVlican wrote: wouldn't that result in crispy skin but undercooked insides?

i assume that because that's the way to get a nice steak
No, they turn out great. You cook wings really hot, well past the "165" for chicken, so it falls off the bone.

Also, not the way to get a nice steak btw.
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Gutty96 wrote: No, they turn out great. You cook wings really hot, well past the "165" for chicken, so it falls off the bone.

Also, not the way to get a nice steak btw.
seems contrary to my understanding, but if it works 🤷‍♂️

i see folks on the cooking subreddit using chimney starters to sear their steaks... the ultra high temps make the outside undergo some chemical reaction, while the insides stay rare...
ShadowVlican
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jdmfishingonly wrote: Try DEEP FRYING to get crispy wings
This is the way. The only way.

Air fryer sprayed with oil is not too bad but if you want really crisp you need to fry in oil, add breading for really crisp.
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Jun 24, 2006
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ShadowVlican wrote: seems contrary to my understanding, but if it works 🤷‍♂️

i see folks on the cooking subreddit using chimney starters to sear their steaks... the ultra high temps make the outside undergo some chemical reaction, while the insides stay rare...
Searing is different from cooking. At some point you have to cook it to the temp you want. I prefer the reverse sear method, so slowly cook it to rare then rest and sear the outside.
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Oct 22, 2007
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Air fried some awesome wings today. Got MASSIVE wings at the butcher. 22 wings weighed 3.8lbs.
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If the OP is getting crispy flats I say go to a butcher and ask for all flats. They’ll do it if a real butcher.

Drum sticks are usually stringy I just avoid them. If I do buy drumsticks I’ll buy good quality and bigger isn’t better in my opinion.

I’ll probably get flamed for this. Go flats
Autocorrect sucks
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GangStarr wrote: If the OP is getting crispy flats I say go to a butcher and ask for all flats. They’ll do it if a real butcher.

Drum sticks are usually stringy I just avoid them. If I do buy drumsticks I’ll buy good quality and bigger isn’t better in my opinion.

I’ll probably get flamed for this. Go flats
Everyone has their preference

I like drums for E-Z blue cheese dipping!
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Sep 1, 2005
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Flats is better than drums if I had a choice.

No matter the technique or method of cooking I recommend pouring boiling water or blanching your wings first. This technique is employed for Peking Duck and roasted squab/pigeon in Asian restos. Not sure the "why" but it works.

Another "try" is to steam [some ppl use the Instant Pot] the wings first which is somewhat similar to boiling water/blanch.

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