Grilled Buffalo Wings with Honey Blue Cheese Sauce

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You don’t need an oven or deep fryer to get crispy delicious buffalo wings. The next time you’re camping, tailgating, or BBQ-ing in the backyard, just fire up the grill and you can enjoy charbroiled grilled buffalo wings in no time.

A camp table scene with a plate of grilled buffalo wings

Sponsored by Kettle Brand

It took us a little while to warm up to the idea of making wings at a campsite. We assumed they needed a deep fryer to be done right and the thought of heating a cauldron of oil in the middle of the woods just seemed, I don’t know, reckless? (Only you can prevent explosive grease fire wildfires!) And while it’s true that fried wings are unparalleled in their crispness, we found we could get a pretty dang good version on the grill. Plus you get all that smokey, fiery bonus flavor.

How to make grilled wings

The first step to getting crispy wings on a grill is to make sure your chicken is as dry as possible by patting it down with a paper towel. Once dry, you’ll want to generously season with salt and pepper.

The next step is to set your grill up in a two-zone indirect heat pattern, which essentially means moving all your charcoal to one side or using just one side of your propane grill. The result is a grill that ripping hot on one side and mildly warm on the other.

On the hot side of the grill, use a fire-safe saucepan to heat up your buffalo sauce. Once it’s bubbling move it to the warm side of the grill to simmer and toss your wings on the hot side. The idea is to get the skin to crisp up as soon as possible while not overcooking the actual meat inside- we found medium-high heat to work pretty well.

You will want to give the chicken a few minutes before attempting the first flip (the meat will naturally release from the grill). Once the chicken pulls away from the grill freely, you’re good to go.

From there on, baste the wings with the warm sauce and then flip. Baste, flip, baste, flip, etc, etc. Each new coat of sauce gets baked in by the fire, creating layer after layer of glazed buffalo sauce on your chicken.

Chicken wings on a tabletop grill

A word of caution: there will be flare-ups. There’s really no way to avoid it, just be prepared. Don’t spray with water or attempt to blow them out (which will only kick up charcoal dust and/or spread the flames around). Just move your chicken to a different location, possibly to a cooler part of the grill.

If possible, you can also lower the hood of your grill to snuff the flames out. Momentary flare-ups are fine, but you want to get those sustained fiery eruptions under control as quickly as possible.

Now as far as buffalo wing dipping sauces go, blue cheese is clearly the crowd favorite.

While we didn’t want to mess with wing tradition too much, we did find that by using Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic powder, and a touch of honey to the mix, we got a blue cheese dipping sauce that was tangy, bright, and subtly sweet.

In our opinion, it’s way more dynamic than your regular old blue cheese dressing. So we’re keeping it blue cheese, just living it up a bit.

One wing tradition we were happy to discard, however, was the celery sticks. Why celery sticks were adopted as the de facto side to have with buffalo wings, we have no idea. So be gone celery sticks, be gone! We’ve been much more satisfied with our choice to pair our grilled wings with Kettle chips!

What’s great about pairing Kettle chips with this recipe is that if you’re missing the crispness of deep fried wings, they’ve got your back. They’re a whole bag of pure crispness. The other thing is that you already have a dip in front of you, so you might as well have some chips to go with it. We found the Bourbon Barrel BBQ and Honey Dijon to be our favorites.

So forget the deep fryer and oven – you can get still get your wing fix in the great outdoors. All you need to get is get grilling!