Grilled Cajun Chicken Wings Recipe

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

Close-up of grilled wings on a platter, crusted with Cajun spice rub, doused with hot sauce, and sprinkled with sliced scallion.

Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

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

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

Rate & Comment

Ingredients

For the Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon 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 chicken wings, cut into drumettes and flats

For the Sauce

  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 1/4 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions

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

    Close-up of a small prep bowl containing the Cajun spice mixture..

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

  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.

    Raw chicken wings in a mixing bowl being tossed in and coated with the Cajun spice mixture.

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

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

    Close up of a saucepan where a chunk of butter is melting on the surface of the hot sauce-Worcestershire mixture. A whisk is swirling the melted butter into the liquid.

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

  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.

    Close-up of the seasoned wings on a grill grate, looking crisp and lightly browned..

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

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

    Close-up of the grilled wings in a mixing bowl, their surface glistening with a thin coat of the hot sauce.

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

Special Equipment

Grill, chimney starter

Read More

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1228 Calories
94g Fat
37g Carbs
58g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
×
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.)