Grilled Honey Chipotle Wings Recipe

Crisp, sweet wings with a smoky finish.

Joshua Bousel

Ever since The Food Lab uncovered the baking powder for crispy wings trick, I've been rocking grilled wings all the time. With my wings now near perfection—my wife even suggests them anytime we have company, her sly way of getting more for herself—I've been branching out beyond the usual buffalo and trying out different sauces. The latest, and greatest, incarnation were wings slathered in a honey chipotle glaze.

I love packing heat. When I first concocted this sauce and took a spoonful, it forced a hiccup reaction that I've only encountered a few times when eating peppers so spicy, they should only be consumed on a double dog dare. Although I found pleasure in this pain, I worried it may be a little much for others.

But I stayed with what I had, and that was a good thing. The sauce caramelized and charred slightly over the heat of the coals, bringing out the sweetness of the honey and mellowing the extreme heat. What starts as a sweet crisp bite into a wing ends up leaving a slight smoky burn in the back of your mouth, a taste transformation that I really enjoy.


  • 3 pounds chicken wings (18 wings), cut up
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the glaze:
  • 3 chipotles in adobo
  • 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
  • Type of fire: two-zone indirect
  • Grill heat: high


  1. Pat the chicken wings dry with paper towels. Place the wings in a large bowl and sprinkle with the baking powder, chili powder, and salt and toss to evenly coat. Arrange the wings in a single layer on wire rack placed over a baking sheet. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours.

  2. Place all the ingredients for the glaze in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.

  3. Light a chimney 3/4 full of charcoal. When charcoal is fully lit and covered in gray ash, pour coals out and arrange them on one side of the charcoal grate, keeping the other side empty. 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 are starting to brown, about 30-40 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of cooking brush the glaze all over the wings. Brush the wings with the glaze again and move to the hot side of the grill until the just begin to char, about 1 to 3 minutes. Remove the wings to a plate, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.


Special equipment

Blender, grill, chimney starter