Skip to content

How to Marinate BBQ Chicken Wings?


Marinating chicken wings before grilling or barbecuing them can significantly enhance their flavor and tenderness. A well-prepared marinade can infuse the meat with delicious flavors, making it a perfect dish for outdoor gatherings, parties, or simply enjoying a tasty meal at home. In this article, we will provide you with practical tips and delicious marinade recipes to help you achieve mouthwatering BBQ chicken wings.

The Importance of Marinating

Marinating chicken wings serves several purposes. Firstly, it adds flavor to the meat, making it more enjoyable to eat. Whether you prefer tangy, spicy, or sweet flavors, marinating allows you to customize the taste according to your preferences. Secondly, the acidic components in the marinade, such as lemon juice or vinegar, tenderize the meat by breaking down its proteins. This results in juicier and more tender chicken wings.

Choosing the Right Marinade

When it comes to choosing a marinade for BBQ chicken wings, the options are endless. The key is to strike a balance between flavors that complement the natural taste of the meat without overpowering it. Some popular options include:

  1. Classic Barbecue Marinade: A combination of ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and spices creates a rich and smoky flavor. This marinade is perfect for those who enjoy the traditional taste of BBQ.
  2. Sweet and Spicy Marinade: A mix of honey, soy sauce, sriracha, ginger, and garlic provides a flavorful blend of sweet and spicy notes. It adds a unique twist to your BBQ chicken wings.
  3. Citrus Marinade: A refreshing blend of lemon or lime juice, olive oil, garlic, and herbs adds a tangy and zesty flavor to the chicken wings. It is an excellent choice for those who prefer light and citrusy flavors.
  4. Tandoori Marinade: Combining yogurt, spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and ginger, this marinade infuses a delightful Indian-inspired taste into the chicken wings.

The Marinating Process

To ensure the best results, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the Wings: Start by cleaning the chicken wings thoroughly and patting them dry with a paper towel. Trimming any excess fat or loose skin helps prevent flare-ups on the grill.
  2. Choose a Container: Select a container or resealable plastic bag that comfortably fits the wings and allows the marinade to evenly coat them. Avoid using metal containers, as they may react with acidic marinades.
  3. Marinating Time: The ideal marinating time varies according to personal preference and the recipe you choose. In general, marinating for at least 30 minutes is recommended, but for more intense flavors, you can marinate the wings overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Coating the Wings: Pour the marinade over the wings, ensuring they are completely coated. Massage the marinade into the meat gently, making sure all sides are covered.
  5. Refrigeration: Once the wings are well-coated, cover the container or seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat and tenderize it.

“Marinating chicken wings before grilling is the secret to mouthwatering flavors and juicy meat.”

Grilling or Barbecuing the Wings

After marinating the chicken wings, it’s time to bring out the grill and cook them to perfection. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Preheat the Grill: Preheat your grill to medium heat. Proper preheating ensures even cooking and prevents the wings from sticking to the grill grates.
  2. Oil the Grates: Lightly oil the grill grates to prevent the wings from sticking. Use tongs and a folded paper towel soaked in oil to oil the grates, ensuring you do not miss any spots.
  3. Cooking Time: Grill the wings over medium heat, turning occasionally, until they are thoroughly cooked. The cooking time can vary depending on the heat of your grill, but it usually takes about 15-20 minutes. Ensure the internal temperature of the wings reaches 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.
  4. Basting: During the last few minutes of cooking, baste the wings with any remaining marinade for an extra burst of flavor.
  5. Resting Time: Allow the cooked wings to rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in tender and succulent meat.

Serving Suggestions

Once your BBQ chicken wings are ready, serve them alongside some delicious sides and sauces. Options could include:

  • Classic BBQ sauce
  • Blue cheese or ranch dressing
  • Crunchy coleslaw
  • Corn on the cob
  • Grilled vegetables


Marinating chicken wings before grilling or barbecuing adds depth and flavor to the meat, turning a simple dish into a scrumptious delight. Experiment with different marinade recipes and find the flavors that you and your guests enjoy the most. Remember to follow food safety guidelines and ensure the chicken is fully cooked before serving. With the right marinade and proper grilling techniques, you can create BBQ chicken wings that will be a hit at any gathering or family meal.