Grilled Buttermilk Hot Wings

These wings were a spontaneous creation for a party last weekend. They were a huge hit, disappearing in less than ten minutes, so I thought it would be best to share this gem with you. A quick brining in buttermilk and hot sauce yields tender and flavorful meat. The chile rub on the outside finishes the wings off with a perfect crust. I describe the heat-level on these as medium-hot.

By Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet
Serves 6
Image of Grilled Buttermilk Hot Wings


For brining

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 9 ounces hot sauce (I use 1 x 5-ounce bottle of Cholula and 1 x 4-ounce bottle of El Yucateco Habanero Hot Sauce)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Cloves from 1 head garlic, grated with a microplane or crushed
  • 3 to 4 pounds chicken wing segments

For the blue cheese dressing

  • 6 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon, finely grated

For the chile rub

  • 1 dried pasilla chile, stem removed
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried chopped garlic (chopped garlic is preferred to granulated garlic or garlic powder because the larger pieces hold their flavor longer)
  • 1 tablespoon dried sliced onions (dried onion slices are preferred to onion powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For garnish

  • 1 handful flat leaf parsley, chopped

Whisk together the brine ingredients in a large bowl. Add the wings, cover and chill for 4 to 6 hours.

Prepare the blue cheese dressing by combining all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or as long as 24.

Combine the rub ingredients in a food processor or spice grinder until a fine texture is achieved. Transfer the wings from the brine to a half-sheet pan. Shake off most of the brine while doing so, minimizing the liquid in the pan. Discard the brine. Sprinkle one side of the wings with half of the rub mixture. Turn the wings over and sprinkle the other side with the remainder. Let the wings rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes before grilling them.

Prepare the grill for direct grilling over a medium fire, about 350°F.

Transfer the wings to the grill grate. Grill them with the hood closed, turning a couple of times along the way, until cooked-through. Total cooking time should be about 20 minutes.

Transfer the wings to a platter, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve with the blue cheese dressing.


Tips for Preparing the Recipe on a Kalamazoo Hybrid Grill

You can grill these wings over a gas fire with the main burners on MEDIUM, but a charcoal fire will enhance the chile crust.

Place a thin load of charcoal in the Hybrid Fire Grilling Drawer (single file briquettes in each channel or roughly 1/4 full with lump charcoal). Start the charcoal fire with the main burners, and then turn them to LOW. Wait for the coals to ash over and all visible flame from the charcoal to subside before grilling the wings. Your desired grilling temperature is about 350°F.