Here’s a Sweet and Spicy BBQ Chicken Wings recipe you’ll need for any backyard cookout or Sunday grill. Make extra, because they are absolutely finger-licking good!
Chicken wings are one of our favorite items for grilling or backyard cookout. They are the food of good times, whether you have a frosty beer or lemonade or iced tea that goes with it. If you love your wings with a bold flavor, then you must try these Sweet and Spicy BBQ Chicken Wings. They are addictively good and you better make more because they would be gone in seconds!
I created these wings by adapting from my BBQ Short Ribs recipe. The marinade uses simple pantry ingredients such as soy sauce, mirin, garlic, sesame oil, and sugar. To add a savory heat, the secret is to use gochujang, the essential Korean condiment made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. It has both spicy and sweet flavors and umami from fermented glutinous rice.
We really enjoy the marinade and have been using it for different dishes, but one day I decided to give it a little tweak by adding honey and grated apple to the mixture. They were simple additions, but boy, how they could really enhance a dish. The honey adds a deep caramelization to the wings, and the apple gives a subtle tart sweetness. My kids gave this newly improved sweet and spicy marinade a big thumbs up and devoured the wings right away!
You can definitely use the marinade in other cuts of chickens, or even for grilled tofu or grilled beef. And don’t forget to adjust the amount of each seasoning to suit your taste.
No matter whether you plan to fire up the grill or bake the wings in the oven, this recipe works. I hope you enjoy!
Delicious Sides to Serve with These Chicken Wings:
- Asian Coleslaw with Sesame Dressing
- Japanese Potato Salad
- Macaroni Salad
- Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Rice Balls)
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
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Sweet and Spicy BBQ Chicken Wings
- 3 lbs chicken wings (flats/drumettes) (Please note: For this recipe, I only used 1.5 lbs or 13 pieces of wings, but made the marinade enough for 3 lbs.)
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup mirin
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 Tbsp gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 8 cloves garlic (minced or garlic-pressed)
- 2 Tbsp roasted sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
- 1 green onion/scallion (finely chopped)
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 apple (grated; I used Fuji apple)
- In a medium-size bowl, whisk all the marinade ingredients together. You can keep the marinade in a Mason jar for up to 2 weeks.
- Put the chicken wings and the marinade in a Ziploc bag or baking pan. Marinate the chicken for 4 hours to overnight.
Outdoor Grill Instructions
- Grill the chicken wings over indirect heat for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of your wings), flipping every 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the chicken.
- If you want to use the oven, preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Place chicken in a single layer on a wire rack on the baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (for easy cleaning later). Bake for 45 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken wings) until cooked through. Tip: Chicken is done cooking when its internal temperature reaches 165ºF (75ºC). If chicken is cooked through but not charred on top, then switch the oven setting to broil for 2-3 minutes.