This recipe for grilled Korean chicken wings includes a sticky honey gochujang BBQ sauce that's a little sweet with a little heat. 
5 from 5 votes

By Christie Vanover | Published November 11, 2021 | Last Updated December 17, 2022

Home | Recipes | Grilled Korean Chicken Wings with Sticky BBQ Sauce

I lived in South Korea for a short time and quickly fell in love with Korean food, especially chicken wings.

tongs holding Korean chicken wings
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What are Korean chicken wings

In America, we have our famous buffalo wings. They’re tossed in a flour batter, fried and covered in a butter hot sauce.

Well, in Korea, their wings are also fried, but the technique is slightly different. Instead of flour, which creates a thicker coating, the wings are breaded in corn starch, which is light and airy.

Then, they’re deep fried, not once, but twice. This is the same technique that Europeans use to make French fries. The first dunk in the hot oil par-cooks the wings. Then, the oil temp is raised for the second dunk to get the skins extra crispy.

They’re finished with a glaze of sticky sauce that’s both sweet and spicy.

But you know me. I love to grill, so I’ve created my version of Korean chicken wings on the grill, mimicking the same delicious sauce I tasted on the peninsula. 

Ingredients

  • Chicken Wings: This recipe can be made with whole wings or separated wings.

Marinade

  • Rice Wine Vinegar: Rice vinegar is a slightly sweet vinegar used in many Asian recipes.
  • Soy Sauce: Adds umami, salt and color.
  • Vegetable Oil: Peanut oil and corn oil work great. You could also use avocado oil for this recipe.
  • Garlic: It’s best to use fresh cloves that you mince yourself. They will give the best flavor.
  • Fresh Ginger: Use a pairing knife to peel the ginger and a chef’s knife to chop it into fine pieces.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Crushed red pepper flakes work fine, but if you like to do a lot of Asian cooking, pick up some gochugaru chile flakes. This is the chile most commonly used in Korea.

Korean BBQ Sauce

  • Ketchup: This is the base for almost all red barbecue sauces.
  • Brown Sugar: I prefer dark brown sugar, but you can also use light brown sugar.
  • Gochujang: A Korean chili paste made from chilis, sweet glutinous rice, fermented soy beans and salt. It is red like ketchup, but much stickier because of the rice. You can find it in the Asian section of your grocery store or online
  • Honey: This will add a touch of sweetness and help with the glossiness of the sauce.
  • Water: Just a little to thin out the sauce.
  • Soy Sauce: Provides additional umami, salt and color.

Garnish

  • Green Onion: 2-3 fresh scallions diced up add a beautiful color to your presentation.
  • Sesame Seeds: Adding sesame seeds provides warm nutty notes while also telling people this is an Asian dish.
bottles of BBQ rubs on black background

How to grill Korean chicken wings to get them crispy

  1. STEP ONE: Before grilling the wings, you’ll want to marinate them in a combination of Asian flavors, including soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, oil and aromatics like garlic and ginger. You can also add crushed red pepper flakes or gochugaru flakes and adjust, depending on your heat preference. 

PRO TIP: I prefer to marinate my wings for 4-8 hours, but if you’re in a hurry, a 30-minute marinade will work, too, the meat just won’t absorb quite as much flavor.

  1. STEP TWO: Everybody likes their wings to be crispy, but so many of us have different types of grills, so I’m going to explain how to cook the perfect crispy chicken wings on any type of grill.
chicken wings on grill

USING A GAS, CHARCOAL OR PELLET GRILL

If you’re cooking on a gas, charcoal or pellet grill, heat your grill to high heat or 400F degrees with an indirect heat zone. Grill the wings, starting with the skin side down for about 15 minutes, or until the skins start to crisp up. 

Give the wings a flip, and continue cooking, until the other side is crispy. Probe them with your Thermapen to make sure they reach at least 165F degrees. I actually like to cook them a bit over that temp, because I like the skin extra crispy. 

COOKING WINGS ON AN AIR FRYER

If you’re using an air fryer, heat your air fryer to 350F degrees, and cook the wings for 15 minutes on one side and 10 minutes on the other side. 

Cooking wings on a Schwank Grill

One awesome way to get crispy wings is to use a Schwank Grill. It cooks at 1,500F degrees, so it renders the chicken fat in less than 10 minutes per side. 

  1. STEP THREE: While the wings are marinating, you can make the Korean BBQ sauce. The base starts with ketchup, and it’s sweetened up with brown sugar and honey. Gochujang is a Korean chili paste that is a little sweet and a little heat. That gets mixed in with a little water to thin the sauce. Soy sauce is added for salt and umami. 
dunking a chicken wing flat in a pot of Korean BBQ sauce using tongs.

Mix the sauce ingredients in a sauce pot in advance. Then, just before you start to grill your wings, heat the sauce on the stove over low heat to dissolve the sugars. 

  1. STEP FOUR: After the wings are cooked, dunk them into the Korean BBQ sauce. Return the wings to the grill or air fryer. On a gas, pellet or charcoal grill, they will be ready in 2-3 minutes. In an air fryer, they’ll be crispy in about 5 minutes. On the Schwank Grill, they’ll be ready in 45-60 seconds.
moving Korean chicken wings from pan to plate with tongs

The sauce will caramelize and add even more sticky crispiness to your wings. Keep an eye on them. Because the sauce contains sugar, they can burn quickly.

How to serve Korean chicken wings

Remove the wings to a platter or baking sheet and garnish with some fresh sliced green onions and sesame seeds. Be sure to grab some extra napkins, because these wings are messy in the best sort of way.

gray plate with pile of Korean chicken wings

Storage

You can store Korean BBQ wings in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. It’s best to reheat them on a grill over indirect heat, in an air fryer or in a toaster oven or regular oven. Set the oven temperature to 350F degrees.

You can also reheat them in the microwave, but they won’t be as crispy. When reheating them, keep an eye on them. Because they’ve been sauced, you want to make sure they don’t burn.

GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips

  • Marinate the chicken wings anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hours
  • Cook them over indirect heat and start with the fat side down
  • Chicken wings are ready when they reach an internal temperature of 165F degrees
  • Finish them by dunking in Korean BBQ sauce and crisping up on the grill or in an air fryer

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Korean wings crispy?

Authentic Korean wings are breaded with cornstarch and double fried, which makes the skin light and crispy. Then, they’re quickly tossed in a sticky Korean BBQ sauce or soy garlic glaze.

How do you make spicy Korean wing sauce?

If you want to make spicy sauce, follow this recipe and then mix in more gochujang or add in a pinch or two of gochugaru flakes. Add a little bit at a time. Let it simmer for 3-4 minutes, and then taste it to see if you need to add more spice.

What to serve with Korean chicken wings?

If you want to eat Korean chicken wings the traditional way, seve them with a bowl of white sticky rice and a side of cubed pickled Korean radish or daikon.

Want even more great grilling recipes and tips? Subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok for my latest grilling adventures. If you make a recipe, I’d love for your to leave a comment and rating below. Thanks.

tongs holding Korean chicken wings

Korean Chicken Wings with Sticky Honey Gochujang BBQ sauce

This recipe for grilled Korean chicken wings includes a sticky honey gochujang BBQ sauce that's a little sweet with a little heat. 
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 24 wings

Ingredients
 

  • 24 chicken wings separated
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger minced
  • pinch red pepper flakes

Sticky Honey Gochujang Sauce

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup gochujang
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

Garnish

  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds

Instructions
 

  • Marinade: Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the chicken wings. Cover and refrigerate for 4-8 hours. Remove from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Charcoal, Gas + Pellet Grill: Heat your grill to 400F degrees with an indirect zone. Place the wings on the grill fat side down and grill for 15 minutes per side.
  • Schwank Grill: If using a Schwank 1500-degree infrared grill, cook in batches on level 3 for 10 minutes per side.
  • Air Fryer: Heat your air fryer to 350F degrees. Place the wings in the basket fat side down. Cook for 15 minutes. Flip. Cook for 10 more minutes.
  • Sauce: Combine the sauce ingredients in a sauce pot and warm on the stove. After the wings are cooked, dunk them in the sauce. Return the wings to the grill or air fryer. On a gas, pellet or charcoal grill, they will be ready in 2-3 minutes. On the Schwank Grill, they'll be ready in 45-60 seconds. In an air fryer, they'll be crispy in about 5 minutes.
  • Garnish: Remove the wings to a platter and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 163kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 10gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 730mgPotassium: 150mgFiber: 1gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 125IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 19mgIron: 1mg

This estimate was created using an online nutrition calculator

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