I lived in South Korea for a short time and quickly grew in love with Korean barbecue, especially chicken wings. At most Korean restaurants I experienced, the wings were fried and then tossed in a sweet sticky sauce.
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.
Korean Chicken Wings Marinade and Sauce
Start by marinading your wings 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 and adjust, depending on your heat preference.
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.
While the wings are marinading, you can make the 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.
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 supermarket or online.
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 to dissolve the sugars.
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Grilling Korean Chicken Wings to Get them crispy
Everybody likes their wings to be crispy. One awesome way to do that is to grill them on a Schwank Grill. It cooks at 1,500F degrees, so it renders the chicken fat in less than 10 minutes per side.
Using a Gas, Charcoal or Pellet Grill
If you’re cooking on a gas, charcoal or pellet grill, heat your grill to 400F degrees with an indirect heat zone, and grill the wings, starting with the fat side down over indirect heat 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.
Once they’re cooked through, dunk the wings in your heated up Korean honey gochujang BBQ sauce and add them back to the grill. If cooking on a gas, charcoal or pellet grill, cook them for 2-3 minutes. The Schwank Grill only takes 45-60 seconds. For the air fryer, give them about 5 minutes. The sauce will caramelize and add even more sticky crispiness to your wings.
Garnish with some fresh sliced green onions and sesame seeds, and grab some extra napkins.
Korean Chicken Wings with Sticky Honey Gochujang BBQ sauce
This recipe for Korean chicken wings includes a sticky honey gochujang BBQ sauce that's a little sweet with a little heat.
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.