The Meatwave: Barbecue & Grilling Recipes, Reviews, Tips, and Tricks

Wed Jan 8, 2014

Garlic and Parmesan Chicken Wings

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Parmesan Garlic Wings

January tends to me one of my favorite grilling months as my attention turns towards recipe that would make one damn tasty Super Bowl party. As much as I love barbecue, I find apps (AKA: appetizers) like potato skins, jalapeno poppers, and nachos even more irresistible. In honor of this, I've decided to dedicate all of my January recipes to my favorite of all the party foods—wings! I already have a healthy collection of recipes for wings here that span the standard Buffalo to spicy Cajun to sweet Hoisin to Jamaican Jerk. Still, I don't think I could ever stop variating on these crown jewels of finger foods and have so many more tasty incarnations to share, like these garlic and parmesan wings.

Parmesan Garlic Wings

My process to get juicy wings with crackling skin on the grill has been well documented on this blog over and over again. Inevitably just about every recipe this month will follow the same procedure and I figure it best to go over it once again for any newbies out there.

Grilled wings can be pretty damn good, by so many fail due to flabby skin when compared to their crispy fried cousins. A few years ago my editor Kenji over Serious Eats found a way to get crunchy wings in the oven though, and I've used it ever since without fail on the grill.

The "secret" is coating them with baking powder and letting them air dry in the fridge for eight hours in the fridge prior to grilling. The rest in the fridge dries out the skins, so they can more effectively brown and crisp over high heat, while some of the chicken juices absorbed by the baking powder expand when heated, creating a textured skin that's closer to fried chicken, creating the desired blistery texture to give them and enhanced crunch and more sauce holding power.

Parmesan Garlic Wings

The rest in the fridge may seem long, but it allows ample time for the creation of sauces. In this case, I went with an Italian influence to pair with the primary ingredient of Parmesan. The coating sauce was comprised of extra-virgin olive oil, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes, and black pepper whisked together in a small bowl.

Parmesan Garlic Wings

After their rest in the fridge, the wings were grilled over high indirect heat. Thanks to the high amount of fat in chicken wings, they can take this type of intense heat and still remain juicy, so I cook my wings for the right texture on the skin rather than internal temperature. When they start to look like this—light golden brown with a crackling skin—they're done. If any aren't quite there yet after about 45 minutes, they can be quickly crisped over direct heat, but be careful because they can burn pretty quickly since most surface moisture is long gone.

Parmesan Garlic Wings

Off the grill, the wings were immediately tossed with the basil and oil sauce while they were pipping hot.

Parmesan Garlic Wings

The sauce coated the wings entire and created moisture for the Parmesan, which was tossed in next, to cling onto.

Parmesan Garlic Wings

The wings were now ready for devouring, and they went quickly. The sauce created a pleasing herbal base with a little heat thanks to the red pepper. The cheese layer then complimented the basil and oil with a sharp nutty flavor that rounded out wing and made it feel whole and balanced. They were a fitting start for what's going to be a month of recipes that take wings to new great places and will certainly make any Super Bowl shindig more interesting and delicious.

Garlic and Parmesan Chicken Wings

A basil and red pepper sauce coat crispy grilled wings which are complimented with the strong nutty and salty bite of Parmesan.
  • Prep Time:
  • 15 Minutes
  • Inactive Time:
  • 8 Hours
  • Cook Time:
  • 40 Minutes
  • Total Time:
  • 8 Hours 55 Minutes
  • Yield:
  • 4-6 servings


  • 3 pounds chicken wings, cut into drumettes and flats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoon freshly minced garlic, about 2 medium cloves
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup grate Parmesan cheese


  1. Pat chicken wings dry with paper towels. Place wings in a large bowl and sprinkle with baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt, tossing to coat evenly. Arrange wings in a single layer on wire rack placed over a baking sheet. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours.
  2. In a large bowl, olive oil, basil, garlic, thyme, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  3. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place the wings skin side up over the cool side of the grill, cover, and cook until skins are crisp and are starting to brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Transfer wings to bowl with oil and herb mixture. Toss to combine. Add in Parmesan cheese and toss again to evenly coat wings in cheese. Transfer to a serving tray and serve immediately.


  • 01
  • Josh says
    Hey man, I think you're missing the garlic under the Ingredients section.
    Posted Wed, Jan 8 2014 12:36pm
  • 02
  • Josh says
    @Josh Thanks for pointing that out, it's in there now.
    Posted Wed, Jan 8 2014 1:19pm
  • 03
  • Josh says
    Awesome. Can't wait to try these.
    Posted Wed, Jan 8 2014 1:21pm
  • 04
  • Dax Phillips says
    Whoa! Those look awesome. Can't wait to give the recipe a try.
    Posted Wed, Jan 8 2014 3:58pm
  • 05
  • Mike Baylus says
    These look great, and I love the idea of extra crispy skin! I usually let them sit in the fridge overnight as well, but haven't tried the baking soda trick. Is there no residual taste from the baking soda?
    Posted Wed, Jan 8 2014 4:47pm
  • 06
  • Josh says
    @Mike Baylus Nope, no off taste that I can discern.
    Posted Wed, Jan 8 2014 4:48pm
  • 07
  • Mike says
    Can't wait to try these! Thanks!
    Posted Wed, Jan 8 2014 4:51pm
  • 08
  • Phil in France says
    Holy moly, That looks great.
    Posted Thu, Jan 9 2014 5:35am
  • 09
  • David says
    Tried them. Awesome. Thanks josh.
    Posted Wed, Jan 15 2014 1:56pm
  • 10
  • Jason says
    Josh. What works better in this particular recipe? Microplaned fresh Parmesan or the less expensive pre-grated Parmesan? Don't want to waste the good (expensive reggino) stuff if it doesn't really matter. They're chicken wings after all ;) Thanks!
    Posted Mon, Feb 24 2014 2:04pm
  • 11
  • Josh says
    @Jason You can use the pre-grated Parmesan, but use decent Parmesan though, not the weird Kraft stuff.
    Posted Wed, Feb 26 2014 9:34pm
  • 12
  • Shambra Apoo says
    I love your recipes
    Posted Fri, Apr 11 2014 4:13pm
  • 13
  • Josh says
    @Shambra Apoo Thanks!
    Posted Fri, Apr 11 2014 4:20pm
  • 14
  • Dana says
    What temp (approx) should the grill be when covered?
    Posted Wed, Jun 18 2014 6:22pm
  • 15
  • Josh says
    @Dana The grill is usually around 425°F when these start roasting. By the end it may have dropped 25-50 degrees.
    Posted Wed, Jun 18 2014 7:45pm
  • 16
  • Jessica says
    How would you modify cooking on a gas grill?
    Posted Sun, Oct 19 2014 2:18pm
  • 17
  • Scott says
    Made these on a gas Grill 2 weeks ago for tailgating. I wanted to make sure they were done so I baked them the night before for 35 minutes at 400 degrees. I then grilled for 20 minutes at the game. Turned out great.
    Posted Fri, Oct 24 2014 6:19pm
  • 18
  • Jessica says
    Nice idea! We tried this past weekend doing indirect heat and even though they were technically done temp wise they looked way undercooked and we're not crisp at all. I'll try starting in the oven next time!
    Posted Fri, Oct 24 2014 6:30pm
  • 19
  • Rob says
    When you place the wings to the cool side of the grill you cover. Do you mean wrap the wings in foil or foil pan with lid and cook 30-40 minutes or just close the lid to the grill? Thanks!!!

    Posted Sat, Dec 27 2014 1:38pm
  • 20
  • Josh says
    @Rob Just close the lid of the grill.
    Posted Sat, Dec 27 2014 4:32pm
  • 21
  • Robert says
    Just curious. Can I deep fry these instead of putting them on a grill?
    Posted Thu, Jan 29 2015 11:19am
  • 22
  • Josh says
    @Robert Yes, but you don't need the baking powder/salt rub if you're frying. I'd suggest using this method if you're frying.
    Posted Thu, Jan 29 2015 11:37am
  • 23
  • Shiela says
    The trick with using the baking powder worked wonders. The skin was perfect. Honestly I didn't have 8 hrs. they only sat for two hours in fridge.. But I put them for 15 min in front of a fan on my kitchen counter so maybe that helped. Either way the skin came out crunchy/crispy texture as if it was deep fried. I also added Caramelized onions like anthonys coal fire does. I like that little bit of sweetness. And next time less salt. I used the exact measurement of 1 teaspoon kosher salt for sauce but it just was little to salty. But excited to make it again. Thanks
    Posted Sun, Aug 16 2015 8:55pm
  • 24
  • Steve t says
    Baking soda or baking powder? I see both mentioned. Which is it.?
    I've seen soda used before to crisp a whole grilled chicken.
    Posted Sat, Feb 6 2016 4:24pm
  • 25
  • Josh says
    @Steve It's baking powder. Corrected the one mis-reference to baking soda.
    Posted Mon, Feb 8 2016 8:50am
  • 26
  • Crosby says
    I tried it and tossed it in the trash. Tasted terrible.
    Posted Tue, May 31 2016 9:08pm
  • 27
  • John says
    Next time I'll cut way back on kosher salt. Grill time for me on indirect heat was at least an hour. (Gas grill)
    Posted Sun, Jun 26 2016 5:03pm
  • 28
  • Bev says
    Made these for dinner tonight! By far one of the best methods I've ever tried! Will definitely be making these more often. Thank you for sharing!!
    Posted Mon, Aug 29 2016 11:06pm
  • 29
  • Doug Foley says
    Can you do them in the oven and achieve the same effect?
    Posted Thu, Sep 1 2016 5:38pm
  • 30
  • Den says
    Will corn starch work instead of baking powder?
    Posted Thu, Sep 15 2016 11:29am
  • 31
  • NorthWestBrutha says
    Nice recipe. I left the wings in the fridge 12 hours, then cooked them low & slow indirect for 3 hrs at 235 degrees (my normal method for wings). The salt was overwhelming on the first batch so I added 1/2 teaspoon of sugar during the toss on the 2nd batch which made it tolerable for my taste buds. On the flip side, I really appreciated how the meat cooked and the appearance was lovely. So lovely that I was eating them off the grill before the toss. I ate more wings naked than coated. Overall, this is a winner. Great job.
    Posted Wed, Sep 21 2016 1:45am
  • 32
  • NorthWestBrutha says
    I left the wings uncovered overnight after the experience. My Pops once told me " It's damn good yard bird if its good cold the next day". Well, I personally think these wings as per recipe falls in that statement. The skin wasn't as crispy as hot which is to be expected, but the taste was outstanding. Great job Josh!
    Posted Wed, Sep 21 2016 12:40pm
  • 33
  • Stephanie says
    First, I would like to thank you for your recipes! I've tried a couple and they are amazing! %uD83D%uDE0D%uD83D%uDE0D the baking powder tip is everything! Which brings me to my question. I've made the Cajun wings a couple times and they come out amazing, so I was trying the garlic Parmesan ones and I keep running into the same problem. The baking powder and salt for some reason is not dying out the skin. They were in the fridge for 8 hours yesterday and when I pulled them out to cook the powder and salt was almost like a paste in the corner of the bowl and the skin wasn't dry. It worked perfectly each time with the Cajun rub. I patted the chicken dry, the bowl was dry. I removed it all, redried the chicken and did the powder and salt again, this morning it was the same way. What am I doing wrong? Please help!
    Posted Thu, Nov 10 2016 10:29am
  • 34
  • James Griewe says
    Forget the baking soda and Use BISQUICK!!
    Posted Thu, Aug 31 2017 7:37pm
  • 35
  • James Griewe says
    Also grill initially over the hot coals 4 minutes per side then move to indirect side of grill top up to finish!!

    Posted Thu, Aug 31 2017 7:40pm
  • 36
  • Niki says
    These are our go to recipe for wings. They are amazing!!
    Posted Sun, Feb 4 2018 10:22am

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