How Long to Cook Chicken Wings on a Charcoal Grill

How Long to Cook Chicken Wings on a Charcoal Grill

When cooking chicken wings on a charcoal grill, you might be wondering “How long should I cook them for?

It is extremely important to note that it takes about 20 to 25 minutes to cook chicken wings on a charcoal grill. Flip ’em halfway through, and you’re golden. Simple, right? But wait, there’s more!

In my experience, I have found that cooking chicken wings on a charcoal grill adds a delicious smoky flavor to the meat. The direct heat from the charcoal also creates a crispy skin, which is essential for perfect chicken wings. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the cooking time as the high heat from the charcoal can easily overcook the wings.

In this article, we will discuss the factors that affect cooking time, different methods for cooking chicken wings on a charcoal grill, and some tips to ensure perfectly cooked wings every time.

Let’s explore this world of flavor in detail,

Quick Overview |  Key Points

How Long to Cook Chicken Wings on a Charcoal Grill?
  • Grilling chicken wings on a charcoal grill typically takes 20-25 minutes.
  • Factors like heat source, arrangement of charcoal, and cooking method can affect the timing.
  • The direct heat method is best for quick and even cooking. The indirect heat method is better for thicker cuts or gentler cooking. The beer can chicken method adds more flavor but takes longer.
  • Tips and tricks like using a meat thermometer for accurate cooking, preheating the grill, and avoiding opening the lid frequently can help achieve perfectly cooked wings.
  • Grilling different chicken pieces on a charcoal grill follows similar rules but with variations in timing depending on the cut.
  • For crispy wings, use high heat, avoid overcrowding, and pat dry before grilling. For a low-and-slow approach, grill at 350°F for more control and added flavor development.
  • Tips and tricks like using a grill basket, flipping frequently, and basting can further enhance the grilling experience.
  • Grilling is a vast culinary world with endless possibilities. Exploring different methods, techniques, and flavors can elevate your grilling game.

Factors Affecting Cooking Time

Before we dive into the cooking methods, it’s important to understand the various factors that can affect the cooking time of chicken wings on a charcoal grill. These include:

Wing Size and Thickness

The size and thickness of the chicken wings can significantly impact the cooking time. Larger wings will take longer to cook compared to smaller ones. Thicker wings may also require a few extra minutes on the grill.

Grill Temperature

The temperature of your charcoal grill is another crucial factor that affects cooking time. The ideal grilling temperature for chicken wings is between 350-375°F.

However, this may vary depending on the type of grill and the amount of charcoal used. It’s essential to monitor the grill temperature using a thermometer to ensure even cooking.

Charcoal Arrangement

How you arrange your charcoal can also affect the heat distribution and therefore, cooking time.

For example, if you have a single layer of charcoal, the heat will be evenly distributed, resulting in a shorter cooking time.

On the other hand, if you have a double layer of charcoal on one side of the grill, it will create a hotter zone that can quickly cook the wings placed on that side.

Optimal Cooking Duration for Chicken Wings on a Charcoal Grill

As mentioned earlier, it typically takes about 20-25 minutes to cook chicken wings on a charcoal grill. However, this time can vary depending on the factors mentioned above.

Here’s a breakdown of the average cooking time for different methods of cooking chicken wings on a charcoal grill:

Direct Heat Method

This is the most common and straightforward method of grilling chicken wings. It involves placing the wings directly over the hot coals and cooking them evenly on both sides.

For this method, it will take about 20-25 minutes to cook the chicken wings thoroughly. Remember to flip them halfway through for even cooking.

Indirect Heat Method

The indirect heat method is best for thicker chicken wings or if you want a more gentle cooking process. To use this method, arrange the charcoal on one side of the grill and place the wings on the opposite side.

The heat from the charcoal will circulate the wings, slowly cooking them to perfection. It may take slightly longer (around 25-30 minutes) compared to direct heat, but it’s worth the wait for tender and juicy wings.

Beer Can Chicken Method

This unique method utilizes a beer can to keep the chicken wings moist and flavorful. To use this method, insert an open beer can into the cavity of a whole wing, and place it on the grill.

It will take approximately 1 hour for the chicken wings to cook fully using this method. However, the result is well worth the wait, with tender and flavorful meat that falls off the bone.

How Long for Chicken Wings Step-by-Step

Here is a step-by-step guide for cooking chicken wings on a charcoal grill to help you achieve the perfect cook every time:

Step 1: Prepare the Grill

Before starting the grill, make sure to clean and oil the grates. This will prevent the wings from sticking and ensure even cooking.

Step 2: Light Up the Charcoal

Arrange the charcoal in a single or double layer, depending on your preferred method of cooking. Use a chimney starter or lighter fluid to get them lit.

Step  3: Control the Heat

Once the charcoal is lit, allow it to burn until it turns a grayish-white color. Use a grill thermometer to monitor and control the heat.

Step 4: Add Flavor

Add wood chips or chunks of your favorite flavor (such as hickory, mesquite, or applewood) on top of the hot coals for an extra smoky flavor.

Step 5: Place the Chicken Wings on the Grill

Place the chicken wings directly over the hot coals or arrange them on the opposite side of the grill for indirect heat. Remember to leave enough space between each wing for even cooking.

Step 6: Monitor and Flip

Keep an eye on the wings and flip them halfway through the cooking process. This will ensure that both sides are evenly cooked.

Step 7: Check for Doneness

Use a meat thermometer to check if the internal temperature of the wings has reached at least 165°F. If not, allow them to cook for a few more minutes.

Tips for Perfectly Cooked Chicken Wings on a Charcoal Grill

  • Marinate the wings beforehand for added flavor and moisture.
  • Baste the wings with your favorite sauce during the last few minutes of cooking for a delicious glaze.
  • Use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking or undercooking the wings.
  • Let the chicken wings rest for 5-10 minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute, resulting in juicier wings.
  • Experiment with different flavors and cooking methods to find your perfect wing recipe.

Timing Tips for Grilling Chicken Wings on Charcoal

Now that you know the different cooking methods and their approximate timings, here are some additional tips to ensure perfectly cooked chicken wings every time:

Marinate the wings before grilling to add extra moisture and flavor. This will also help reduce the cooking time.

Preheat your grill for about 10-15 minutes before placing the wings on it. This will ensure that the grill is at the optimal temperature for perfectly cooked wings.

Avoid opening the lid frequently while grilling, as this can cause a drop in temperature, resulting in longer cooking times.

Use a meat thermometer to check if the wings are fully cooked. The internal temperature of thoroughly cooked chicken wings should be 165°F.

More Tips and Tricks for Grilling Perfection

The road to grilling excellence is paved with knowledge, practice, and a sprinkling of secrets that turn good into great.

Let’s unearth these hidden gems and elevate your grilling game. Whether it’s chicken wings, other chicken pieces, or achieving that crispy perfection, we’ve got you covered.

1. Chicken Pieces on Charcoal Grill: Beyond Wings

Wings are wonderful, but what about the rest of the chicken? Grilling different chicken pieces on a charcoal grill follows similar rules but with some variations:

  • Breasts: Lean and quick-cooking. Grill for 6-8 minutes per side at 375°F.
  • Thighs and Legs: Fatter and juicier. Around 10-12 minutes per side.
  • Whole Chicken: A grand feast! 1-1.5 hours, depending on size.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Uniform Size: Cut pieces uniformly for even cooking.
  • Use a Meat Thermometer: Don’t guess; measure the internal temperature.

2. Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings: The Crunch Factor

Crispy wings are a crowd-pleaser. Here’s how to nail it:

  • High Heat: A hot grill sears the skin, creating a crispy texture.
  • Avoid Overcrowding: Give them space! Overcrowding steams rather than crisps the wings.
  • Pat Dry Before Grilling: Dry wings crisp up better. Pat them dry before hitting the grill.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Flipping Frequency: Don’t be shy to flip and check.
  • Use a Grill Basket: For even heat distribution.

3. Grilling at 350: The Low-and-Slow Approach

Wondering how long to grill chicken wings at 350? This lower temperature gives you more control:

  • Wings at 350°F: Add a few more minutes. Around 25-30 minutes total.
  • Low and Slow: Great for thicker cuts. Slower cooking allows flavors to develop.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Monitor Closely: Lower heat doesn’t mean ignoring the grill. Keep an eye on them.
  • Basting: Baste with sauce or marinade for added moisture and flavor.

Grilling is a world rich with flavors, techniques, and endless possibilities. These tips and tricks, from grilling various chicken pieces to achieving that enviable crispiness, open up new culinary horizons.


In conclusion, grilling chicken wings on a charcoal grill is a delicious and satisfying experience that can be easily mastered with the right knowledge and techniques.

By understanding the different cooking methods, timing tips, and useful tricks, you can achieve perfectly cooked and flavorful chicken wings every time.

Experiment with flavors, cuts of chicken, and cooking styles to find your perfect wing recipe. With these tips and tricks in hand, you are ready to elevate your grilling game and become the ultimate grill master.


How Long Should Wings Cook on a Charcoal Grill?

Patience is key here! You’ll want to grill those wings for about 20 to 25 minutes, turning them occasionally. Keep an eye on them; you don’t want them to fly away on you!

How Long Does It Take to Cook Chicken Wings on the Grill?

Well, as I just mentioned, aim for 20 to 25 minutes. The goal is to reach that golden brown, crispy perfection. Timing can be everything, so set a timer if you need to.

What Is the Best Temp to Cook Chicken Wings on a Charcoal Grill?

Temperature matters, my friend! Get that grill to medium heat, around 350°F (175°C). Too hot, and you’ll burn them; too cold, and they’ll be raw in the middle. It’s a delicate dance, but you’ll get the hang of it.

How Long to Cook Chicken Pieces on Charcoal Grill?

Chicken pieces, like legs and thighs, need a bit more love. Aim for 30 to 40 minutes. And don’t forget to turn them now and then. You want an even cook, and no one likes a lopsided dinner!

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