The Step You're Probably Missing Before Grilling Chicken Wings

Since 1964, when, according to Time, the very first buffalo wings were served at Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, Americans have formed an adoration for the spicy snack. There are billions of chicken wings consumed on Super Bowl Sunday (via Time) and wing festivals are prevalent throughout the year, with perhaps the taker of the top spot being the annual National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo each Labor Day weekend.

However, wings are not just for festivities. An abundance of bars feature wing nights and the spicy staple snacks are a popular accompaniment to any sporting event even outside of the Super Bowl. The sauce-slathered wings have also inspired untold numbers of other dishes, including predictables like buffalo chicken dip or sandwiches to the less expected buffalo chicken lasagna or spaghetti squash.

When it comes to buffalo wing recipes, the preparation for wings at restaurants most often involves deep-frying. Deep-fried chicken creates a crisp skin while retaining moistness within, as described by Dr. Eric Decker, a professor at University of Massachusetts in Amherst (via Inverse).

However, for most home cooks, baking, broiling, and grilling are more accessible options for preparing wings. So how do you achieve that moist chicken goodness on the inside, while retaining crispiness on the outside? According to The Spruce Eats, boiling those wings for just a bit before grilling will give you the best at-home chicken wing results.

Why to boil chicken wings before grilling them

Whether you're making traditional buffalo chicken wings or a riff like grilled honey glazed wings or a spicy thai chile variety, the real end game is to wind up with savory, moist meat while the skin acts as a crunchy covering that conveniently harbors your sauce of choice.

According to Chicken Vibes, chicken wings can be boiled easily, efficiently, and cost-effectively while also packing a flavor punch with just a few easy ingredients that are staples in most pantries.

Both The Spruce Eats and Chicken Vibes recommend boiling chicken for about 15 minutes in salty water and you can add the other herbs and spices that you prefer during that cooking time. After baking, simply toss the wings with buffalo sauce, or your other preferred options, and grill on medium-high heat for around 10 minutes, or until their internal temperature is safe (about 175 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit).

Once you have the moist meat, as well as that crispy skin drenched in buffalo (or your favorite sauce), settle down with some celery and either a simple homemade blue cheese dip or ranch. Whether in front of a game, with friends, or during a long-awaited Netflix binge, these crispy, tender wings will be your perfect pairing — and will also set the foundation for a night of noshing.