Wings are great. I love wings. Unfortunately, while pretty much every bar in the USA seems to serve at least passable wings, it’s nigh-on impossible to get good wings in the UK – they’re not part of the culture, and pork scratchings just don’t cut it.

It has taken quite a bit of trial and error, but I finally have a recipe I’m happy with. It is based on the excellent Brian’s Belly recipe, but with some of the pointless fat taken out. Brian’s wing ethics are spot on, though.

Hot wings

You will need:

  • Chicken wings (lots)
  • Season-All
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (1 bottle)
  • Tabasco Sauce (1/2 bottle)
  • Dave’s Insanity Sauce
  • A barbecue

And if you want blue cheese sauce:

  • Blue cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Mayonnaise (optional)

Here’s what to do…


1. The more health-conscious chef will probably want to remove the skin from the chicken wings. I think the skin keeps the wings moist inside and crispy outside, so would only go skinless if baking rather than barbecuing.

2. Make the rub by mixing together the Season-All and cayenne pepper. Cajun rub also works instead of Season-All. Either way, it’s wise to check the salt content before going overboard – saltwings are nowhere near as tasty as they sound.

3. Rub the wings with rub (obviously), and leave them in the fridge for a few hours.

Applying the rub

You can make up the blue cheese sauce now, or while the wings are cooking. Don’t do it the day before, as it will set solid if left in the fridge for too long. Crumble the blue cheese into a bowl, add the sour cream and mayonnaise, and blend it.

The mayo makes the sauce a little thinner, and dilutes the flavour – I think both of these are bad things, so I skip it.

Making blue cheese sauce


1. Fire up the BBQ about an hour before you want to start cooking. The flames should be burned down, leaving the coals with a good hot glow. Barbecues always seem to end up cooking some wings more quickly than others, so it’s a good idea to stack the coals slightly off-centre: this leaves a cooler area on the grill, so you can move the cooked wings out of the direct heat.

2. Grill the wings. They should be crispy on the outside but not burned, so it’s a good idea to set the grill some distance above the coals, to give them time to cook through. They will need turning regularly to avoid burning.

Grilling the wings

3. Start heating the sauce when the wings are about half done. Mix the Frank’s and Tabasco sauce in a wok, and simmer it until it has reduced to the desired thick, gloopy consistency. This is what people who don’t eat spicy food would consider hot. If you do like spicy food, add a teaspoon of Dave’s Insanity Sauce for hot, and three teaspoons if you want to show off. Stir well.

4. When the wings are done, toss them in the sauce until they are thoroughly coated.

Toss the wings in the reduced sauce


1. It is absolutely CRITICAL that wings be served with beer.

Epic WIN-gs