Sticky Saucy Barbecue Wings. The BEST ever barbecue wings. I would consider myself to be a BBQ wing connoisseur. I tend to be a baby about anything spicy and I absolutely love bbq sauce. BBQ wings tend to be my go to order pretty much anywhere I go (with extra blue cheese). I just wanted to explain this to you so you can understand just how many BBQ wings I have tried, and why these are the best. The wings are saucy – you will need some wet paper towels. They are salty, sweet, bitter & a have a little tiny bit of black pepper heat. If you are getting ready for the playoffs & game day, these are the perfect crowd pleaser. Make them in the air fryer, on the grill or in the oven.
There are two reasons that these barbecue wings are the best. The first is the sauce. As with most barbecue recipes, the sauce is everything and it is coveted. But I don’t keep any secrets from you as you know so here we go. Sweet Baby Rays is an almost perfect BBQ sauce, but I think it has a lot of black pepper and I like to add a touch more acid and a little bit more sugar. So it is listed in the ingredients list as an ingredient. You can use any barbecue sauce that you love, but I personally think for them to be the best we should use Sweet Baby Rays here. This is not sponsored, but it does go down in our family as the ultimate bbq sauce which may be more of an honor.
Best Barbecue Wings: The Method
The second reason these BBQ wings are the best is the method of cooking. Mix all of the sauce ingredients together. I like to make sure it is simmering before I even prep the chicken, or while everything preheats and the chicken begins to cook. It should get nice and thick and sticky. By the time you brush it over the chicken it will coat & cling to it. It creates a perfect BBQ sauce coating while the chicken cooks & really builds up some char. Once the wings are cooked, you can stop there with the char-y, crispy, sticky skin. OR, if you love them extra saucy like we do, we toss the wings in that sticky sauce right before serving.
Whenever my mom makes her famous BBQ ribs, she puts a plate of wet paper towels on the the table. They are a must, and some of my favorite parts of the photos here. I love the truth & real-ness in food photos, and the BEST BBQ wings HAVE to be messy!
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Easy Sticky Saucy BBQ Wings
- Air Fryer or Oven
- Basting Brush
- 2 lb chicken wings (whole or pieces)*
- 2 tbs cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- Avocado oil or spray
- 1 cup Sweet Baby Rays Barbecue Sauce
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tbs dark brown sugar packed
- 1 tbs honey
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- pinch salt
- Prep Chicken: Remove tips, pat dry with a paper towel & salt both sides well. Set aside. In a small bowl mix together cornstarch, black pepper & garlic powder. In a large bowl or on a board, coat the chicken in cornstarch mix. Use your hands to gather excess and rub onto chicken. Set aside.
- Make Sauce: Add all sauce ingredients (sweet baby rays, ketchup, brown sugar, honey, garlic powder and salt) to a small sauce pan and whisk until mostly no clumps remain. Place on medium-high heat and let simmer & bubble for at least 20 mins, scraping sides & bottom often with rubber spatula. The sauce will be thick & sticky. If it is very thick, add a splash of water.
- a. Preheat Air Fryer to 450°: Lightly spray or oil the air fryer grates. Add chicken in one layer, not overly crowding, into air fryer basket. Let cook skin side down for 5 minutes. Flip & cook skin side up for 5 minutes. By now, the sauce should be ready. Flip the chicken skin side down and baste with reserved 1/2 cup sauce. Cover the chicken & dry cornstarch bits. Cook again for 5 minutes. Flip & repeat the basting for 5-7 more minutes until sauce fully sticks and coats the skin, is sticky and charred. Remove & set aside. b. Preheat Oven to 450°: Lightly spray or line a baking sheet. Add chicken in one layer, not overly crowding. Let chicken cook skin side down for 5 minutes. Flip & cook skin side up for 5 minutes. By now, the sauce should be ready. Flip the chicken skin side down and baste with reserved 1/2 cup sauce. Cover the chicken & dry cornstarch bits. Cook again for 5 minutes. Flip & repeat the basting for 5-7 more minutes until sauce fully sticks and coats the skin, is sticky and charred. If sauce is not charred, broil 2-4 more minutes until there is as little (or as much) char as you would like.
- 4. Extra Sauce: Add sticky, charry chicken wings to a large bowl and pour any extra sauce from the sauce pan over the chicken tossing to coat. Serve immediately with lots of wet napkins & enjoy.