I've cooked chicken wings in a bbq marinade before and the results were disastrous, I put them in a pre-heated oven that was heated to 200 degrees celsius however as the marinade contains sugar the outside got burnt before the inside was cooked. So I've a few questions:

  1. Would it be better to cook the wings without the marinade and then heat up the marinade and allow the wings to steep in that after they've cooked?
  2. I also want the sauce to adhere to the wings nicely, not drip off, how do I do this?
  3. I want wings with tender meat yet a nicely crisped exterior, what temperature and duration would I need to cook to achieve such a result?
  4. Would cooking the wings covered in foil dome/tent and then removing the foil and cooking for the rest of the duration on high heat allow me to achieve this?
  5. Would it be better if I cooked them on a wire rack/frame, rather than laying them down flat on an oven dish? (as that would allow the heat to get under the wings)
  6. How important is the use of oil? Should I brush the wings with oil?


1 Answer 1



Whether to cook the wings with the marinade, or apply it after cooking depends on your specific recipe or method. The traditional technique for Buffalo style and similar wings is to fry (or bake) the wings sauceless, and then toss them with the sauce after cooking.

The advantage of this method is that you will not burn the sauce (which if it is sweet, can burn easily); the disadvantage is the sauce does not cook onto the wing, and so how well it adheres is down to the thickness of the particular sauce you are using.

The other traditional method, more often used for grilled wings or baked wings is to cook the wings until they are mostly done, then baste them with the sauce for the final part of the cooking. The advantage of this is that the sauce will not burn, and is baked on to the wing. The disadvantage, of course, is that it is more work.


There is no simple answer to getting the sauce to stick to the wings. The biggest influencer is the thickness of viscosity of the sauce recipe itself, so that it sticks of its own volition.


There are many methods that result in tender meat but crispy skin. Perhaps the three most common are:

  • Baking. Baking is relatively slow, and so makes it easier to cook them without overcooking. Alton Brown, for example, recommends 40 minutes (with one flip) at 425 F / 220 C.

  • Deep Frying. Deep frying can cook them through and render the skin very crispy, but is very fast, so it is harder to prevent overcooking, and more sensitive to size variation among the wings. The Food Network recommends 375 F / 190 C for about 15 minutes.

  • Steaming (or otherwise par-cooking) the wings to cook them through and render the excess fat under the skin, then crisping them with another method. This is most often done when doing a grill (in the sense of a charcoal grill) to finish. Serious Eats uses this method solely on the grill, initially cooking on the cool side of the grill to cook through, and then searing on the hot side to crisp up.


Whether to use a rack depends on the cooking method; it only is applicable to oven baking, where it is a good idea.


Oil is not usually required for chicken wings, which have a great deal of fat under the skin. Normally the challenge is rendering that fat.

  • Thank you for your extremely thorough answer, i guess i'll have to try a few of those methods and see what works for me.
    – seeker
    Feb 25, 2014 at 18:16
  • It should be noted that Alton Brown recommends par cooking them by steaming and then baking them. Straight baking them produces a lot of fat drippings that can create a lot of smoke.
    – draksia
    Feb 25, 2014 at 20:09
  • @draksia Arrrghhh... I thought I remembered that, which is why I googled his recipe, and then I didn't see the steaming on skimming it. WIll have to update later when I have more time.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Feb 25, 2014 at 20:26

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