South Korea does chicken wings like no other country. Striking the perfect balance between spicy, sweet, smokey and crunchy, these wings will fast become your new favorite.
If you haven’t made many Korean or Chinese dishes before then you might be struck by the sheer number of ingredients needed for the sauce, particularly as a few of them are very specific to Asian cuisine. I encourage you to try your best to get them as best as possible from your nearest Asian supermarket or online (I’ll include some handy Amazon links below). There are substitutes or alternatives available, but in the case of Korean wings I recommend getting as close to the real deal as possible.
If you don’t have a charcoal grill then I can’t recommend getting one highly enough. They’re nowhere near as expensive as you might think, and even the Weber Kettle (a classic charcoal grill) can be bought at a very fair price on Amazon.
When you set up your grill, remember to set it up for indirect grilling. In short, this is where your coals sit under one half of your grill surface and place your food on the other half. This’ll help effectively turn into your grill chamber into an oven, and prevent the fire from searing your food. I have a guide on how to set up for indirect grilling here.
Smoked BBQ Korean Chicken Wings
- Charcoal grill
- Cherry wood chips
For the brine:
- 1 gallon water
- 1 cup sea salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 lemon halved
- ½ head garlic
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 10 peppercorns
For the wings:
- 3 lbs chicken wings
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- For the sauce:
- ½ cup gochujang paste
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ⅓ cup honey
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp ginger grated
For the garnish:
- ⅓ cup sesame seeds
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- Start with the brine. Add water to large pan. Stir in sugar and salt. Mix well.
- Bring pan to boil and then remove from heat. Stir in lemon, garlic, thyme peppercorn.
- Leave to cool to room temperature and add chicken wings. Submerge the wings, cover well, and transfer to refrigerator. Leave for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- Heat up grill, aiming for temperature of 375°F/190°C. Close lid and allow to preheat, usually 10 minutes. Use grill surface thermometer to monitor temperature accurately.
- Remove wings from brine. Drain them and pat down with paper towels to remove any excess brine.
- Brush the wings with olive oil. Transfer wings to grill over indirect heat. Cook until internal temperature reaches 170°F/75°C, usually 50-60 minutes.
- While the wings cook, make the sauce. Add all the sauce ingredients to a large bowl and combine well. Whisk until smooth.
- Transfer to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring sauce to simmer before removing from heat and setting aside.
- Once wings are cooked, transfer to cutting board and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Toss wings in sauce, green onion, and sesame seeds. Serve up and enjoy.