Sometimes you need a really simple no fuss meal. This method of how to grill wings with charcoal lets you stand around the grill and enjoy some beers with friends without stressing out. You'll have a two-zone fire. An indirect heat area for "baking" the wings and then a medium-high or high direct heat area to crisp and char the wings. I'll also discuss the idea of multiple applications of BBQ sauce. If you notice, I'm saying "BBQ sauce" here not "wing sauce." To make this real simple I'm suggesting the use of pre-made BBQ sauce. Take a look!
Frozen wings (partially thawed or thawed is good too)
I fill a charcoal chimney about 3/4 full of coals. Let the coals flame up a bit and then dump it to the right side of the grill. Once the temperature has stabilized a bit, spread the coals out just a little and position the wings on the indirect side of the grill. One good tip here is to arrange the wings so the fattest part of the drumstick is the closest to the heat. Put those little smaller wing pieces to the back since they will cook much faster.
Close the dome (all vents open of course) and leave these wings to cook for a good 20 or 30 minutes. This is optimal "grill hang out time" since the grill should start putting off some good smells and you don't have any real work to do.
Pull out your Thermapen and check those wings. Finished chicken cooking temperature is 165 degrees F. However, let the wings cook to about 145-150 while over indirect heat. The next step is to sauce the wings and move them to higher heat direct grilling. This will finish cooking the wings, give them some char and get that BBQ sauce nicely grilled.
At this point you can casually grill the wings over direct heat with the dome open. After about 30 minutes of grilling the direct heat side will have died down a bit so it will be hard to burn and ruin the wings. But keep a close eye on things.
As I said these are easy casual wings so I used a bottle of Dimples sauce that I had lying around from a BBQ sauce review I'm putting together.
Using a brush paint the wings with your sauce and move them all around. A few seconds over direct heat, flip them, and then back over the indirect heat area. Feel free to call this tinkering. A few of my buddies and I were grilling wings like this a few weeks back. We knew the wings were done but didn't want to head back inside just yet. Why you ask? Well there were 3 rambunctious toddlers in the house as well as two infants. It was much more peaceful outside next to the grill. I doubt our wives read this, so I should be fine.
So these wings are completely done but in these photos and I'm just painting them with more sauce, moving them from direct heat to indirect heat and generally just hanging out by the grill. Leaving the dome off while doing this will pretty much just grill the sauce and char the wings without overcooking them. When a sauce has a decent bit of sugar in it you'll notice that the sauce will caramelize a bit. This is great. The lower the chicken wing internal temperature when you stop the indirect "baking" of the wings, the longer you'll get to grill the wings over direct heat. And certainly don't be shy yelling into the wives, "Girls, the wings just aren't done yet! I have to cook them to at least 165 degrees!"