Nashville Hot Grill-Fried Chicken Wings

Featuring spicy Nashville Hot grill fried chicken wings with homemade pickles.

Crispy, savory, and addictively juicy Nashville Hot Grill-Fried Chicken Wings will have your taste buds hooked at first bite with the slow burn of bold spices. Like a country song racing up the charts, these grilled chicken wings will be an instant hit.

Is there anything better than biting into a succulent piece of chicken, juices dripping down your hands as you almost hum in excitement at the explosion of flavors? These wings combine everything you love about both chicken wings and Nashville hot chicken in perfect harmony.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy process for fried chicken. Grill-fried chicken gives you the crunchy texture you love of fried chicken without all of the mess and work. The steps can really be broken down into three simple steps, brine, grill, and baste. You don’t even need to get your hands dirty till you’re diving into that gloriously stacked pile of wings. Just toss them in the bag with your seasoned flour and shake away.
  • Versatility with grills. This recipe for Nashville hot chicken wings can easily be prepared on either your basic charcoal grill or a gas grill. It’s all about that indirect heat. In addition, upping the heat or toning it down to your own personal tastes makes this grilled chicken wing recipe versatile for every palate. 
  • Accessible ingredients. Besides the homemade Nashville Hot Seasoning that uses spices you probably already have in your cabinet, all you need for these Nashville hot wings is tangy pickle juice, a little water to dilute the pickle juice for the brine, all-purpose batter for the light coating of batter, and a neutral oil like canola, grapeseed, or vegetable oil for the baste.
Grill fried chicken is a fun way to get crispy chicken without having to deep fry.

Close to Authentic Nashville Hot Chicken

The classic Nashville hot chicken recipe is traditionally fried chicken that’s been marinated, battered, fried, and brushed or tossed with spicy hot oil. Each step of the process builds another layer of flavor that permeates through the meat and breading creating an explosion of heat and spice in every bite. It’s an entire experience that will have you craving the next bite even as you’re chewing on the first. 

Have you ever wondered if you can fry chicken on the grill? Grill-fried chicken is a process I’ve been working on for a few years, trying to mimic crispy fried chicken on the grill without the work, mess, and process of deep frying. Naturally, making Nashville hot grill-fried chicken was one of the first flavors.

Using a thin coating of flour and brushing with spicy oil, the high heat of the grill fries the outside, crisping it up into a similar texture and experience. It isn’t a thick breading on the outside, but it has the same flavor and texture as a thinly coated fried chicken wing. The light coating of flour becomes one with the bubbly, rendered, crispy skin giving you texture in every bite.

Make sure you have sweet and spicy pickles to pair with your Nashville hot chicken wings

Important Tips for Grill-Fried Chicken

  • One batch of Nashville Hot Seasoning is enough to make up to three pounds of wings. It goes into every layer, the brine, the seasoned flour, and the spicy oil baste. Go ahead and make extra though so you can serve Nashville Hot Pickle Potato Salad alongside. 
  • 4 hours is the maximum recommended time to brine your chicken wings. Anything beyond that and the acid will begin cooking the meat, changing the texture. In addition, it could also dye your wings green-ish (yuck).
  • You only need a light coating of oil when basting your wings. It should just hug the outside, working with the heat to cause the wings to crisp up. Too much oil and it will have the opposite effect, causing the wings to become soggy. No one wants soggy wings.
  • Regardless of what type of grill you are using, always make sure that your grates are thoroughly clean before placing your wings on the grill. In addition, resist the urge to flip too early. This will ensure that they easily release from the grates and your skin doesn’t rip.

Step 1: Brine the Chicken Wings

If you are using whole chicken wings, remove the tips and separate the flats from the drums. Add your wings to a large zip-top bag or storage container along with the pickle juice, water, and Nashville hot seasoning. Remove as much air as possible and shake to combine all of the ingredients.

It doesn’t take long for the pickle brine to work its magic and permeate the meat while tenderizing it. You only need to refrigerate these for 2-4 hours.

Batter the wings by adding them into a bag or container with the seasoned flour.

Step 2: Batter the Wings

Add your seasoning and flour to either a large paper bag or a container with a lid. Give it a shake to evenly distribute the seasoning. Remove your wings from the brine and pat them dry with a paper towel. Add them to the seasoned flour and close the top.

Give it a vigorous shake to thoroughly combine. Check them to make sure the wings are evenly coated in the seasoned flour.

Place the wings on a wire rack with a baking sheet and place in the fridge for 30 minutes, allowing the batter to set.

Place them on a wire rack fitted into a baking sheet and allow them to refrigerate uncovered for 30 minutes. This will help the batter dry out and adhere to the wings.

If you’re not able to fit the wings on a baking sheet in the fridge, at least set them out on the counter while you heat up the grill. The worst thing would be to have them piled together, smothering each other. The surface needs a little time to dry out.

Prepare the spicy oil baste to brush the wings with.

Step 4: Light the Grill and Get Ready

Fire up the grill! Go ahead and pop open a cold beer and double-click those tongs. It’s time to light that fire.

  • Charcoal Grill – If you are using a charcoal grill such as the classic kettle, position your hot coals into the center of the grill leaving the entire outer circumference coal-free. Using your grill baskets works well for this.
  • Gas Grill – If using a gas grill or other type of grill only ignite one side of the burners on medium-high heat. You want your grill heated to about 375 degrees.

Prepare the Spicy Oil Baste

You can either prepare the baste ahead of time or while the wings are chilling.

Add your spice mix to a small saucepan over medium heat. Use a basting brush to continuously gently stir the spices, waking up the flavors and allowing them to toast. It should just take a couple of minutes for them to become aromatic. Carefully stream in the oil while stirring the spices. Once combined turn off the heat (or remove the pot from the coals) and allow the seasoned spicy oil to come to room temperature.

Place the battered wings indirectly from the coals on the grill.

Step 4: Cook the Wings Indirectly

Cook the wings undisturbed for 20 minutes. Position your wings around the outer perimeter of the coals, or on the cool side of the gas grill. Close the lid and go ahead and finish your beer.

After 20 minutes the flour will dry out, this is a sign we need to baste the wings.

Leave them alone for 20 minutes, which allows the seasoned flour to set into the skin (see above). After 20 minutes go ahead and touch the skin. The flour should be fairly dry and even a little crisp.

That’s a sign we need to start basting.

Start basting with the Nashville hot spicy oil.

Step 5: Baste and Flip

Once the wings are dry on the outside use the spicy oil baste and brush the outside of the wings. Flip them over and baste the top.

You don’t need to use a copious amount of oil. It should just be a light coating to hug the skin and help them crisp up even more. You will use more of the oil at the end.

Close the lid and allow your wings to grill for 15 more minutes.

These Nashville hot grill fried wings are almost ready to take off the grill.

After 15 minutes you can baste and flip as needed. They should be so crispy on the outside that you’re already craving that first fiery bite.

Aim for an internal temperature should around 185°F. Wings not only can take a higher heat but are better for it. The outside will be crispy, and the inside very juicy.

Step 6: Serve and Baste

Once they’ve reached the target temp, go ahead and remove the Nashville hot grill-fried chicken. Hopefully, you didn’t use all of the spicy oil baste, because now is the time to finish brushing those wings right as you serve.

Serve these Nashville hot chicken wings with slices of white bread and homemade pickles, which are a MUST.

Dig in to this pile of crispy grill-fried wings seasoned with Nashville hot seasoning mix.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Nashville hot flavor?

Nashville hot is a combination of sweet, savory, and spicy, with the kick of spice hitting you first. The predominant source of heat comes from cayenne which wakes up your taste buds instantly. Our Nashville Hot Seasoning mix also utilizes the smoky and earthy bite of chipotle, causing the heat to build as you eat it. However, if you use our recipe for the seasoning it shows you how to customize it to your preferred level of heat.

Should I oil my wings before grilling them?

There is no need to oil your wings for this method. The grill-fried chicken wings are lightly basted with oil during the cooking process. Combined with the high heat and the light coating of flour that was allowed to dry, the result is crispy wings. Adding oil prior to cooking will give you soggy wings instead of that crunchy bite you crave.

Is Nashville hot grill-fried chicken healthy?

Traditional Nashville hot chicken is deep fried and then coated in the spicy seasoned oil. Is it delicious? Absolutely. This recipe for grill-fried chicken wings eliminates the frying instead using the high indirect heat of the grill combined with just a light dusting of seasoned flour to give you the same flavor profile and experience. These are a much healthier option without sacrificing any of the essence of the Nashville hot chicken experience.

Will the flour burn on the grill?

No. These Nashville hot grill-fried chicken wings are cooked on indirect heat for the entire process. Like a convection oven, the heat circulates without the flames ever coming into contact with the chicken itself.

Recipes that Pair with Nashville Hot

Try any of these to add some zing to your plate of Nashville hot chicken wings:

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Featuring spicy Nashville Hot grill fried chicken wings with homemade pickles.

Nashville Hot Grill-Fried Chicken Wings

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Crispy, savory, and addictively juicy Nashville Hot Grill-Fried Chicken Wings will have your taste buds hooked at first bite with the slow burn of bold spices. Like a country song racing up the charts, these grilled chicken wings will be an instant hit.

  • Total Time: About 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 3-4 1x

Ingredients

Scale

Chicken Wing Brine

  • 23 pounds of chicken wings
  • 1 cup dill pickle juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Nashville Hot Seasoning

Seasoning Dredge

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Nashville Hot Seasoning

Spicy Oil Baste

  • 1/2 cup Nashville Hot Seasoning
  • 1 cups neutral oil (vegetable, grapeseed, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Remove the wings and brush with the rest of the spicy oil baste. Serve with white bread and a side of homemade pickles.

Notes

  • Make sure you do not marinate the wings for more than 4 hours max.
  • The flour will not burn, unless you grill the wings directly over the heat. Don’t do that.
  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Marinate Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Chicken & Poultry
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Appetizer
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