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Bourbon Buffalo Wings Recipe

This post is sponsored by Horse Soldier Bourbon. Sponsored posts, along with affiliate links, are what enable bloggers like me to maintain and operate sites that are free to the public. That said, I only work with products and brands that I personally use and would feel proud to give as a gift.

Does it get any more traditional for the big game gathering than a good chicken wing? These bourbon buffalo wings make the perfect finger food for any occasion, and your guests will be beyond impressed with this pile of deliciousness.

This bourbon wing recipe combines two of my favorite things: wings and bourbon of course. What’s better, I’m using a bourbon barrel-aged hot sauce from Horse Soldier bourbon that’s next-level complex.

buffalo wings ready to serve

I’ve been enjoying Horse Soldier bourbon for quite some time, and only recently found they age hot sauce, maple syrup, and even BBQ sauce in their used bourbon barrels. The subtle bourbon and oak flavors imparted after the aging is really unique and unlike anything found on a grocery store shelf.

In any case, in this blog I answer some of the most often asked questions about wings and share, what is in my opinion, the absolute best wing sauce ever.

close up of buffalo wings

What Is The Best Way To Cook Chicken Wings?

This is a subjective question of course, largely depending on how you like your wings. For example, if you like a really crispy wing, you might consider using a deep fryer or an air fryer. I personally prefer to grill my wings, but if you don’t have a grill or a deep fryer, you can absolutely oven bake them.

Oven baked wings are probably the simplest to make, though they won’t be as crispy as a deep fried wing, nor will they have that hint of charcoal flavor from the grill that I love so much.

buffalo wings on the grill

If you’re going to use the oven, I recommend you preheat the oven to 425 °F for 20 minutes before putting the wings in. Allow them to bake for 10 minutes at that temperature before reducing the temperature to 385 °F until they are done. This will help crisp up the skin.

You should also line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch any drippings. The foil makes clean-up in your oven MUCH easier.

What Temperature Are Chicken Wings Done?

Done and ready to eat are two different things. The FDA says chicken wings are safe to eat at 165 °F. So technically they are “done” when they reach that temperature.

That said, I much prefer to take my wings (and drumsticks) to the 195 °F range. The dark meat is fatty enough that it won’t dry out, and the additional temperature makes for a really tender bite.

cooked buffalo wings before glaze

What Part of the Chicken Is the Buffalo Wing?

This might sound like a funny question, but it gets asked often. Here’s the deal… there is no “buffalo” part of the chicken.

The use of the word buffalo when describing wings refers to two things. First, the origin of the “buffalo wing,” which is said to be in Buffalo, New York. It’s a really interesting story and worth a Google search if you’re up for some light reading.

Second, buffalo refers to the style of sauce used on wings. This style of sauce consists of a base of hot sauce and butter, and purists often stop there. Of course in this recipe we’re going beyond basic.

 pan filled with Buffalo sauce

How Do You Make Buffalo Wing Sauce?

As I mentioned, a purist would tell you that buffalo sauce is simply hot sauce and butter. It’s not a bad combination and I’ve eaten my share of those wings for years.

I just prefer a bit more complexity in the flavor profile and the bourbon brings that. While I enjoy a plain smoked wing, a barbecue wing, an Asian-style wing, and a basic garlic and butter wing, these bourbon buffalo wings are my favorite by a country mile.

raw chicken in a steel bowl

Why Is Celery Traditionally Paired With Buffalo Wings? 

When you order a plate of wings at a restaurant, they likely come served with carrots and celery. This isn’t just for garnish; those crispy veggies provide a nice texture contrast to the meat of the wing.

In addition to the texture contrast, a really hot wing benefits from the coolness of the veggies, along with some ranch or blue cheese dressing.

In this bourbon buffalo wing recipe, no dressing is required. I’d categorize these as a medium heat level, with the heat definitely coming as an afterthought. You’ll certainly taste the slight sweetness from the bourbon and brown sugar first, along with some hints of vanilla and caramel that bourbon imparts in foods.

celery and buffalo wings with green onion garnish

Tips For Making Bourbon Buffalo Wings

The Wings: Wings can be cooked either whole, or separated into the drumett and flat. The whole wing requires less prep of course, and I love nibbling on the crispy wing tip. 

Separating the portions is a bit more work up front but makes them easier to eat. When separating the wing into parts, don’t discard the wing tip. Save those to make homemade chicken stock. 

The Crunch: If you like the flavor you get from grilling wings, but the crispness of the deep fryer, there’s a solution. Try dusting the wings with a light coat of baking soda and let them dry out overnight, uncovered, in the refrigerator.

The baking soda pulls a lot of moisture out of the skin, and allows it to get more crispy on the grill.

wings coated with baking soad

The Bourbon: If you’ve followed my blog long, you know I am all about saving a buck when possible. Cooking with wine for example; I always suggest cooking with inexpensive table wine because the flavor wine imparts into a sauce doesn’t get better using a high-end wine.

That’s not the case with bourbon. I like to cook with what I drink. Food cooked with cheap bourbon tastes like food cooked with cheap bourbon. You’re not using a ton of it in the food, so use what you drink.  

Horse Soldier bourbon bottle with a glass

Bourbon Buffalo Wings Recipe

Serves: 2-4 |Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 40-45 minutes

Ingredients
2 lbs chicken wings (drumettes and flats)
¼ cup Horse Soldier Bourbon
2 tbsp BBQ rub
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

For the Glaze:
4 tbsp butter
¼ cup Horse Soldier bourbon 
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup Horse Soldier hot sauce
2 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
1 tbsp honey

How to Make Bourbon Buffalo Wings

Step 1: Place the chicken in a zip top bag, and add ¼ cup of bourbon to the bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal bag, allow the chicken to marinate for 30-60 minutes.

adding bourbon to a bag a chicken to marinade it

Step 2: While chicken is marinating, light grill and set up for two-zone cooking, establishing temperature at 385 °F.


Step 3: Remove the wings from the marinade and season them with your favorite BBQ rub, then place them on the grill over indirect heat. Close the lid and allow them to roast for 40-45 minutes, until the internal temperature of the wings reaches 195 °F.

wings seasoned with barbecue rub and placed on a rack for cooking

Tip: It’s convenient for transportation to place the chicken on a cooling rack, and then put it on the grill. Spray the cooking rack lightly with some nonstick cooking spray.


Step 4: While the chicken is roasting, make the glaze by melting butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium high heat. Once butter has melted, add bourbon and whisk in brown sugar until it dissolves into the bourbon and butter mixture. Then whisk in the remaining ingredients for the glaze and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, allowing the sauce to reduce and thicken.

making glaze on a grill

Step 5: Remove the wings from the grill, and place them in a large mixing bowl. Pour warm glaze on the chicken.

adding glaze to chicken wings

Step 6: Toss the wings in the sauce to coat them evenly.

tossing wings in a big bowl to coat them

Step 7: Plate the wings and garnish with parsley for service.

buffalo wings, bourbon and hot sauce

Bourbon Buffalo Wings

5 from 25 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken wings drumettes and flats
  • ¼ cup Horse Soldier Bourbon
  • 2 tbsp BBQ rub
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped

For the Glaze:

Instructions

  • Place the chicken in a zip top bag, and add ¼ cup of bourbon to the bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal bag, allow the chicken to marinate for 30-60 minutes.
  • While chicken is marinating, light grill and set up for two-zone cooking, establishing temperature at 385°F.
  • Remove the wings from the marinade and season them with your favorite BBQ rub, then place them on the grill over indirect heat. Close the lid and allow them to roast for 40-45 minutes, until the internal temperature of the wings reaches 195°F.
  • While the chicken is roasting, make the glaze by melting butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium high heat. Once butter has melted, add bourbon and whisk in brown sugar until it dissolves into the bourbon and butter mixture. Then whisk in the remaining ingredients for the glaze and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, allowing the sauce to reduce and thicken.
  • Remove the wings from the grill, and place them in a large mixing bowl. Pour warm glaze on the chicken.
  • Toss the wings in the sauce to coat them evenly.
  • Plate the wings and garnish with parsley for service.

Notes

Does it get any more traditional for the big game gathering than a good chicken wing? These bourbon buffalo wings make the perfect finger food for any occasion, and your guests will be beyond impressed with this pile of deliciousness.

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