The Grill Dads' Better Than Buffalo Wings Recipe - Exclusive

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There are wings, and then there are wings. Ryan Fey and Mark Anderson, aka The Grill Dads, know the difference, and after trying their recipe for their "Better Than Buffalo" wings, you will, too.

The Grill Dads' new cookbook, "The Best Grilling Cookbook Ever Written by Two Idiots," offers guidance on cooking on the grill — with myriad recipes that encapsulate the duo's signature refined-yet-fun style. "We're not this elitist kind of cookbook type of crew. We're... showing you how to make elevated dishes on the grill," Fey told Mashed in an exclusive interview. He added: "And by the way, our stuff is not basic ... We have twists on everything in our own way."

Take the book's take on wings, shared with Mashed exclusively. Fey and Anderson are quick to point out that Buffalo wings around the country "are soggy, sad, and fried in the same oil as the fish and chips. Gross." You know what's not gross? Treating your chicken to a dry brine, then a smoking, then a char on the grill, then a quick fry for super crispy skin. Finally, the wings get dressed in a hot honey sauce ("the perfect combo of sweet and heat") and are served alongside a homemade ranch crema for dipping. Have some (read: many) napkins at the ready and dive in.

Reprinted with permission from "The Best Grilling Cookbook Ever Written by Two Idiots" by Ryan Fey and Mark Anderson. Published by Page Street Publishing Co.

The Grill Dads' Better Than Buffalo Wings Recipe - Exclusive
5 from 15 ratings
Warning: These wings may just ruin normal Buffalo wings for you. The Grill Dads' epic recipe involves brining, smoking, grilling, and frying. It's all worth it.
Prep Time
Cook Time
hot wings with ranch crema
Total time: 25 hours, 30 minutes
  • For the wings
  • 3 pounds chicken wings, split into flats and drumettes
  • Kosher salt, for seasoning
  • Black pepper, for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • For the ranch crema
  • ½ cup crema
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup finely chopped chives
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • For the hot honey sauce
  • ½ cup light honey
  • ⅓ cup hot sauce (Tapatío, Texas Pete's, or Crystal)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  1. A day before you plan to eat them, generously season the wings on both sides with kosher salt and black pepper. Spread the wings out on a drying rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Combine the cornstarch and baking soda in a small bowl, and then use a fine-mesh strainer to dust the mixture onto both sides of the wings. Chill the wings, uncovered, for 24 hours.
  2. You can make the ranch crema just before serving, or a day in advance. Combine the crema, buttermilk, chives, parsley, garlic, kosher salt and black pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine, cover and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  3. Set a smoker or grill for smoking at low, about 250 F (120 C). We like cherry or a blend for this. Smoke the wings directly on the grates until they reach 150 F (65 C), roughly 60 minutes. Remove the wings from the grill and set the grill to medium-high heat, about 450 F (230 C). Return the wings to the grill over direct heat. Your goal is a good char, about 2 minutes per side. Move the wings off the grill and mix up the sauce by combining the honey, hot sauce, garlic and butter in a small bowl. Have this standing by.
  4. Next step is to get those wings nice and crispy. Heat a wok over medium-high heat (this can be done on the grill, the stovetop or the side burner, if you've got it). When the wok is hot, add the avocado oil, followed directly with the wings. The trick here is to keep the wok and wings moving. As soon as the skin on the wings begins to bubble, add the sauce mixture and keep tossing until the sauce has thickened. Immediately remove the wings from the wok onto a cooling rack—this will keep them crisp while they cool enough to pick up. Serve the wings hot with the cool crema for dipping.
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