These Grilled Cacio e Pepe Chicken Wings are an awesome summer alternative to the classic buffalo wing. No deep frying or hot oven required for these! Buttermilk brined, then grilled until crispy, and tossed in an incredible butter sauce reminiscent of the classic cacio e pepe pasta dish…these are addictingly delicious!
To Brine the Wings:
- 2 lbs chicken wing pieces
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
For Cooking and Serving:
- Canola or grapeseed oil, for brushing on the grill
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 garlic cloves, grated or pressed (we want very fine pieces of garlic)
- 1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns
- 1 cup of finely grated pecorino romano cheese
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and additional black pepper, to taste
To Brine the Wings:
- Place the chicken wings in a large bowl and pour over the buttermilk. Add in the garlic cloves and salt and stir everything around a bit to combine.
- Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours (and up to overnight!).
- Remove the chicken wings from the brine just before cooking.
For Cooking the Wings:
- Preheat the grill. We want to create two zones of heat on the grill – to do this, light only half of the burners on a gas grill. This will create a hot zone and an indirect heat zone. If using a charcoal grill, apply the same technique by placing the charcoal on one side of the grill to create a section that will not be as hot. Preheat the grill for at least 20 minutes before you grill the wings.
- Brush the grates of the grill with oil.
- Place the wings straight from the brine onto the cooler part of the grill (the indirect heat side). Grill for 5 minutes on the first side, flip, and then grill on the second side for 5 minutes more. Depending on how your grill cooks, you may need to increase the cooking time by 1-3 minutes on each side. Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature. We want an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Once the wings are cooked through, move the wings over to the hot zone of your grill. Char them until they are crispy and blackened in spots, about 2 minutes per side.
For Serving the Wings:
- While the wings are grilling, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter.
- Once the butter is melted and hot, add the garlic and peppercorns, stirring or swirling the pan constantly to prevent them from burning.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in half of the cheese and parsley. Taste the mixture and add salt, as needed.
- As soon as the wings come off the grill, place them on a large rimmed baking sheet covered in foil. Pour the butter sauce all over them evenly, turning them to evenly coat.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese and parsley over top. Grind a little bit of black pepper over the wings and serve!
I highly recommend the brining step in this recipe. The wings easily dry out on the grill without it (which is why chicken wings are usually deep fried – keeps them moist). That said, the steps of the recipe are otherwise simple and straightforward; it just requires a little bit of extra time accommodation for the brining time!
- Prep Time: 4 hours 30 minutes (inactive brining time)
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: chicken
Keywords: grilled chicken wings recipe, cacio e pepe chicken wings, cacio e pepe sauce, brining chicken wings, easy chicken wing recipe