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How to Prevent Chicken Wings from Sticking to the Grill

Barbecue season is upon us! And that means firing up the grill to cook some delicious chicken wings.

But if you’ve ever tried to grill chicken wings, you know that they can be a bit tricky. The skin tends to stick to the grill, making it difficult to get those perfect grilled markings.

So how do you prevent chicken wings from sticking to the grill? Follow along to learn the steps to take to prevent them from sticking.

Chicken wings cooking on a BBQ grill

Ways to Prevent Chicken wings from Sticking to the Grill?

If you’re grilling chicken wings, there are a few things you can do to prevent them from sticking to the grill. Here are 6 ways to help keep chicken wings from sticking to the grates.

1. Coat the chicken with oil before grilling

To prevent chicken wings from sticking to the grill, start by using a heat-resistant brush to apply a thin layer of cooking oil to the grates.

Next, apply a thin layer of olive oil to the meat with a grill brush and add your seasoning to the wings.

2. Grill at Low to Medium Heat

If you grill wings at low to medium heat it will prevent them from sticking, follow these simple steps. It is also super important to preheat the grill before adding the wings.

3. Use a Spice Rub

Using a spice rub on wings before grilling can help prevent them from sticking to the grill by forming a barrier between the chicken and the grates.

The spices in the rub act as a protective barrier, which helps to keep the chicken from sticking.

Additionally, the spices and oils will add flavor and help to give the chicken a nice crispy crust.

4. Marinate the chicken wings

Marinating chicken wings before grilling them is a great way to help prevent them from sticking to the grill.

Marinating the wings helps to add flavor and tenderness to the meat, which helps form a barrier between the grill and the meat.

Check out my post on how to marinate chicken wings to add flavor and tenderness to your wings.

5. Preheat the grill

Preheating the grill is a crucial step to prevent chicken wings from sticking. By preheating the grill, it will get to the temperatures needed to cook the chicken, reducing the risk of sticking significantly.

It is also important to avoid direct heat and to make sure the wings are cooked through before removing them from the grill.

6. Clean Your Grill

To ensure that your chicken wings don’t stick to your grill, you’ll need to clean it regularly. The best way to do this is to brush it clean after cooking and before cooking again, while the grill is still warm.

Why Do Chicken Wings Stick to The Grill Grates?

Chicken wings can stick to the grill for a few different reasons. First, the proteins in the chicken form bonds with the hot, bare metal of the grill’s grate.

These bonds eventually weaken as the chicken cooks, so if the meat isn’t hot enough, it may stick to the grate.

Secondly, if the grill grates are dirty or don’t have enough oil, they won’t act as a lubricant and the meat will stick.

Lastly, if the chicken has rich seasonings or sauces on them, the sugar content can turn to carbon as they cook and stick to the grates.

With so many varieties of chicken parts, learn how to keep chicken from sticking to the grill.


Yes, you should put oil on the chicken before grilling. Oil helps to prevent sticking to the grill and releases more fat-soluble flavor compounds in the seasoning for better-tasting meat.

No, it is not recommended to sauce your wings before grilling as the sugar in the sauce will burn quickly and prevent the wings from crisping up.

It’s best to wait until the end of the grilling time to add the sauce, which should be anywhere from two to five minutes before they’re done.

Cooking chicken wings on the grill can be tricky, as they are small and can quickly burn. Cook the wings, uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the skin is crispy.

Make sure to turn the wings every 2 to 3 minutes to ensure even browning.

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