Can You Broil Chicken Wings Instead of Grilling Them?

Buffalo chicken wings
Chicken wings with dipping sauce. (Image: sutsaiy/iStock/Getty Images)

The broiler's something of an underused cooking method in many American kitchens, yet it offers a quick, relatively healthy way to cook meat, including chicken wings. In a broiler, the heat comes from above to cook food on a tray below. Apply the same types of rubs and marinades that you would when grilling.

Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are a good size for broiling. You can fit 10 or more on a broiler tray, depending of course on your oven size. Because they can taste a little bland by themselves, it's a good idea to marinade the wings overnight before broiling in whatever style of sauce you prefer. Remove the skin after broiling to cut down on fat, as the skin contains more fat than the meat.

Broiling

Chicken wings take between 15 and 25 minutes to cook under a broiler, depending on the size of the wings. Rub the broiler rack with a light coating of olive oil to prevent the wings from sticking. Place the rack on top of a broiler tray so that the fat runs clear from the meat, rather than soaking back into the skin. The rack should sit around 4 to 5 inches from the broiler heat, according to a recipe from Epicurious. A nice browned color is a sign that the wings are ready, but to be safe, check that the inside temperature is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, advises the FoodSaftey.gov website.

Benefits and Tips

Broiling can result in a leaner chicken wing than grilling. It also creates a crispier skin without the need for deep frying or heading outside to fire up the barbecue. If you have an oven broiler, leave the door ajar when cooking. This prevents the steaming and roasting of the wings and keeps the dry heat directly on the chicken skin. Add a small amount of water to the pan under the broiler tray to stop fat from spitting and to reduce fire risk.

Broiling Drawbacks

Broiling isn't without its downsides. The air space beneath a broiling rack increases the overall cooking time and means you need to flip the wings partway through cooking, according to The New York Times. Also, if you push the rack too close to the heat, the chicken wing skin is liable to burn or even catch fire. Because the fat drips off the wing if you use a broiler tray, it can become dry. Make sure you baste or marinate the wings to keep them moist.

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