Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

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It probably goes without saying that chicken wings are one of the most popular foods out there. Whether they’re enjoyed around the table on a warm summer night or during the big game, a plate of wings is hard to beat. These lemon pepper wings add some extra flavor to your wings that you won’t ever forget.

With the lemon flavor and pepper (which cuts through the acidity of the lemon), these wings are sure to become addictive. Don’t be surprised if your family or guests start fighting over the last ones left on the plate. This recipe uses a simple dry rub recipe that is quick to throw together.

Make these for the next event or just a nice night visiting with family and friends.

What is a Rub?

You might have used a dry rub before when grilling, either homemade or store-bought. A dry rub is a blend of spices, seasonings, and aromatics. As the name suggests, there are no wet ingredients. The mixture is added to the meat and adds in a great amount of flavor.

Some people think a dry rub is the same as a dry brine, but they are slightly different. A dry brine will work into the meat longer before being cooked (check out our chicken wing brine recipe here). A dry rub, on the other hand, is applied to the meat right before you put it onto the grill.

In this recipe, you will add the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix in the ground pepper, lemon zest, thyme, garlic powder, and kosher salt. Next, you will add some olive oil to the wings before you rub the seasonings on them.

Since you are using olive oil, this isn’t a complete dry rub recipe. We find that adding in some olive oil to the wings before putting the seasoning on allows the dry ingredients to mix into the meat easier.

Even though you are using olive oil, try not to make the wings too wet. The seasonings won’t be able to grill into the wings as efficiently. Making the wings too wet might also make them soggy or have them burn too quickly.  The oil is just there to make the rub stick, so a very thin coating will do.

Consider putting the olive oil in a measuring cup so that it doesn’t pour too quickly out of the bottle.

Can You Make Hot Lemon Pepper Wings?

I’m sure it’s possible, but in my experience lemon pepper wings are generally not served spicy.  The flavor profile of these wings just don’t quite mesh the best with spicy ingredients.

With that being said, I’ve seen lemon pepper wings served with a spicy buffalo sauce on the side – so it’s possible.  However, our preference is to keep the lemon pepper wings separate and make a batch of spicier wings that use a different recipe if you want to get a little spice on your plate.

What Are the Best Dipping Sauces for Lemon Pepper Wings

Lemon pepper are actually one of the few wing types that I may prefer on their own, but they also pair really nicely with some of your classic wing dipping sauces.  Here are some of our top suggestions:

  • Ranch
  • Bleu cheese
  • Any parmesan based sauce
  • Honey mustard
  • Classic wing sauce (or hot)
  • Jerk wing sauce

How to Get Crispy Wing Skin On the Grill

Crispy chicken wings are a fan favorite among adults and children. The main trick when it comes to getting the skin nice and crispy is to not let it burn or char.

Keep the grill on medium-high heat. Also, try to ensure that the grill flames do not flare-up. If the grill is flaring or the wings seem to be burning too quickly, reduce the heat closer to medium.

The key to getting crispy wings on the grill is constantly turning them over high heat. Making the best wings on the grill is an active process!  Since you are grilling the wings for 15-20 minutes, the wings would get way too charred if you were to only flip them once.

A good rule of thumb is to flip your wings every 3 minutes for maximum crispiness.

Things You’ll Need

The great part about these wings is that don’t require extensive kitchen equipment and won’t leave a huge mess in the kitchen or next to your grill. You can make these wings quickly and clean up even quicker.

Make sure you have the following supplies:

  • Mixing bowl for combining the dry ingredients
  • Grill
  • Tongs for flipping the wings (the longer the better so you don’t have to get your hands too close to the grill)
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cup for olive oil

What Side Dishes Can I Serve with Lemon Pepper Wings?

Pairing side dishes with lemon pepper wings is pretty easy since it’s a basic grilling food. Your side dishes may depend on your party vibe or the guests you have over.  If you are having the wings for the big game or want a more traditional BBQ vibe, you can try some of these dishes:

  • French fries
  • Potato salad
  • Different flavors of chips
  • Baked beans
  • Mac & Cheese

To keep the meal healthy, you can try some of the following dishes:

  • Grilled vegetables such as zucchini, squash, or peppers
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Baked potatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Side salad either with or before the meal
  • Slice avocado
  • Rice

Don’t forget to serve ranch, bleu cheese, or another favorite dipping sauce for the wings. Some people also love celery with their wings. If you are looking to make the wings look perfect or fancy for servings, put them on a large platter. Add on some parsley and lemon slices to make the wings look restaurant-ready.

Final Thoughts

These lemon pepper chicken wings are easy to prepare and make. Their simple but fragrant flavor makes them a favorite of every age group on every occasion. Serve these to your kids, relatives, or friends. They will be begging you to make them again.

It’s also worth noting that our recipe below serves 4!  But don’t be afraid to make the full recipe even if you have fewer people as these wings make great leftovers.  We’ve created a guide to reheating chicken wings for maximum results if you end up with some extra chicken on your hands!

Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

Our grilled lemon pepper wings recipe is our take on the all time classic wings recipe!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • Tongs

Ingredients
  

  • 4 lbs chicken wings
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Lemon Pepper Rub Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • Toss chicken wings with light layer of olive oil in a large bowl
  • Combine rub ingredients in a separate bowl
  • Add a little bit of seasoning to the wings and toss. Repeat until the wings are thoroughly and uniformly coated with rub
  • Preheat grill to 425ºF
  • Place wings on grill grate. Rotate every 3 minutes - try to not open the grill lid outside of the times you are rotating the wings
  • Remove wings from grill after about 15-20 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked with crispy outsides and potentially a light char
  • Allow wings to cool for about 3-5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Keyword Chicken Wings, Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings, Lemon Pepper Wings
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