Bourbon Soaked BBQ Chicken Wings

 BBrianne Dela Cruz; Gather & Grow

One of the things that I love most about the 4th of July, aside from the BBQ, beer, and fireworks, is that it’s a day we can set aside our political differences and come together to celebrate.

Food is how we connect with each other.


It’s as much about nourishment as it is about social connection and relationship building. I often find good meals to be a reliable neutralizer when it comes to political dialogue around the table. At the end of the day, after all our views have been shared and debated, if the only thing we can truly agree on is how delicious our BBQ wings taste, then so be it.

That was my goal with this homemade Americana inspired BBQ sauce: to enliven taste buds and fill bellies to the point that everyone around the fire was primed to find some common ground.




 For the record, it worked.

We ate, drank, talked, and listened, and remembered that our greatest power lies in standing beside one another despite our differences. 





Few meals are more American than fall-off-the-bone chicken wings: crispy and lathered in a honey bourbon BBQ sauce. Celery on the side for a refreshing crunch, grilled corn, and an ice cold beer at the ready complete this mouth-watering all-American entree.






Bourbon Soaked BBQ Chicken Wings

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 10 min
Total Time: 1 hr 20 min



  • 1/2 Cup Bourbon
  • 1 Cup Ketchup
  • 4 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2/3 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder 
  • 4 Tsp Hot Sauce
  • 4 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tsp Salt 
  • 24 Chicken Wings
  • Salt and Pepper 
  • ½  Cup Cilantro; chopped



Sauce can be made in advance and used to marinate wings overnight.

  1. Heat 30 coals in a condensed pile in a fire pit.
  2. When the coals are mostly white, whisk together bourbon, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, honey, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and salt in a cast iron skillet over the coals. 
  3. Bring to a simmer for 20 minutes, then remove from heat.
  4. Pat and dry chicken wings. Salt and pepper dried wings. Add to a large bowl and coat with 1/4 cup of the prepared bourbon BBQ sauce. Set the rest of the sauce aside.
  5. Marinate wings for at least 10 minutes. If marinating overnight in a fridge, remove from the fridge at least 15-20 minutes before preparing to cook.
  6. Oil and heat cast iron griddle on the grate while wings are marinating.
  7. Place wings on the griddle, skin side up. Cook for 30-35 minutes until crispy, flipping halfway through. 
  8. Remove from the fire and add wings to a bowl, coat with a healthy pour of Bourbon BBQ Sauce (approximately 1 to 1 ½ cups of sauce – you want plenty of sauce to cover them). Stir to ensure all wings are coated. 
  9. Return wings to the griddle and continue cooking for 8-10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165°F.
  10. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with additional sauce on side and plenty of wet wipes.





Brianne Dela Cruz is a master gardener, wild forager, campfire foodie, and acclaimed writer and photographer. From her home in Salt Lake City, she teaches online gardening and foraging courses for modern folks and budding naturalists as well as hosts seasonal community gatherings. Brianne's blog and online school, Gather & Grow, is a community of folks exploring the intersection between nature and personal growth by discovering ways to slow down and nourish themselves with nature.  


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