Smoky Korean Chicken Wings (Drumettes)

Smoky Korean Chicken Wings (Drumettes)

You know them! Those sunny summer nights when you receive an unexpected visit for an extensive aperitif. As a BBQ lover you want to be able to serve your guests some snacks without having to go to the kitchen and/or the fire to often. These Smoky Korean Chicken wings are ready in no time and bursting with flavor. Because of the Gochujang (fermented chili paste) these chicken wings get a full savoury spicy sweet taste which also accentuates the smoky flavors of your BBQ preparation. Next to that some fresh hints of lime grass and ginger and you get a delicious BBQ sauce to serve with a fresh beer. Finally we can invite some people over again! Now quickly collect that bubble of corona friends.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. All opinions expressed are personal and sincere.

After months of playing at home, living, studying, … having a very limited contact with their friends, the kids were completely fed up with sitting at home. The weekends are more difficult than ever. Now that they tasted freedom again (who would have thought that school could ever be linked to freedom) it seems that being at home has become even more difficult. Inviting friends is the only way to keep them happy over here. Or maybe we are looking for a reason to enjoy an aperitif in company again? In each case, these Smoky Korean Chicken wings aren’t exactly the appetizer to please the kids (unless they can tolerate some heat). My eldest son has gotten used to it but decided to go for the safe option without sauce anyway.

As mentioned before I chose the “lazy way” for these Smoky Korean chicken wings. No sauce completely from scratch but a mix of bottles from the supermarket. I even bought the ginger syrup which is actually easy to make. Furthermore, a sauce based on lime grass together with freshly squeezed lime juice adds some freshness. If you have a little more time, you can certainly fine-tune this dish by brining the chicken legs and perfect the preparation for a crispy skin. However, here I deliberately chose the faster version without brining and drying, there was simply no time for that. Quickly rub in with a basic rub (equal parts salt, pepper and sugar) and finish the BBQ with some smoke wood for the smoky touch. For these Smoky Korean Chicken wings I opted for last year’s grape branches from my father’s vegetable garden. These give off a short powerful smoky flavour (yet burn faster) which gives a nice touch of smoke for shorter sessions at a higher temperature.

Smoky Korean Chicken wings

Are you starting to fear the heat of these Smoky Korean chicken wings? Don’t worry. All in all, it’s not that hot (for me :p). At the asian restaurants it would only get one pepper sign (as far as you can trust on those… #not). The chicken wings were warmly welcomed. Both with and without sauce by the way. Those who know the funky Gochujang sauce will understand why this sauce is a big winner. Don’t you know it? What are you waiting for! To the Chinese supermarket for a jar (or three). Have fun BBQ!

Smoked Korean Chicken Drumettes
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Looking for a delicious snack to accompany your aperitif? These Smoky Korean Chicken Drumettes are an excellent spicy snack to accompany a fresh aperitif. The tongues will soon be loosened after the chicken Drumettes make the taste buds go dancing around, bouncing up and down in your mouth.
Course: Aperitif, Snack
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: bbq, bbq classic, BBQ sauce, chicken wings, drumettes, from scratch, Grilled, kamado, Korean, Smoky
Servings: 4 people
  • 1 kg chicken Drumettes
  • Roasted sesame seeds
  • fresh coriander
For the sauce
  • 3 tbsp ginger syrup
  • 2 tbsp gochujang paste chinese supermarket
  • 2 tbsp lemon grass chili sauce Albert Heijn or chinese supermarket
  • 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  • lime juice to taste
For the brine (optional)
  • 2 l. water
  • 150 gr. salt
  • 2 stems of lemongrass crushed
  • 2 pieces of star anise crushed
  • 20 dried kaffir lime leaves
For the basic rub
  • 1 part paprika powder
  • 1 part salt
  • 1 part cane sugar
Brine (optional)
  1. Do you have the time and do you want to brine the chicken legs for an even better result? Then mix the listed ingredients and bring to the boil carefully so that the flavours can infuse into the brine.
  2. Leave to cool and place the chicken legs in the brine for at least 8 hours. Then follow the steps as mentioned in this post.
Basic chicken wing seasoning
  1. Mix the paprika powder with the salt and cane sugar and sprinkle the chicken legs so that they are covered with a nice layer of this basic rub. Since the sauce has powerful flavors we limit it here to a minimum.

  2. In the meantime, prepare your BBQ for an indirect session at medium-high temperature (+-200°C). I use the Kamado Joe sloroller for more even heat distribution. But getting a Platesetter or indirect heat in another way also works.
Time to smoke
  1. A few minutes before you put the chicken legs on the BBQ, you need to throw some branches of wood on the fire (other wood is also possible) and wait until the smoke turns light blue.

  2. Place the chicken drumettes on the fire and smoke them until done at 74°C (depending on the temperature this can take 20-30 minutes). In the meantime you can make the sauce.

Korean BBQ sauce
  1. Mix the ingredients of the sauce (except for the lime juice). Taste and season with lime juice according to taste. I added the juice of a full lime to balance the taste.

  2. About five minutes before the chicken legs are done you dip them in the sauce and put them back on the BBQ so the sauce can stick to the legs.
Sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander and toasted sesame seeds before serving. Enjoy your meal!

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