Cooking With Fire: Firecracker Chicken Wings With A Bourbon Glaze

Jul 1, 2019

Summer is officially here.

With temperatures in the 90s we’re spending more and more time at the pool with our kids, and the smoke is rolling off of the patio for long portions of the weekend as we grill, smoke, and roast our meals over live fires.

But soon enough a different kind of smoke will be floating overhead as my neighborhood fills with kids shooting off fireworks and running around throwing firecrackers at squirrels, and, invariably, each other.

And to be clear, I love both kinds of smoke. In fact, the Fourth of July is arguably my favorite holiday. I love cooking food for large crowds and shooting off fireworks to entertain the family, but most of all I love to celebrate our country's history with a glass of our national spirit: bourbon.

In 1964 Congress made a ruling on bourbon, dictating not only which products could be labeled as such, but most importantly that it was a distinct product of the United States.

But this was not the first ruling on spirits Congress had made. Back in 1897 they passed the Bottled in Bond Act, taking on an industry that was full of greedy characters who were making people sick with alcohol colored and flavored with iodine and tobacco to be passed off as aged whiskey.

In order to help distillers regain trust and put forth a safe product for consumers, the Bottled in Bond Act set up strict guidelines for spirits, arguably saving the bourbon industry and setting it up for its resurgence half a century later.

In this episode of Cooking with Fire, Josh and Chef Tom prepare an appropriate dish for the upcoming holiday: Firecracker Chicken Wings with a Bourbon Glaze.


Firecracker Chicken Wings with a Bourbon Glaze


 5 lb chicken wings For the Firecracker Seasoning:

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp cayenne

 For the Bourbon BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder


  1. To make the Bourbon BBQ Sauce, combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Setup your grill for direct high heat (450ºF) grilling.
  3. Combine all ingredients for the Firecracker Seasoning. Cover the wings in the seasoning.
  4. Grill the wings until nicely charred. Move to an indirect cooking zone, if necessary. Remove from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 170ºF.
  5. Transfer the wings to a mixing bowl. Add desired amount of Bourbon BBQ Sauce to the bowl. Toss to coat the wings. Serve hot.