"If you buy whole wings, cut them into two pieces before brining. Don’t brine the wings for more than 30 minutes or they’ll be too salty."
1/2 cup salt
2 pounds chicken wings, wingtips discarded, trimmed
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pepper
Dissolve salt in 2 quarts cold water in large container. Prick chicken wings all over with fork. Submerge chicken in brine, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Combine cornstarch and pepper in bowl. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer wings to large bowl and sprinkle with cornstarch mixture, tossing until evenly coated.
For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter half filled with charcoal briquettes (3 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-low.
Clean and oil cooking grate. Grill wings (covered if using gas), thicker skin side up, until browned on bottom, 12 to 15 minutes. Flip chicken and grill until skin is crisp and lightly charred and meat registers 180°F, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve.
Grilled BBQ Chicken Wings: Reduce pepper to 1/2 teaspoon. Add 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon sugar to cornstarch mixture in step 2.
Grilled Creole Chicken Wings: Add 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to cornstarch mixture in step 2.
Grilled Tandoori Chicken Wings: Reduce pepper to 1/2 teaspoon. Add 1 teaspoon garam masala, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper to cornstarch mixture in step 2.