You might be thinking of Turkey Day, but I’m most certainly thinking of how many times I can make these Guava BBQ Air Fryer Wings before Thanksgiving. Like most people, I prep for the holiday meal days in advance. By the time dinner rolls around, I’m not thinking of an extravagant meal. That’s where these air-fried wings come into play. This is one of the rare times I use a bottled spice blend and BBQ sauce, so I choose a worthy one.
Not only are these wings super simple to make and eat, but they also freeze before and after like nobody’s business.
What’s so great about Air Frying anyway?
I used to be an air fryer skeptic. Once I received an assignment to develop a recipe for an air fried tostones recipe, I had no excuse to not use one. I quickly became a convert. With an air fryer, there’s no need to heat up the big oven because it accomplishes the mission in a fraction of the time. You also use less (if any) oil to fry your foods with an air fryer. No, the results aren’t as crisp as what you get when deep-frying, but they’re a very close second.
Personally, I prefer air frying wings to deep frying them since it’s not as messy. My cardiologist appreciates the decrease in my consumption of saturated fats, as well. It’s a win-win.
What do I need to make the Guava BBQ Wings?
To make these air fryer wings, I, first, soaked them overnight in a marinade of sofrito and Patio Provisions Hey Grill Hey Chicken Seasoning. After an overnight (or at least an hour) of marinating, the wings are air-fried, then tossed in a sauce made with Hey Grill Hey’s Everything BBQ Sauce, guava paste, Jamaican curry powder, pepper, oregano, baking soda, and sazón.
Not only are these wings economical, but they’re also busy weeknight-friendly. Let’s get to it.
What kind of bottled BBQ Sauce should I use?
It’s a rare occasion when I use a bottled BBQ sauce. That said, even I need help from the store every once-in-awhile. I don’t bother with winging it (no pun intended). Susie Bulloch kills it on the grill. So much so, you’ve probably seen her on the Food Network. She’s even set a world record for the longest BBQ marathon! There are times I want to set a new record for the shortest time to get dinner on the table, and Hey Grill Hey’s (Susie’s brand of BBQ) is the one I want helping me do that. I mean, who knows BBQ sauce better?
Choose a BBQ that you enjoy using. I prefer a tomato-based sauce and one that has a generous amount of spices simmered in it, since that’s what I would make myself at home. If you haven’t tried this Everything BBQ Sauce yet, I encourage you to order a bottle or two. A store-bought bottle will work here, as well.
How do I make the marinade for Guava BBQ Air Fryer Wings?
To make the marinade for the wings, mix together a tablespoon of Hey Grill Hey’s Chicken Spice Rub in a large mixing bowl. The spice rub is another shortcut I’m taking, and I do so confidently. I know this rub is on par with one of my homemade versions. Shoot! Look at the herbs jumping off of my measuring spoon! Patio Provisions ships super-fast too, which is essential when I want my wings. If you are making this spur of the moment, here’s another spice rub option for you to use for this recipe. In addition to the Chicken spice rub, add Jamaican (or Madras) curry powder, sazón, oregano, and black pepper.
Stir the sofrito and a small amount of white wine vinegar into the spices in the bowl. Mix these together well until you have a thick paste.
Toss the wings into this sofrito paste to coat them evenly. I don’t like to marinate meats in metal bowls because I find the metal imparts a tinny flavor to my meat. Instead, transfer the wings to a ziploc storage bag and marinate them in the fridge.
How long do I need to marinate my wings?
You can marinate your wings for a minimum of one hour. I prefer an overnight marinade because I’m a huge fan of imparting tons of flavor into my wings. But, if you’re in a hurry, the one-hour marinating time is the least I would do.
You can marinate the wings for up to two days in the fridge, as well. So, keep that in mind if you’re a fan of make-ahead meals. It helps when you want to get a headstart on dinner.
Can I freeze chicken wings after I marinate them?
Yes! I love to marinate a bulk batch of raw wings and freeze them.
After coating the wings in the marinade, all you need to do is transfer the wings to freezer storage bags. Press out any excess air from the bags and freeze the wings for up to 6 months.
Whenever you’ve got the hankering for wings, give them 24 hours to thaw in the fridge and proceed as follows.
How do I make the Guava BBQ sauce?
The guava BBQ sauce is almost as easy to make as the marinade was.
In a 2-quart sauce pan, combine the Everything BBQ Sauce (or a bottle of original BBQ sauce) with guava paste or jelly. Now, if you go with the guava jelly, your guava BBQ sauce will be a smidge sweeter than if you went with guava paste. It won’t be cloyingly sweet, though, so don’t stress if jelly is the only thing you can find.
Heat the sauce and guava paste over medium heat, whisking to smooth out the thick paste.
Once the sauce is smooth, stir the rest of the sofrito and Chicken spice blend you used in the marinade.
Bring the mixture up to a simmer and cook, occasionally stirring, for 10 minutes. The sauce will reduce by 1/4 and become nice and thick.
Once reduced, remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to cool while you fry the wings.
Can I make the Guava BBQ sauce ahead?
I have made guava BBQ sauce as far as a week ahead. After cooling, transfer the sauce to a large mason jar and store it, covered, in the fridge.
Can I freeze homemade BBQ sauce?
Alternatively, you can transfer your cooled sauce to freezer food storage bags and freeze the sauce for a year. Whenever you’re ready to use it, you can thaw it under refrigeration, then use it as you wish.
How long do I have to air fry the wings?
Once the sauce is ready, grab the wings from the fridge. Before air frying the wings, you should leave them on the countertop to warm up for 10 minutes. The meat needs to warm for a little while so the meat doesn’t fry up tough.
Heat your air fryer on the air fry setting at 375°F for 10 minutes.
Spray your rack (or basket) lightly with non-stick cooking spray and arrange the wings in one layer. Make sure to leave a small space around all sides of the wings. The air fryer works best when it can circulate air around whatever it is you’re frying.
Slide the rack of wings into the air fryer and cook them for 5 minutes on the first side.
How do I keep my air fryer wings crispy?
After 5 minutes, carefully remove the rack from the fryer and flip the wings to the other side. Return the rack to the air fryer and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
The wings will be crisp and dark after 10 minutes. Remove the rack from the air fryer and toss the wings in one cup of the guava BBQ sauce. Adding more sauce to the wings as they come out of the air fryer.
One difference between deep-fried and air-fried wings is the crispy exterior. Air-fried wings don’t end up as crisp as they’re fat-fried counterparts. One way that I’ve found to replicate that is to keep the wings warm in a 200°F oven while I air fry any remaining batches of wings. Just transfer the air-fried and sauced wings to a lightly-oiled sheetpan and keep them in the warm oven while you finish air-frying the rest of the wings.
What can I serve these Guava BBQ wings with?
Once all of the wings have been sauced, remove the sheetpan from the oven.
Potatoes of any sort, fried yuca, or a nice slaw will all compliment these wings. I serve my wings with a side of fries or yellow rice. Héctor would probably eat them on their own if I’d let him. Add veggie sticks, a nice dipping cup filled with your favorite dressing (or more of that sweet-spiced guava BBQ sauce), and your meal is complete.
How do I store leftover air fryer wings?
I keep leftover wings in a food storage container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat the wings, throw them back in the air-fryer for 5 minutes, or until they’re warmed through. A 250°F oven or microwave will also do the trick.
Just reheat leftovers thoroughly and enjoy them within 3 days of cooking them.
Can I freeze the Guava BBQ Air Fryer Wings after cooking?
The Guava BBQ Air Fryer Wings freeze marvelously.
Allow the wings to cool completely. Once cool, transfer the wings to a freezer storage bag and freeze them for 6 months. When you’re ready to enjoy them, allow them to thaw in the fridge before reheating per the instructions above. I have heated these wings straight from the freezer, but I don’t recommend that method. The resulting wings were almost petrified; they were so tough.
Go ahead and give yourself a break while you get ready for the holidays. These Guava BBQ wings are not only easy to make but so tasty, you’ll be compelled to make them even when you don’t need a break. Head on over to Patio Provisions to pick up your bottles of Hey Grill Hey’s Everything BBQ Sauce and Chicken Spice Blend, and tell Susie I sent you.
Be sure to pin this wing recipe to your air fryer board before sharing it with your crew.
Guava BBQ Air Fryer Wings
- air fryer
- 4 1/2 pounds chicken wings
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Sofrito Spice Rub Marinade
Guava BBQ Sauce
- 18 ounce bottle Hey Grill Hey Everything Sauce or one bottle of Original BBQ Sauce
- 1/2 cup guava paste or guava jelly
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce optional
Marinate the Wings in the Sofrito Spice Rub Marinade (Can Be Made 3 Days Ahead)
- In a large bowl, toss the wings in the baking soda.Set the bowl aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine 2 teaspoons of the Chicken spice blend, sazón, oregano, curry powder, and black pepper. Add 1/4 cup of the sofrito, and the white wine vinegar to the mix in the bowl and stir to combine the ingredients to make a chunky paste.
- Pour the marinade over the wings in the bowl and massage it into the wings. Cover the bowl, or transfer the wings to a gallon-size food storage bag.Marinate the wings in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or, optimally, overnight.
Prepare the Guava BBQ Sauce (Can Be Done 1 Week Ahead)
- Add the BBQ sauce and guava paste to a 2-quart saucepan.Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer over medium heat, whisking to facilitate the melting and mixing of the guava paste into the BBQ sauce.
- Once the sauce is smooth, add the remaining Chicken spice blend and the remaining sofrito to the pot along with the hot sauce if you're using it.Bring the sauce up to a gentle simmer and, whisking frequently, cook the sauce for 10 minutes, or until it reduces by a quarter.
- If you are using the sauce right away, you can turn the heat off and leave the sauce on the stove or countertop.If you're making the Guava BBQ Sauce ahead, see the notes section for storage instructions.
Air Fry the Chicken Wings
- Ten minutes prior to air frying the wings, pull them from the fridge and allow them to sit out on the countertop to warm up. The meat needs to warm for a little while so the meat doesn't become tough as it cooks. Heat your air fryer on the air fry setting at 375°F for 10 minutes.
- Spray the air fryer rack (or basket) lightly with non-stick cooking spray and arrange the wings on the rack in a single layer, making sure to leave a small space around all sides of the wings. The air fryer cooks more efficiently when it can circulate air around the wings. Slide the rack of wings into the air fryer and cook them for 5 minutes on the first side.
- After 5 minutes, carefully remove the rack from the fryer and flip the wings to the other side. Return the rack to the air fryer and cook for an additional 5 minutes.The wings will be crisp and dark after 10 minutes.
- Add one cup of the guava BBQ sauce to a mixing bowl (you can add more sauce to the bowl as you toss subsequent batches of wings, but this keeps things from getting too messy).Remove the rack from the air fryer and toss the wings in sauce in the bowl.
- Transfer the air-fried, sauced wings to a sheetpan and keep them warm in a 200°F oven.Continue to air fry the remaining batches of wings.
- Once all of the wings have been sauced, remove the sheetpan from the oven and serve the wings with any remaining Guava BBQ sauce or your preferred dipping sauce.
To Make the Guava BBQ Sauce Ahead:
- After cooling, transfer the sauce to a large mason jar and store it, covered, in the fridge for 7 days.
- Alternatively, you can transfer your cooled sauce to freezer food storage bags and freeze the sauce for a year. Thaw the frozen sauce under refrigeration, then use it as desired.
Traditional Frying Instructions:
- Heat peanut or vegetable oil to 350°F.
- Fry the wings 6 or 7 at a time for 9-12 minutes or until crispy.
- Drain slightly on a paper-towel lined plate before tossing as instructed above.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a sheetpan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Arrange the wings on the sheetpan in a single layer.
- Bake the wings on one side for 20 minutes.
- Flip the wings over and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until crispy and cooked through.
- Remove the wings from the oven and use a spatula to transfer them from the sheetpan to a bowl containing the Guava BBQ sauce.
- Toss the wings in the sauce to coat evenly and serve immediately.
To store leftover cooked wings:
- Transfer the wings to a food storage container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- To reheat the wings, air-fry them in batches for 5 minutes, or until they're warmed through. You can also reheat the wings in a pre-heated 250°F oven or in the microwave.
- Reheat leftovers thoroughly and enjoy them within 3 days of cooking them.
To Freeze Air-Fried (Cooked) Guava BBQ Wings:
- Allow the wings to cool completely.
- Once cool, transfer the wings to a freezer storage bag and freeze them for 6 months.
- Thaw and reheat the frozen wings in the fridge before reheating per the instructions above.