Watermelon Marinade & BBQ Sauced Chicken Wings

Today is Juneteenth..welcome to a great day to celebrate..even though we have so much further to go. This recipe was inspired by watermelon, and it is in every step of this process. Before we jump into the recipe, here is just a brief history about where this celebration is rooted in, let’s take it to Texas, Galveston to be exact. The year was 1865, June 19th when a federal order stating that previously enslaved people in Texas were officially free, for real this time…well kind of?

What I mean by for real this time kind of, is that the Emancipation Proclamation an executive order signed and issued by US President Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862 was already a federal law that went in to effect January 1, 1863. It changed the status under federal law that those enslaved African American in the confederate state where free, no longer slaves or property. But Texas, a Deep South state, went with its own timing some three years later. The, “well kind of part” is that even with both those laws in place, there was still those damn Jim Crow laws put into place to counteract these executive orders in the South.

I say celebrate every win and the beauty of “freedom” so let’s focus on the happy! Juneteenth also known as Celebration Day or Freedom Day spread outside of Texas into the other southern states naturally. It has evolved over the years, and I have always viewed it as black peoples Independence Day Celebration. For many blacks that celebration, always centered around food, usually involves lighting the grill. So I lite the grill and cooked a little feeding up for my Tiger Love!

This is a ridiculously throw together recipe where you just allow either time or the stove to do most if not all of the work. It does require two days to make this, for the best flavor as possible, but even that is super simple to do. Here is what you’ll need to get started cooking with me.

Watermelon Marinade

Watermelon BBQ Sauce

Let’s Get To Cooking

  • Blend 2 1/2 cup of the watermelon chunks using a stand blender, hand blender, or you can use a fork to mash it up.
  • Reserve 2 cups for making the BBQ sauce.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the watermelon juice to a large bowl adding in all the other ingredients stirring to combine.
  • Add the chicken wings to a container that seals and is large enough to hold your chicken and the marinade in. Note: you can use a disposable gallon size releasable bag, making cleanup a breeze!
  • Marinade the chicken over night in the fridge for the best flavor impact but if time is limited then I would suggest going with chicken tenders and marinade for at least 6-8 hours if time is not on your side.
  • Add the chopped onion and garlic to a sauce pan with the oil heating over medium high heat.
  • Slowly stir to cook just until the onions start to cook a bit.
  • Add in the smoked paprika, stirring to combine, allowing it time to bloom
  • Here’s the fun and easy part, add all the ingredients with the exception of the balsamic and honey, to the sauce pan and stir to combine.
  • Cover and reduce heat to a simmer and cook stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until the BBQ sauce has thickened to your liking.
  • Once it has thickened turn the heat off and add the balsamic vinegar and honey stirring to combine.
  • Taste your sauce and adjust to your personal pallet preference.
  • Allow to cool and blend using an immersion blender or add to your blender to blend the BBQ sauce until smooth.
  • You can store at room temperature if using within the next 24 hours, or store in the fridge for optimal freshness.
  • To cook these wings I use my charcoal grill, it adds such a great smokey taste to the wings, but you can bake them in the oven just as easily.
  • Once the wings have cooked brush one side with the watermelon BBQ sauce allowing the sauce to thicken and or to get sticky, before turning.
  • Once the sauce has thickened turn and brush other side with BBQ sauce. Remember to allow the sauce time to thicken between coats before turning adding additional layers of BBQ sauce.
  • I like to do at least 4 coats on each side so they get nice and sticky with BBQ sauce.
  • I don’t think I have to tell you what to do next, I just hope you enjoy them praising the celebration of freeing enslaved people, who have helped lay the foundation for America.

Tigers Feeding Feedback

Wings , Wings, Wings, or how I loved those grilled wings!!! They were excellent Babygirl! All I can say is that the sauce was something I’ve never tasted before. You told me the ingredients but all I remember is Watermelon Juice? But those wings were UMPH! Definitely need them again!!!!!


We are Tiger + Love, with him being Delvecchio and her being Nic. Interestingly enough, I am a vegetarian with veganish tendencies feeding a meat eater who is not too sure about eating no meat at all every single day. So, with that I create food that includes a greater abundance of non meat food items, because my philosophy is that meat should never be the star of the meal all the time! Still giving him what he wants with more of what he needs 🥰

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