Prepped with a flavorful spice mix and basted with piquant BBQ sauce, these smoked chicken wings feature tender chicken under a beautifully crisped up skin.
Is there anything more delicious than chicken wings? I think not.
Can you smoke chicken wings?
Yes, you can smoke chicken wings. While smoking works well for larger cuts of chicken, such as legs and thighs, it also works for the wings.
We make this often and love how delicious they are. You’ll love them too, because:
- Tender meat and crispy skin. When smoked at the right temperature and for the right amount of time, these chicken wings turn out perfectly juicy inside and crispy on the outside (just like turkey wings).
- Unattended cooking. While you do need to check on the chicken wings a few times as they smoke, the process of smoking wings is mostly unattended.
- Perfect for parties and gatherings. This smoked chicken recipe is a crowd-pleaser and great for feeding many people.
If you have a wood smoker that you haven’t put to use for a long time, this recipe is the perfect reason to start using it again.
Besides the chicken wings and some seasonings, there isn’t much else that goes into this recipe. Here is what you’ll need:
- Chicken wings. Try to get chicken wings of the same size for even cooking.
- Spices. I use a mixture of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, chili pepper, and cumin to flavor the chicken wings.
- Brown sugar. The sweet flavor of caramelized brown sugar helps balance out the flavor of salt and all the spices.
- Salt. To taste.
- Barbeque sauce. To baste the chicken wings and keep them moist and flavorful.
- Olive oil. To drizzle over the chicken wings before smoking them.
How to smoke chicken wings
Smoking chicken wings is not as difficult as you may think. Here’s how it’s done.
Step 1 – Preheat the smoker
Before anything else, preheat the smoker to 250F degrees and load it with hickory chips. This step is important for achieving a rich smoky flavor.
Step 2 – Prepare the chicken wings
Pat dry the chicken wings. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and salt with the spices and coat each chicken wing with this rub. Drizzle the chicken wings with olive oil and let them rest for 30 minutes.
Step 3 – Smoke then baste the wings
Arrange the wings in the smoker and cook for around 1.5 hours until the internal temperature of the wings reaches 165F degrees in the thickest part. Brush BBQ sauce on the chicken wings and cook them for 5-10 minutes until the skin is crispy.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve warm alongside your favorite sauces and condiments.
Can I cook this on a pellet grill?
Yes, you can smoke chicken wings on a pellet grill. Pellet grills are very versatile. They are good not only for roasting and grilling but for smoking too. Read the user manual that comes with your pellet grill to correctly use it for smoking meat.
You can jazz up the flavor of these wings with a few tweaks! Here are some ideas:
- Change up the wood. Oak, applewood, cherrywood, pecan, and maple are other great smoking woods you can use to smoke chicken wings.
- Brine the chicken wings. Brining chicken wings in salt water before smoking them is a way to make them juicier and infuse them with flavor.
- Add more heat. If you like spicy smoked chicken wings, add some cayenne pepper to the dry rub for a spicy kick.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Use your favorite barbeque sauce. From sweet barbeque sauces to spicy ones, you can use the BBQ sauce of your choice. You can even make some yourself and add bourbon to it for more flavor.
- Don’t overcrowd the smoker. Adding too much wood or too much chicken in the smoker doesn’t leave much room for the smoke to circulate.
- Bring the chicken wings to room temperature. Putting cold wings in the smoker results in unevenly cooked chicken. It also lowers the temperature inside the smoker.
- Allow the chicken wings to rest. Give the wings a few minutes of rest time once you remove them from the smoker. This allows the juices to redistribute in the wings. As a result, the wings appear moist and flavorful.
Store leftover chicken wings in the fridge. Transfer them into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Reheat the chicken wings in the oven preheated to 350F degrees until they reach a safe internal temperature of 165F degrees.
If you’d like to freeze the wings, place them in a ziplock bag and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More chicken recipes to try
Frequently asked questions
It takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to smoke chicken wings at 250F degrees. Despite the cooking time, electric smokers heat up faster. As a result, electric smokers often have the food ready quicker than wood smokers.
How long it takes to smoke chicken wings at 225F degrees depends on the size of the wings and on the type of smoker being used.
When smoked at 225F degrees, it may take 1 to 1.5 hours for the chicken wings to reach an internal temperature of 165F degrees on an electric smoker and up to 2 hours on a wood smoker.
Smoked chicken wings are healthier than fried wings as you use very little or no oil to cook them. Additionally, the smoking process causes the wings to lose some natural fat.
As these wings are super flavorful and satisfying, keep the sides simple. Fresh vegetables like carrots and celery are great, as are the cooked variety. We enjoy green beans, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. For something more carb heavy, try French fries, potato wedges, or even sweet potato fries.
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Smoked Chicken Wings
- Preheat the smoker to 120C/250F and load the smoker with hickory chips.
- Pat dry the chicken wings with a paper towel.
- Combine the spices in a bowl. Coat the chicken wings with spices and drizzle them with olive oil and let them rest for 5 minutes.
- Place the wings in the smoker and cook for around 90 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165F.
- Baste the wings with the barbecue sauce and cook for a further 5-10 more minutes, until the skin becomes crispy.
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