These smoked chicken wings are easy to prepare and yield crispy and juicy chicken every single time.
Need a new, delicious way to cook chicken wings? This smoked chicken wings recipe is your answer.
This particular chicken cut is a staple in our household, but we typically make air fryer chicken wings or baked chicken wings. Since getting a smoker, cooking chicken wings in them has completely elevated this humble protein into something spectacular.
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
These wings may look complicated and fancy, but they are actually ridiculously simple to whip up.
- Perfect texture and flavor. The texture is perfectly juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. They have an umami-forward smoky flavor that is truly finger-licking good.
- Unattended cooking. The beauty of using a smoker is that it’s a set-and-forget kind of process.
- Perfect for parties and gatherings. Nothing beats chicken wings if you’re looking for an appetizer or fun entree to serve a crowd!
These traeger smoked chicken wings are so easy, and besides the meat and some seasonings, there isn’t much else needed to make. Here is what you’ll need:
- Chicken wings. Try to choose 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 them, and this particular blend intensifies once smoked.
- 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. Use your favorite store-bought sauce that has the least amount of added sugar.
- Olive oil. Packs in the juices and helps yield extra crispy wings.
How to smoke chicken wings
Crispy smoked chicken wings are easy to make: just be sure to prep the smoker first so everything is ready to go.
Preheat the smoker: Preheat the smoker to 250F degrees and load it with hickory chips.
Prep the chicken wings: Pat dry the chicken wings. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and salt with the spices and coat each wing with this rub. Drizzle the seasoned wings with olive oil and let them rest for 30 minutes.
Smoke 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.
Baste: Brush BBQ sauce on the smoked wings and cook them for 5-10 minutes until the skin is crispy.
How long to smoke chicken wings
The time it takes to smoke chicken wings depends on the temperature of the smoker. A good rule of thumb is when set at 250°F (121°C), wings will cook in 90 minutes.
- 250°F (121°C): 1 1/2- 2 hours.
- 225°F (107°C): 2- 2 1/2 hours.
- 200°F (93°C): 2 1/2- 3 hours.
Tips to make the best recipe
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 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.
Make them crispier. For ultra crispy chicken wings, add a touch of baking powder to the spice mix. Adding a leavening agent reacts with the oil and yields a crispier exterior.
Use a meat thermometer. The easiest way to tell when your chicken is cooked.
Change up the wood. Oak, applewood, cherrywood, pecan, and maple are milder and sweeter woods which will make the smoked flavor a little less intense.
Brine the chicken wings. Brining the chicken in salt water before smoking them is a way to make them juicier and infuse them with flavor.
Add more heat. If you like some spice, add some cayenne pepper to the dry rub for a spicy kick. You could also swap out half the barbecue sauce for hot sauce.
To store. Leftovers are best stored in the fridge. Transfer them into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
To reheat: Warm up the wings by heating them in the oven at 180C/350F until hot.
To freeze: PIace the cooled wings in a ziplock bag and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More delicious ways to enjoy wings
Frequently asked questions
When smoked at 225F, it may take 1 to 1.5 hours for the chicken wings to reach an internal temperature of 165F on an electric smoker and up to 2 hours on a wood smoker.
There is no need to flip the wings once they are in the smoker, as smokers have an even heat distribution and will cook both sides consistently.
Overcooking is the number one culprit for tough chicken. To prevent chicken wings from becoming tough, always use a meat thermometer to check its internal temperature. Once it reaches 165F, the wings are ready to eat.
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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