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Smoked Chicken Wings have made it to the weekly rotation now that the weather is beautiful and we’re outside more. Chicken wings have always been a family favorite, but smoking has become my go-to way to cook them. The deep wood flavor you get from low and slow smoking is far superior to those heavily breaded deep fried wings you get in a restaurant. If you don’t yet have a smoker, I’ll shed a single tear for you but please be sure to try my Crockpot Chicken Wings Recipe. You can’t go wrong there either!
Smoked Chicken Wings
Ever since we purchased our first smoker, I’ve tried a TON of different things…but chicken wings are by far my FAVORITE! Yes, even more than prime rib believe it or not. Blasphemous, I know. I think it’s mostly because they are such a completely different product compared to the normal breaded wing I’m used to ordering out. Nothing compares to a delicious smoked wing. They also are super simple to do and don’t require the usual time investment that other meats would. At 225° F, you can have that smoked deliciousness in less than 2 hours (see below temperature adjustments in final 30 min).
How To Use a Smoker
Smokers work by circulating low heat through a smoking chamber, consistently. This slowly cooks your meat for ultimate tenderness and unbelievable smoky flavor. Every smoker is different so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembly and setup, as well as instructions on how to cook your meat (or other foods…HELLO smoked mac & cheese!). You can use a variety of different wood (or wood pellets) to change up the flavors. Beginners MUST try my Smoked Pork Butt recipe.
I have had a variety of smokers throughout the years, but my current “toy” is this Traeger Wood Fired Pellet Grill. I like it because it’s super easy to clean. I know that sounds silly, but previous smokers I owned were not so easy to keep clean and therefore broke down quicker. The reluctancy to go through the required cleaning process shortened the life of the grill for sure. The Traeger of course has sooo many other amazing features and smokes my meat to perfection every time. Plus, it’s super fun to see everything on the app! (NERD ALERT!)
How To Smoke Chicken Wings
Choose And Prepare Your Wings
Start with fresh chicken wings. Sometimes the wing tip will need to be trimmed and sometimes they come with that already taken care of. If your wings need trimmed, those little pieces are great to save for homemade bone broth so don’t throw them away! You may also need to cut the wing apart if the drum and flat are still attached. Just place your knife in the joint and give it a good smack. If your wings are purchased frozen, thaw them completely before using. You can use all drums, all flats or a combination of both. I find myself only eating the flats while everyone else is scarfing down the drummies. Fine by me!
Dry Wings Out
Next, we’ll want to get those wings nice and dry to ensure ultimate crispiness. Remove the chicken wings from their original packaging and place on a paper towel lined sheet pan. Place in refrigerator to dry out, uncovered for anywhere from a few hours to overnight. If all you have time for is to pat them dry, that will work in a pinch. If that’s the case, I’d recommend adding a little baking powder or cornstarch to your wings before adding the dry rub. This will draw out some of the moisture.
Now it’s time to get the smoker ready. Preheat your smoker to 225° F. Since every smoker is different, you’ll want to follow the manufacturer instructions for startup.
Season Wings With Dry Rub
Sprinkle your chicken wings on both sides generously with a dry rub of your choice. Any store bought rub will work and the flavors are endless. This is a good store bought one that just has a buffalo flavor if that’s what you’re going for. I used my homemade dry rub for chicken for these babies and omG it was chef’s kiss! Heck, you could even use a variety of different rubs on different groups of wings. You’re the boss.
How Long to Smoke Chicken Wings
Place your wings directly on the grill grates, leaving some space in between and smoke for 1 hour. You do not need to turn or flip your wings as the heat is working indirectly.
After 1 hour, crank that heat up to 350° F for 30 minutes or until wings reach an internal temperature of 165° F. This is another trick to getting that skin crispy. Most smokers will have a built-in thermometer probe or you can use a quick read digital thermometer like this one.
Sauce Chicken Wings
Meanwhile, prepare your wing sauce of choice. The sky’s the limit with flavorings here, but good ol’ barbecue always hits the spot for me. I did 2 different sauces on my wings because some like a spicy hot buffalo sauce and I am here to please. In a large bowl, toss your fully cooked wings in wing sauce until fully coated.
The final step is to sear your wings, which is called reverse searing in the smoker world, so go ahead and preheat either a gas grill or flat top grill, like the Blackstone to a fairly high temperature. We’re done cooking low and slow and want this to go quickly so we don’t overcook and dry out the meat. Sear on both sides on the grill or flat top. This should only take a minute or so per side. This process will help get crispy and caramelized wings.
Serve and Enjoy!
Serve while still warm with ranch or bleu cheese, celery or even more wing sauce on the side (and plenty of napkins!). Voila! You have the perfect appetizer, lunch or even your main course for dinner. Hey, I’ve done it hundred times.
Storing Chicken Wings
Store these Smoked Chicken Wings in an airtight container or zip bag for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, simply place in oven or (my favorite way…) in the air fryer until fully heated. The microwave will make the skin soggy, but if you’re ok with that and starving to death, have at it. You can also freeze these if not previously frozen, for up to 4 months. Thaw in refrigerator the day before you want to use.
What To Serve With Chicken Wings
Smoked Chicken Wings can be a great appetizer or they can TOTALLY be the main course. Here are some ideas for side dishes for Chicken Wings:
I hope you make these this weekend, they are a serious crowd pleaser! Printable recipe card below. Enjoy, friends!
Smoked Chicken Wings
- 5 lbs Chicken Wings Raw, thawed if purchased frozen
- 1/4 c Dry Rub
- Smoker I used a Traeger Pellet Grill
- Remove chicken wings from original packaging and place on a paper towel lined sheet pan. Place in refrigerator to dry out, uncovered for anywhere from a few hours to overnight.
- Preheat smoker to 225° F. Follow smoker instructions for startup. I used my Traeger Ironwood Pellet Grill with Hickory Wood Pellets.
- Sprinkle dry rub of choice on both sides of chicken wings.
- Place wings directly on grill grates and smoke for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, crank heat up to 350° F for 30 min or until wings reach an internal temperature of at least 165° F.
- Meanwhile, prepare your wing sauce of choice and preheat your searing source (either a gas grill or flat top grill, like the Blackstone).
- Toss fully cooked wings in sauce and sear both sides on grill. This should only take a minute or so per side. Serve with ranch or bleu cheese and celery.