Smoked Chicken Wings

As wing fanatics, we like to vary our wing-making methods. While frying and baking chicken wings are surely the most traditional and fastest, when time allows, we love to make smoked chicken wings.

hand holding a plate of smoked chicken wings with BBQ sauce


 

These wings land you with juicy and tender meat and a nice, crispy chicken skin. Sauce them up right at the end and you’ll have a finger-licking, sticky, crunchy wing that people will rave over.

Wood Chips or Charcoal?

When smoking, you can choose to use wood chips or charcoal. Many BBQ afficandos have distinct preferences and for good reason. They will infuse different flavors into the chicken wings.

  • Charcoal– Using charcoal for smoking provides consistent heat and a longer burning time, resulting in more controlled cooking temperatures and efficient fuel consumption. Additionally, charcoal imparts a distinct smoky flavor to the food, enhancing its overall taste and aroma.
  • Wood Chips– Using wood chips adds a diverse range of flavors to the smoked food, from mild to robust, depending on the type of wood used. This allow yous you many taste profiles and options. Moreover, wood chips release natural aromatics during the smoking process, further infuses the meat.
silicone brush basting BBQ sauce on copycat hickory smoke BBQ wingstop

What You’ll Need to Smoke Chicken Wings

Equipment

Let’s start with the obvious; you are going to need a few items beyond your typical kitchen to make this smoked wings recipe. Here are the basics and I’m just going to be honest: if you don’t already have these things, don’t go out and buy them unless you are starting a new hobby passion for smoking. Just use your gas grill and call it a day!

  • Smoker– We don’t smoke all too often because we have little kids and a hectic schedule. It takes time and you basically have to sit and babysit the smoker. The most popular are the Big Green Egg and now the one that basically does it for you, a Traeger. We own a basic Weber model with no bells or whistles, it’s perfect for chicken wings, ribs and smoked brisket.
  • Wood, Charcoal or Pellets– This depends on the type of smoker you are using and the flavor profile you are wanting to achieve. For wings I like applewood and hickory the best.
  • FIRE! Yes, something to start the fire with if you don’t have an ignition switch.
  • Basic Grill Tools- A long handled basting brush or BBQ mop are great. A long handle means you won’t have to get your hand too close to the flames and potentially cinge arm hair and silicone is easily washed. Long metal tongs are also useful for flipping because metel will grip the wings better than silicone.

Ingredient List

The dry rub is made of pantry staples.

  • Kosher Salt– I like using a coarse Kosher salt, you can use sea salt, just make sure it is a coarse salt. If you use a fine salt, you’ll need to reduce the volume by at least half.
  • Ground Black Pepper– Freshly ground provides the best flavor, pre-ground is basically sawdust (sorry, not sorry!). White pepper is also an option for a milder flavor.
  • Smoked Paprika– Smoked enhances the rest of the smokiness. Sweet or hungarian are also options.
  • Garlic Powder & Onion Powder– These play with each other, but you can use just one or the other.
  • Chicken Wings– I counted and this recipe made about 28 wings, 2 pounds. The dry rub and sauce are easily increased and decreased, don’t fret too much.
  • BBQ Sauce – I like to use my favorite homemade BBQ sauce, my mother used to make it and I have continued. It is sweet and spicy. Of course, grab a bottled BBQ sauce from the grocery store or use one of my other specialty sauces: chipotle BBQ sauce, cola BBQ sauce and cran-blueberry BBQ sauce.
Zesty Cola BBQ Sauce is delicious on anything grilled including chicken, ribs, brisket and pulled pork. It only takes 10 minutes to make! #colabbqsauce #homemadebbqsauce www.savoryexperiments.com

How to Smoke Chicken Wings

SInce wings are a smaller cut of meat, they are pretty quick in terms of time.

  1. Make the Dry Spice Rub. In a small bowl, combine the salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. Set aside.
  2. Dry Chicken. In a larger bowl, blot the chicken wings with a paper towel (fastest method). Alternately you can place them in the fridge to dry out for 3-4 hours. To get that wonderfully crispy skin, you need to make sure it is dry. The rub (especially salt will help with this) but getting as much off as you can before you toss them with the rub.
  3. Rub Chicken. Sprinkle half of the seasoning over the large bowl of dry chicken wings. Toss and sprinkle the remaining blend over them. Toss again. Set aside while you get the grill prepared.
dry rub for smoked BBQ wings
  1. Make Fire. Build a fire for indirect cooking by situating the coals on only one side of the grill/smoker, leaving the other side void. Preheat the grill to 450°F and liberally grease the grates.
  2. Grill Chicken. Place the wings on the grill over indirect heat and close the lid. Cook for approximately 30 minutes or until brown and crispy, turning 2-3 times to evenly brown.
  3. Sauce Chicken. Coat the wings liberally with BBQ Sauce and cook an additional 2 minutes, allowing the sauce to caramelize.
  4. Rest. Remove the wings from the grill and let them rest for 5 minutes. Serve with extra BBQ sauce for dipping or of course, the obligatory blue cheese or ranch dressing.
close up of smoked chicken wings with BBQ sauce

What to Serve with Smoked Chicken Wings

Anything that would go with any other type of BBQ also pair well with smoked wings. These are a few of our favorite combos.

More Wings!

Throw a chicken wing party and make a couple of different types. Here are a few more chicken wing recipes.

plate of BBQ wings with text overlay
hand holding a plate of smoked chicken wings with BBQ sauce

Smoked Chicken Wings

5 from 8 votes
These hickory smoked BBQ wings give you juicy meat with crunchy skin and a sticky BBQ sauce baste, all ready in just 45 minutes!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. Set aside.
  • In a larger bowl, blot the chicken wings with a paper towel (fastest method). Alternately you can place them in the fridge to dry out for 3-4 hours.
  • Sprinkle half of the seasoning over the large bowl of dry chicken wings. Toss and sprinkle the remaining blend over them. Toss again. Set aside while you get the grill prepared.
  • Build a fire for indirect cooking by situating the coals on only one side of the grill/smoker, leaving the other side void. Preheat the grill to 450°F and liberally grease the grates.
  • Place the wings on the grill over indirect heat and close the lid. Cook for approximately 30 minutes or until brown and crispy, turning 2-3 times to evenly brown.
  • Coat the wings liberally with BBQ Sauce and cook an additional 2 minutes, allowing the sauce to caramelize.
  • Remove the wings from the grill and let them rest for 5 minutes. Serve with extra sauce for dipping, if desired.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.

Nutrition

Calories: 587 kcal, Carbohydrates: 21 g, Protein: 41 g, Fat: 36 g, Saturated Fat: 10 g, Cholesterol: 172 mg, Sodium: 1429 mg, Potassium: 476 mg, Sugar: 17 g, Vitamin A: 600 IU, Vitamin C: 2.1 mg, Calcium: 46 mg, Iron: 2.6 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 587
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: BBQ chicken wings, smoke chicken wings, smoked chicken wings, smoked chicken wings recipe, wings on the grill
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
collage of smoked chicken wings with text overlay

Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

5 from 8 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I love that you included instructions for a smoker or a grill. We have both, so I’m going to try both ways. They look delicious.

  2. 5 stars
    yum! Love how easy this recipe is, and it’s still so good! Thanks for grill instructions, I don’t have a smoker.

  3. 5 stars
    These wings were finger licking good! We used the charcoal method because that was easier for us and it did not disappoint. This might be our new favorite way to make wings!

  4. 5 stars
    These wings are truly smoking hot! The layers of flavor and the taste can’t be beat! Adding this to our summer menu!