Nothing beats a plate of crispy Smoked Chicken Wings, although our Smoked Chicken Thighs, Smoked Chicken Thighs, Smoked Whole Chicken and Smoked Chicken Legs come close! This recipe for smoked wings produces juicy and tender chicken with extra crispy skin.
Between the smoked chicken wings rub recipe and optional wings sauce, you’ll find this is the best smoked wing recipe.
Dry Rub Smoked Chicken Wings
You can use any dry rub you have a hankering for! Grab your favorite store brand or mix up your own combination. Wings sauce is OPTIONAL! The smoke flavor itself, paired with your rub of choice, is amazing on it’s own. As written and pictured, we made smoked buffalo wings.
- Smoked Buffalo Wings (As Pictured!) – This is usually our “go to” when making wings (we also use it for Air Fryer Chicken Wings.) We can’t say “no” to buffalo sauce!
- Honey Sriracha Sauce – use the sauce as a glaze and dipping sauce!
- BBQ Chicken – BBQ Rub (or Smoke Rub For Chicken) + Homemade Barbecue Sauce . This BBQ sauce and rub is a killer combo!
- Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings – Coat the chicken wings with our homemade Jamaican Jerk Seasoning.
- Cajun Wings – Coat the chicken wings with our homemade Creole Seasoning. Dip in ranch or blue cheese sauce.
- Honey Lemon Pepper – Use the rub and Lemon Pepper wing sauce from our Honey Lemon Pepper Wings recipe!
- Spicy Orange – The sauce from our Grilled Chicken Wings recipe is loaded with orange juice, soy sauce, chili sauce and brown sugar!
- Sticky Asian – You can’t go wrong with our sticky asian inspired sauce from our Oven Baked Chicken Wings recipe.
- Prime Rib Rub – Our 5-star rated prime rib dry rub would be amazing on chicken wings.
- Mango Habanero Sauce – coat your wings in this hot salsa for a huge blast of heat.
- Dry Chicken Wings – rub it with oil and Montreal Steak Seasoning!
- Sweet Soy Glaze – coat your wings with this Indonesian sauce for a sweet and flavorful meal.
Chicken Wings – Try and buy chicken wings labeled “split wings” or “party wings” to make smoked hot wings. This means the chicken wings arrive with the drummette and wing already detached. If you can’t find them, no worries. Just cut the chicken at the joint and remove the wing tip before tossing.
Dry Rub – your choice of rub to add before smoking.
Optional: Sauce – These chicken wings are perfect right off the grill. If you like saucy wings however, whip up a batch to slater on.
Brined Smoked Chicken Wings
We don’t use a smoked chicken wings brine. We find the low and slow cooking process, paired with the end hit of high heat, not only crisps up the skin, but provides a beautiful well-rounded smokey flavor.
If you’re inclined to use chicken wings brine, we recommend dry brining overnight. Just pat dry the wings, coat in kosher salt, or the dry rub you’re using, and let sit in the refrigerator, uncovered, until you’re ready to smoke.
This chicken wings recipe can be made on any type of smoker or grill. All of them work great; each has its own benefits. Just remember the most important thing is to create indirect heat and maintain the temperature.
- Electric Smoker – Perfect for beginning smokers. It’s easy to maintain the temperature over long periods and is easy to add extra wood when required.
- Pellet Smoker (Traeger Chicken Wings ) – Any brand will work. Pellet smokers are awesome for painting smoke and temperature without much effort! If you’re looking to make Traeger Wings or Pitt Boss Chicken Wings, this is the recipe to use!
- Gas Grill – The upside of a gas grill is consistent temp. The downside? Make sure you have enough propane to last 90 minutes.
- Charcoal Grill – Quite a bit more “manual” labor going on with a charcoal grill. You’ll have to see your eyes on the temp and add more charcoal or wood, as needed, when making big green egg chicken wings, for example. Just make sure you have enough charcoal to last 90 minutes.
Best Wood To Smoke Chicken
Wondering what wood to use to make crispy smoked wings? There are quite a few that work well. Pecan is our favorites when smoking poultry. It lends a nice sweetness to the meat. Cherry wood and apple wood are great options as well.
Hickory smoke is do-able, but provides an extremely heavy smoked flavor. Cut back the smoking time by half. We don’t recommend using it, in general, but if that’s what you have and/or like, go for it!
How To Smoke Chicken Wings
Chicken wings are easy to make when you’re using the best smoked chicken wings recipe! MUCH easier than making fried wings. As mentioned above, any type of smoker or grill can be used. Full instructions are in the recipe card, however we wanted to call out how to set-up each style of grill/smoker!
- Gas Grill – Turn on half the burners (on the same side of the grill) to medium-low to create indirect heat. You’ll create smoke by using a smoker box to add chips/chunks.
- Charcoal – Pre-heat the coals until just washed over. Dump them on the far side (either left or right) of your grill to create indirect heat. Create smoke by placing wood chunks directly on the pre-heated coals.
- Pellet/Electric Smoker – Pre-heat your grill to 225°F. Follow the manufacture’s instructions to get an even smoke on your Traeger smoked wings.
How Long Does It Take To Smoke Chicken Wings
It takes approx. 90 minutes when maintaining a constant temperature between 225°F and 250°F.
Aim to keep the temperature as close to 225°F as possible. If you’re using a manual smoker or gas grill (vs Traeger smoked chicken wings), aim to keep it between 225 °F– 250°F.
- Energy Source – Make sure you stock up on your selected energy source: charcoal, pellets, propane, gas, etc.
- Smoking Wood for Smoke Chicken Wings- Chunks, wood chips or pellets.
- Thermometer – Always use a thermometer. Always. Our go-to digital thermometer is the Thermaworks Dot. It never fails.
- Smoker Box – You’ll need one to impart the smoke flavor if using a gas grill vs making pellet grill chicken wings. We’ve used this one from Amazon in the past.
- You can utilize frozen or fresh chicken wings when smoking wings. If using frozen wings, just defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Do not put frozen chicken wings directly on the grill when smoking chicken wings. They will not cook correctly.
- We always place a small bowl of water in the smoker when cooking for long periods to help keep moisture in the meat.
- As with all chicken recipes, do not leave out at room temperature for more than two hours. If you have leftover store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To re-heat leftover wings, pre-heat the oven to 350°F and cook for 10-12 minutes, until heated throughout.
- Make sure to spray the grill or rack prior to heating up, to ensure the chicken doesn’t stick to them.
- Use leftover bones and/or meat and make Instant Pot Bone Broth.
Side Dish Ideas
Looking for side dish ideas for smoked wings? Here’s what we’d serve these bad boys with!
What Drinks Pair With Chicken
Smoked Chicken Dry Rub:
- 2 Lbs Chicken Wings (Separated) (*Note 1)
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper (*Note 2)
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
Buffalo Wing Sauce:
- 1 Cup Franks Hot Sauce, Divided
- 2 Tbsp Melted Butter
- Ranch, Blue Cheese, Carrot Sticks and/or Celery Sticks.
- Pre-heat the smoker/grill to 225°F, and set up for indirect cooking. If using a manual smoker, aim to keep it between 225°F - 250°F. Add your wood of choice right before adding the chicken.
PREPARE THE WINGS AND SAUCE:
- Pat the chicken wings dry with a paper towel and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the olive oil and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle your dry rub of choice over the chicken (we used the dry rub listed above for buffalo) and toss to coat.
SMOKE THE WINGS:
- Place the chicken on the smoker and grill for approx. 60 minutes. Flip the wings, as needed, to avoid any flare ups.
PREPARE THE SAUCE:
- While the wings are smoking, make your sauce of choice (if using a sauce). For the buffalo sauce, just mix the Frank's Hot Sauce with melted butter. Set aside until ready to use.
CRISP UP THE SKIN:
- Increase the heat to 350°F and grill for approximately 20 minutes.
- Brush both sides of the wings with your sauce of choice (if using) and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 175°F. Flip the wings, as needed, to avoid any flare ups.
- Remove from the heat, toss with any remaining sauce, and serve immediately.