The Secrets To Amazing Smoked Chicken Wings Every Time

Smoked chicken wings … really? Yes. Heartedly YES! Emphatically YES!

Amazing Smoked Chicken Wings piled high on a white platter with bbq sauce in the background.

Why Smoke Chicken Wings

One of the first and most basic secrets about delicious chicken wings is that you can, indeed, smoke them. Most people will either fry or bake their chicken wings and they, more often than not, are good. There is nothing wrong with a plate full of fried wings.

But if you’re interested in an entirely new flavor profile for your wings and want to blow away your guests at the next get-together at your house, please read on.

I guarantee that if you follow these basic steps, you will amaze them and have them clamor for more. It’s so easy—it’s like magic.

The steps are easy to make your smoked chicken wings: Apply the rub, smoke the wings, and eat.

So, let’s get to it.

Applying The Rub

rub spices separated on white plate

The first thing you want to do is prepare your wings and add the rub.

We usually buy whole wings, separating the wing, drumette, and tip by cutting them between the joints.

We toss the tips and pat down the drumettes and wings, removing the moisture. Then, we put the wings in a large mixing bowl or zip-lock bag.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then pour the oil over the wings, mixing it around to coat all the wings.

Next, pour some of your rub over the wings and mix it around. Keep adding and moving the wings around to be equally coated with the rub.

chicken wings coated with dry rub in gallon zip top bag

Once complete, set them aside in the fridge for a few hours, at least one hour.

Smoking The Wings

This recipe calls for pecan wood for the smoke, but hickory will also work well. You can use any wood you like, but know your flavor profiles.

If this is your first time, I recommend running up to Lowe’s or Home Depot and picking up some pecan wood. It is a milder smoke than hickory. If you use hickory, I would only smoke the wings for about an hour and finish them without smoke, as its profile is much stronger.

You can use a charcoal or gas grill with indirect heat or a smoker to make these wings.

You will need to heat your cooker, whichever you use, to 225-250 F.

If using a charcoal grill, push all your coals to one side or along the edges, as you want your wings to cook on indirect heat, not directly over the coals.

raw chicken wings covered in dry rub on the grill

Once your cooker is at temperature, place your wings on the grill, toss in your wood chips, and close the lid.

How Long To Smoke Chicken Wings

Keep an eye on your grill temperature, keeping it between 225 and 250 degrees F.

You also want to ensure that smoke is pouring out at your desired level. I smoke the wings for a full two hours.

 Smoked Chicken Wings on the grill

Doesn’t that look amazing? Smoked chicken wings just like that!

The wings are ready after 2 1/2 hours. If you want to make sure, use a meat thermometer and cook your wings to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

The wings will be cooked, but we like ours with some char and crispy, so we put them over high heat for about 5 minutes on each side to get them really crispy. Finish them in the oven if you can’t do that on your smoker. This will prevent a rubbery skin on these tasty smoked chicken wings.

Eating The Wings

Once done, pull them from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes on any baking pan or cutting board. At this point, you can apply a sauce if desired. Just toss them in a small bowl, add your favorite sauce, and give them a toss to apply evenly.

I urge you to eat a smoked wing BEFORE adding the sauce. You may find that you want to eat them plain.

This is because they’re amazingly good with just the smoke.

close up of Smoked Chicken Wings with bbq sauce in white ramekin

Adding The Perfect Sauce

If you want to put the proverbial cherry on top of these smoked chicken wings, you need to make up a batch of Alabama White BBQ Sauce. The sauce pairs so well with these wings. I recommend trying it at least once!

There is something about a slightly vinegary peppery sauce and the smoke of the wings that makes it all come together to form a perfect ‘whole’.

Of course, they will be amazing with a favorite wing hot sauce or barbecue sauce of your choice.

We love wings at our house. We love them this way and that way—baked, fried, smoked—it doesn’t matter. I will say, without reservation, that this is the most surprisingly delicious.

I will make this recipe 2-3 times more than the standard baking or frying method.

smoked Chicken Wings on white plate with bbq sauce in white ramekin

We hope you give this recipe a try, and we would love to hear what you think. Thanks, and happy smoking!

Other Amazing Chicken Wing Recipes

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Amazing Smoked Chicken Wings piled high on a white platter with bbq sauce in the background.

The Secrets To Amazing Smoked Chicken Wings Every Time

All the Secrets to making amazingly delicious smoked chicken wings with step by step instructions. These will be a smashing success at any kind of get-together. MUST TRY!
4.68 from 429 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: BBQ
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 607kcal
Author: Don’t Sweat The Recipe

Ingredients
 

  • 6 LBS Chicken Wings

Rub

  • 2 Tablespoon Olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoons Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne

Instructions

  • Separate wings into drumettes and wings, if necessary.
  • Pat wings dry.
  • Combine spices to form the rub.
  • Place wings in a container, add and mix rub and olive oil over chicken.
  • Let wings rest for at least an hour.
  • Heat the smoker or grill to a temperature between 225-250 F.
  • Place wings over indirect heat.
  • Add wood for the smoke to coals.
  • Smoke for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, maintaining a constant smoke for at least 1 1/2 hours, the chicken should have an internal temperature of 160.
  • Place directly over coals to crisp, approximately 5 minutes each side.
  • Remove from heat and let rest for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Serve

Nutrition

Calories: 607kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 189mg | Sodium: 1001mg | Potassium: 519mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2439IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 4mg

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213 Comments

  1. Amazing! I have tried other rubs and other smoking techniques. They were good but nothing even close to how great these were! And these paired perfectly with the Alabama white sauce.

    One change I made was to substitute Ancho chile powder for Chili powder. I discovered my cupboard was bare of chili powder halfway through mixing the dry ingredients but figured the ancho chile powder was worth a try. I gotta say, I’m going to stay with the Ancho powder as it gave me a great result.

    Thanks for the awesome smoked wings experience!5 stars

  2. Never disappoints and great for all palates! Awesome layers of flavor that get you from different places. My 20 something’s ask for them a lot and who am I to say no?5 stars

  3. Amazing rub!! Perfect for whatever you want to smoke or grill!! It’s my only go to for a delicious rub…
    Thank you for the recipe….5 stars

  4. These smoked chicken wings are a game-changer! The perfect balance of smoky flavor and tender meat.”

  5. I am smoking both wings and drums , you said to separate the wings to add seasonings but what about the drums? Recipe sounds awesome .

    1. Yes, separate the wings and drums and discard the wing tips (if you have them) then season them up. Hope you like em!!

  6. This recipe is such a blessing. I did 2.5 hours on 240 for 7 pounds after mixing the seasons as directed .., plus a teeny bit of extra onion powder for the onion loving family. Zero sauce Is needed for these… I had bought several to serve but no one wanted because the recipe prevails as written.

  7. My wife and o enjoyed both the sauced and plan version of this recipe, thanks for your help, I’ll definitely smoke again

  8. After my own experimentation with this INCREDIBLE recipie, The only things I’ve tweaked are, that I started soaking my wings in a semi-sea salted brine (you wouldn’t imagine the amount of junk, small feather remnants and disgusting cloudy water it produces) then they get cold water rinsed, and get a quick shot of boiling water to tighten up the skin (just poured over top of the wings after they’re rinsed) then I dry them like CRAZY!

    The rub I’ve used for years is incredibly similar to yours. Only difference is that I add Brown sugar, baking powder and oregano to mine.

    You can’t beat the complete nothing left on the bone, juicy, crispy crunchy result of adding those very few things.

    But! I’ve never thought of throwing them in a smoker or on a charcoal grill with smoke! You’re a an absolute genius my friend! Pecan wood really makes what I do pop out like crazy! and I’ve never got so many compliments on my wing recipe until now!

    Cheers!5 stars

    1. That’s awesome, Glenn! Smoked wings are the BEST! I know that brining is a good idea (but I get impatient!). Perhaps I’ll slow it down and give that a whirl next time I do these! Thanks again!

  9. Alright, after making numerous recipes online I can officially say this is my favorite wing recipe. I have made them at least 10 times (they’re were hit at all my my UFC parties and Stanley Cup parties). The Alabama White BBQ sauce pairs perfectly with the wings. I run a Traeger pellet smoker and after the wings hit ~155-160 I throw them in the air fryer/over the propane grill flames to get the desired crispiness.
    Thank you for your recipe. I’m about to fire up the smoker and do another batch.5 stars

  10. I tried smoking wings today for my 1st time.. I came across this and thought I would try it out.. omg they were amazing!! I didn’t even need to grill them to give them the crisp.. I had them in for 2 hours and 45 mins and they were crispy enough and very juicy. Thanks so much for posting this!!5 stars

    1. Hey Julie, thanks so much! I am super glad you enjoyed them. We try very hard to put out decent recipes. If we don’t like what we make, we don’t post it. 🙂

      Thanks again!

  11. People having a problem with too much heat may be confusing American chili powder ( a mixture of cayenne,onion,cumin,paprica,garlic,chile powders and herbs) vs rest of the world “chilli powder” which is pure ground dried chillis/chiles.

    1. Yep, just checked my wife’s supply of “chili powder”.
      Contains: chili powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, garlic, rice concentrate, allspice, and cloves.
      Great tip!5 stars

  12. Just made these for my wife’s teach end of semester party and people are loving them! Smoked them to 165 internal temp (about 2 1/2 hours at 225 in pellet smoker with apple wood). Then fired up the grill and gave them about 3 minutes per side. They are really good. I seasoned them last night and let them sit over night).5 stars

  13. Like so many others have said, I also smoked wings for the first time using your recipe (on my Weber charcoal grill), and had very good results – my wife loves smoked wings, and she said these are the best thing she’s ever tasted! Thank you for sharing the love.😁5 stars

  14. Hands down the best wings. No sauce needed, and kids eat them faster then I can cook them. I even use the rub occasionally for other pieces of chicken I smoke. Thank you!!!5 stars

      1. I know I’m late to the party, but I made these last night and they were fantastic! Smoked for 2 hours at 230 and crisped them up on high heat. I purposely did not make the sauce because I like my wings dry. Thanks for a great recipe. The family loved it.
        I’m going to make the Alabama sauce next time, because I have to try it!

        1. Never late to the party with these wings, Ken! Glad you liked em. Definitely whip up some of the Alabama White next time. You WILL be happily surprised. Promise!!

  15. I have been making wings for a couple months now, experimenting with different recipes and so far this one is hands down the best. the only thing I changed was, i subbed peanut oil for the olive oil. the wings come out perfect every time and thst Alabama white sauce is the oerfect compliment to them. thx for this!5 stars

      1. Any way we could cook these in the oven? If so temp and time please!? I’m not too wavy with a grill unfortunately.5 stars

  16. These were so freakin’ good! No sauce needed. I left out the cayenne, because my kids are wusses, and shortened the cooking time by a bit (my smoker was running just a smidge hot). BOTH OF MY KIDS HAD SECONDS! If you knew my kids, you’d know that’s a BIG deal. Saving this recipe to make again. Super simple. Tons of flavor. ‘Nuff said.

    1. Thanks, man. Glad you liked ’em! 🙂 It’s so convenient to pick up the phone and have some wings delivered but such a disappointment when you get them. We just don’t do it anymore. Smoked wings are my fav!! As you said, the flavor crushes!! Thanks again!

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