How To Smoke Chicken Wings
With a family of 6, there are few meals that have the ability to satisfy everyone. We have a range of ages and an even greater range of taste buds in our home. We have those with hypersensitivity to spice and others who could eat spicy peppers raw and remain unphased.
We love chicken wings in our house.
There are few foods that allow you to dress them up after they're cooking in whatever way you want, satisfying all the different taste preferences, and without sacrificing the food in any way.
Dry, savory, sweet, saucy, spicy, sticky, crispy - whatever way you like them, you can make them! And you don't have to be an expert in the kitchen to make perfect chicken wings.
For this recipe we are going to smoke the chicken wings - if you don't have a smoker an oven works fine - the goal is to absorb a good amount of smoky flavor without drying out the meat. Ideally, we will have a wing with just the right amount of crisp to the skin.
Note: you can use any type of smoker for chicken wings! I will share how I make them on my pellet grill and how I would make them on my Pit Barrel Cooker.
Most chicken wings you buy from a grocery store are frozen. I highly recommend thawing them completely.
Yes, there is a LOT of different types of wings to do and I will add more recipes in the future, this initial method is to introduce you to smoking weeks and to become comfortable with the process so we can tackle the other recipes in the future.
Thaw wings completely. I like to place a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet and spread the chicken wings out. If you want your wings extra crispy and if you plan ahead of time, cover the wings in plastic wrap and leave them in the fridge overnight. This is not required, but I've had the best luck getting crispy wings that way.
Season the wings. Again, we are going to cook it simple. SPG - salt, pepper, and garlic. Depending on how many wings you plan on doing, I prepare even amounts. 1 Tablespoon of each is perfect. Mix well, and season to taste.
Start the smoker. If you are using a pellet smoker, set it to 275. If you are using a barrel cooker like the Pit Barrel, follow the normal process of getting it started. (Videos coming soon on lighting your Pit Barrel).
Place the wings evenly on the smoker. If you want extra crispy skin - and you didn't have time to refrigerate them overnight - give them a shot of Duck Fat Spray.
Let the wings cook for one hour. If you are cooking on a pellet grill, this should get the wings to ~ 150 degrees internal temperature. Don't have an instant-read thermometer? See my referral link (ThermoWorks Thermapen). See the bottom of this post for other options. Flip the wings. If you are cooking on a pellet cooker, increase the temperature to 350 degrees. The wings have absorbed plenty of delicious smoke flavor. If you are cooking on a barrel, simply flip the wings.
Cook until internal temperature is 180-190 degrees. Why the range? If you couldn't tell, I love crispy wings! You don't lose moisture taking them to 190 degrees but you get plenty of crisp!!
Heat your sauce. In a small saucepan, heat whatever sauce you choose to use. If you're using a favorite bbq sauce, toss in a tablespoon or two of butter. Yes, it is optional, but it helps stick the sauce to the wings and really kicks it up a notch.
Pull the wings and toss in the sauce! When your wings are at temperature, pull them from the smoker/barrel. Place them in a bowl - one big enough to stir in sauce, or one with a lid you can seal toss to sauce - and cover the wings evenly with sauce.
Serve hot and enjoy!!
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*Below are links for ThermoWorks products and Pit Barrel Cooker. Both are partner links that I make a commission from.