Smoked Chicken Wings
Smoked Chicken Wings

These smoked wings are infused with the sweet waves of cherry wood smoke over low heat. Not a smoker? No problem. You can use your gas or charcoal grill.

In this recipe

  • Why smoked wings are the best
  • How to prepare your chicken wings
  • The best wood for smoking chicken wings
  • A smoker or a grill, both work!
  • How long to smoke the chicken wings
  • What to serve with smoked chicken wings

There are more ways to make chicken wings than I have fingers. They can be fried, baked, or grilled and coated in hot sauce, BBQ sauce, or white sauce. My favorite is with just a few spices and the ultimate bonus: smoke.

Why smoked wings are the best

The dark flesh of chicken wings can handle a lot of heat – they’re at their most tender when smoked over low heat for a long time or on the grill with smoke. This allows the collagen in the meat to slowly melt. And while the low heat works on the meat, the skin will crisp up perfectly when the wings are done on high heat.

Some recipes apply baking soda to the wings and place them in the fridge, uncovered, overnight. It’s a great way to get crisp wings. However, since these are smoked low and slow, they just need to be blotted well with paper towels and a light coat of olive oil.

When smoking wings, I stick to a simple dry rub. If I want a sauce, I dip the cooked wings in it just before serving.

How to prepare your chicken wings

Chicken wings can be smoked whole, but I prefer to break them up into drums and flats. It allows me to eat with one hand – the smaller portion is easier to manage – and hold my beer glass with the other hand. To achieve this, I do the heavy lifting during preparation.

Sturdy kitchen scissors or a sharp knife make the process child’s play. There is a fugue at the point where the drum and the flat meet. Cut right through – you don’t need much force. I remove the wing tips and put them in a freezer bag for my next batch of chicken broth.

The best wood for smoking chicken wings

As the wings cook, smoke bathes them in sweet bitterness. It also paints the wings in a beautiful mahogany. You will taste these with your mouth and your eyes.

I prefer sweet woods like apple or cherry, which is what I’m calling for in this recipe. Chicken also pairs well with pecan and hickory wood. Experiment and use what you like or even use a combination of woods. Grilling wood chips and chunks are available at most grocery and department stores.

A smoker or a grill, both work!

Whether you have a water pan, pellet grill, or kamado, a smoker will undoubtedly make the process easier. A smoker offers a large cooking surface and is great at maintaining low heat, whether through insulation or electronics. It’s incredibly convenient and rewarding; however, You don’t need to be a dedicated smoker to smoke wings.

If you use a gas grill, Depending on the size of the grill, turn on one or two burners. You get indirect low heat via the off burners. Create smoke with a special smokehouse that sits directly above a flaming burner. A makeshift aluminum foil bag pierced with holes and filled with wood shavings is an easy alternative.

on a charcoal grill, indirect low heat is obtained by pushing aside unlit coals. To do this, light some coals and place the burning coals on top of the unlit coals. Low heat is maintained as the lit charcoal is slowly heated down towards the fresh charcoal. Pieces of wood added to the lit coals create waves of smoke.

How long to smoke the chicken wings

Smoke wings for 1 hour over indirect low heat, 225ºF to 275ºF – this means laying wings over unlit burners or side with no lit coals. Then increase the heat to medium-high, 400ºF to 425ºF – the wings are moved aside with the lit burners or coals. There they cook for another 15 minutes.

What to serve with smoked chicken wings

Classic celery sticks and blue cheese dressing will work, but since the grill is already on why not put some veggies on top. English peas, corn, asparagus or romaine lettuce – drizzled over with the blue cheese dressing – are all good choices.

Just wing it!

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  • Chicken wings with honey mustard

Smoked Chicken Wings

preparation time
25 minutes

BBQ time
75 minutes

total time
100 minutes

up to 6 servings

up to 34 blades


  • Cherry wood shavings for gas grill or chunks for smoker or charcoal grill

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, tightly packed

  • 1 tablespoon of peppers

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon ancho chilli powder

  • 5 pounds chicken wings

  • Extra virgin olive oil to brush the wings


  1. Prepare the grill or smoker:

    You don’t need a dedicated smoker! You can use a grill – either gas or charcoal – to create indirect low heat, 225ºF to 275ºF.

    For a gas grill: Achieve indirect low heat by setting a burner to high heat. You will be grilling the wings over the unlit burners. Place a smoker box or perforated aluminum foil bag filled with wood chips on the lit burner to create smoke.

    For a charcoal grill: Achieve indirect low heat by pushing unlit coals aside. Light some charcoal and place the lit charcoal on top of the unlit charcoal. Close the vents to reduce airflow. Add pieces of wood directly to the burning coals to smoke.

    For a dedicated smoker: Put 3 to 4 pieces of wood in the smoker. If using a water pan or kamado grill, place the pieces directly on the coals. If using a pellet smoker, use cherry wood pellets.

  2. Preparation of the dry rub:

    In a small bowl or spice shaker, combine salt, garlic powder, brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, and ancho chili powder.

  3. Prepare wings:

    Using a sharp knife or poultry shears, remove the wing tip and separate the lid and drum. Bend each joint to reveal its center, then cut through. Save the wing tips for another use, like chicken broth.

  4. Dry and season wings:

    Place the wings on a baking sheet lined with kitchen paper and pat dry. Discard the paper towels.

    Brush the wings with a thin layer of olive oil. Season the wings all over with the rub.

  5. smoke the wings:

    Smoke the wings over indirect low heat – over the empty side of the charcoal grill or unlit burners – for 1 hour with the grill lid on, turning once.

    note: I have 28 to 34 chicken wings in 5 pounds. If your chicken wings are large and less than 28 wings, smoke them 15 minutes longer.

    Raise the smoker’s temperature to medium-high, 400º to 425º F. For a gas or charcoal grill, place the wings on the lit burner or charcoal. Cook with the lid on for 15 minutes, then transfer to a serving platter and serve.

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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!