If you haven't tried smoked chicken wings then get to it. They need little introduction and they're about the best tasting thing you can do on the smoker and a real crowd pleaser for sure. This version uses Franks original hot sauce as a base for the original rub coating on the outside (purchase recipes here) and you are going to love them!

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Helpful Information
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Marinate Time: 4 hours
  • Cook time: 1.5 hours
  • Smoker temperature: 250°F
  • Meat finish temperature: 165°F
  • Recommended wood: Pecan
What You'll Need

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My original rub on chicken wings is unlike anything else you've ever tasted. In the recipe, I used the original Franks RedHot sauce as a base for my delicious rub and allowed that mixture to marinate the chicken for about 4 hours. The result was nothing less than amazing!

promise you’ll love my dry rub/seasoning recipe and my barbecue sauce recipe or you don’t pay!

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Step 1: Marinate

Place the chicken wing sections into a large plastic or glass bowl.

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Get some Franks original hot sauce..

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Drizzle it over the top of all the wings.

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Stir them around to fully coat.

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Sprinkle Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) onto the top of the wing sections (be generous).

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Stir the wings around to get the rub all over.

Repeat the rub and the stirring to make sure you have plenty of rub on the chicken wings.

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Cover the container with a lid, plastic wrap or foil and place them in the fridge for about 4 hours to marinate.

When the marinating is finished, place the wing sections on a bradley rack or cookie sheet for easy transport out to the smoker.

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Step 2: Set up Smoker

Set up your smoker for cooking at about 250°F.

You will be keeping this heat going for about 1 to 1.5 hours so you'll want enough smoking wood for about 1 hour.

Once the smoker is maintaining the proper temperature, you can proceed with the cooking process.

Step 3: Smoke the Chicken Wings

If you used a Bradley rack, you can just place the Bradley rack right on the smoker grate and close the door or lid.

Otherwise, place the chicken wing sections on the smoker grate with a little space between them to allow the heat and smoke to get to them easily.

Keep a light pecan smoke going for at least 1 hour. You can also use another wood if you do not have pecan or if you have another favorite smoking wood.

Thermapen is really useful for checking things like chicken wings. It's quick and you can check a lot of wings in a very short period of time.

A Thermapen is a really nice hand held thermometer that checks the temperature of meat in around 2-3 seconds by simply poking the meat with the probe.

When the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, it is time to super heat and crisp the skin.

If you want to use a leave-in wireless thermometer to monitor the temperature of the chicken and/or the pit, look no further than the “Smoke” by Thermoworks. This is the dual-probe remote thermometer that I use and you can count on it being rugged, accurate and easy to use.

Check it out HERE.

Step 4: Crisp Skin

This process can be done on the grill or under the oven broiler–

I highly recommend using the broiler feature on your home oven for this to get a more consistent heating. Turn it on “High” and it should be ready within just a minute or two.

Important: Transfer the chicken to a cookie sheet to prevent the grease from dripping down onto your oven floor and starting a fire.

Electric (or Gas) broiler at top of oven:

Place the pan about 10-12 inches under the broiler.

After a minute or so the skin will start to sizzle/bubble and get dark, and when they reach a nice brown color, it is time to flip them over.

Flip the chicken pieces over and do the same on the other side.

Gas broiler in a drawer under the oven:

Place the pan of chicken under the broiler and leave the drawer pulled out so you can watch it the entire time. This type of broiler usually has the food closer to the heat so it will get done really fast.

Very quickly the skin will start to sizzle/bubble and get dark, and when they reach a nice brown color, it is time to flip them over.

Pull the pan out of the broiler, flip the chicken pieces over and repeat the broiling process to crisp the skin on the other side.

Note: The time will vary depending on how far the chicken is from the broiler element but it is imperative that you do not walk away during this process. Turn on the oven light, if you have one and watch them so they do not burn. When you see the sizzling of the skin, let that go on for about 15 seconds then proceed to flip them over.

Step 5: Serve

When the smoked chicken wings come out off the grill or out from the broiler, serve them immediately for best results. There's nothing quite as good as smoked chicken wings still hot and burning your fingers.

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Questions and Comments

Can I use barbecue sauce on the wings?

You can definitely use sauce but if you do, I recommend waiting until you crisp the skin. Add the sauce then give them a little more time under the broiler but, once again, watch them carefully and don't let the sauce burn.

Can I just cook them hotter in the smoker?

Yes. If your smoker will cook at 275-300°F this will work just fine. The down side is that the chicken does not get to spend as much time with the smoke and the smoke flavor will not be as strong.

How about using a different hot sauce?

You can use whatever hot sauce you like depending on how hot you like it. To me Franks is the traditional flavor of hot wings and it adds the perfect amount of tanginess and heat but feel free to experiment and if you find something that knocks your socks off, let me know 😉

Won't the chicken wings get hotter than 165°F once they go under the broiler?

That is possible but it's perfectly ok as chicken wings have more fat than some other chicken parts and it can handle and even benefit from being cooked to a higher temperature without drying out the meat. Some of my test pieces were around 175°F final temperature after being broiled to perfection.

You could also have a hot grill ready to go and once ready, move them over to crisp them up.

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***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!

If I could give these recipes away, I would do that. I really want you to have them! But, then, this is how I support the newsletter, the website and all of the other stuff that we do here to promote the art of smoking meat.

Read these recent testimonies:

"Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well!" ~Peter S.
"I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while." ~Darwyn B.
"Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future!" ~Michelle M.

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Printable Recipe

5.0 from 3 reviews
Smoked Chicken Wings
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
One of the main complaints that I hear about smoking chicken wings and all chicken for that matter is that the skin does not get crispy enough. While it is virtually impossible to get crispy skin in the smoker, there are methods for cooking chicken in the smoker and still having it come out with skin that is not chewy and has good bite-thru.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Hot Smoking
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
Instructions
Step 1: Marinate
  1. Place the chicken wing sections into a large plastic or glass bowl.
  2. Drizzle Franks original hot sauce over the top of all the wings
  3. Stir them around to fully coat.
  4. Sprinkle Jeff's original rub also called Jeff's naked rib rub onto the top of the wing sections (be generous).
  5. Stir the wings around to get the rub all over.
  6. Repeat the rub and the stirring to make sure you have plenty of rub on the chicken wings.
  7. Cover the container with a lid, plastic wrap or foil and place them in the fridge for about 4 hours to marinate.
  8. When the marinating is finished, place the wing sections on a bradley rack or cookie sheet for easy transport out to the smoker.
Step 2: Set up Smoker
  1. Set up your smoker for cooking at about 250°F.
  2. You will be keeping this heat going for about 1 to 1.5 hours so you'll want enough smoking wood for about 1 hour.
  3. Once the smoker is maintaining the proper temperature, you can proceed with the cooking process.
Step 3: Smoke Chicken Wings
  1. If you used a Bradley rack, you can just place the Bradley rack right on the smoker grate and close the door or lid.
  2. Otherwise, place the chicken wing sections on the smoker grate with a little space between them to allow the heat and smoke to get to them easily.
  3. Keep a light pecan smoke going for at least 1 hour. You can also use another wood if you do not have pecan or if you have another favorite smoking wood.
  4. A Thermapen is really useful for checking things like chicken wings. It's quick and you can check a lot of wings in a very short period of time.
  5. A Thermapen is a really nice hand held thermometer that checks the temperature of meat in around 2-3 seconds by simply poking the meat with the probe.
  6. You can use a different thermometer if you have one, just make sure it is accurate so you don't undercook the chicken.
  7. When the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, it is time to super heat and crisp the skin.
Step 4: Crisp Skin
  1. This process can be done on the grill or under the oven broiler--
  2. I highly recommend using the broiler feature on your home oven for this to get a more consistent heating. Turn it on "High" and it should be ready within just a minute or two.
  3. Important: Transfer the chicken to a cookie sheet to prevent the grease from dripping down onto your oven floor and starting a fire.
  4. Electric (or Gas) broiler at top of oven:
  5. Place the pan about 10-12 inches under the broiler.
  6. After a minute or so the skin will start to sizzle/bubble and get dark, and when they reach a nice brown color, it is time to flip them over.
  7. Flip the chicken pieces over and do the same on the other side.
  8. Gas broiler in a drawer under the oven:
  9. Place the pan of chicken under the broiler and leave the drawer pulled out so you can watch it the entire time. This type of broiler usually has the food closer to the heat so it will get done really fast.
  10. Very quickly the skin will start to sizzle/bubble and get dark, and when they reach a nice brown color, it is time to flip them over.
  11. Pull the pan out of the broiler, flip the chicken pieces over and repeat the broiling process to crisp the skin on the other side.
  12. Note: The time will vary depending on how far the chicken is from the broiler element but it is imperative that you do not walk away during this process. Turn on the oven light, if you have one and watch them so they do not burn. When you see the sizzling of the skin, let that go on for about 15 seconds then proceed to flip them over.
Step 5: Serve
  1. When the smoked chicken wings come out off the grill or out from the broiler, serve them immediately for best results. There's nothing quite as good as smoked chicken wings still hot and burning your fingers.
 

About the Author

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

11 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. robert May 1, 2017 at 11:05 am - Reply

    can you make these in the oven?

    • Jeff Phillips May 3, 2017 at 6:24 pm - Reply

      Absolutely and you can cook them hotter as well (275-325) to give the skin a little better bite through. Obviously hotter means they will get done faster so keep an eye on the internal temperature.

  2. Bruce February 4, 2017 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    Recipe says to let them marinate in the hot sauce and rub for 4 hours. Anything wrong with letting them marinate overnight?

  3. Bob October 13, 2016 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    We smoked 5 lbs of wings using this recipe. We finished them in the broiler, even though the “broken ones” that tried right from the smoker were good already. Honestly the best wings that I have eaten.

  4. Jim Fogelman February 29, 2016 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Another fantastic recipe Jeff. Used my Traeger Lil Texas Elite. Put grill on smoke setting for with wings on for about 20-30 min (approx. 180 degree) before raising temp. Came out crazy good!

  5. Charlie February 3, 2016 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    I have used the bag method with oil and rub as well as rub to a dry wing, and crispy is best with a dry wing. This is easier than corn starch or baking powder. Let the wings sit overnight in the fridge , after thawing , in a container that lets the juice collect away from the wings. Apply rub while smoker heats. I use California Pepper Plant Sauce with butter (1/4 cup with 4 tbsp butter per 2.5 lb wing) after smoking by coating in a foil pan , then return to grill to char a bit.

  6. James Murphy January 29, 2016 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    I will never eat wings from a restaurant again. I smoked them with Apple wood and it added a whole new dimension to hot wings. I also used a toaster oven set to broil to crisp the skin, worked great. 5 stars.

  7. Michael October 16, 2015 at 6:53 am - Reply

    You can also do what my favorite BBQ joint does and give them a quick flash fry. After that toss them around in some more rub. This method works like a charm. Easy and quick. It allows you to keep them warm somewhere and fry them as folks are ready because it’s so quick. No need to do then all at once.

  8. Josh October 12, 2015 at 10:19 am - Reply

    I have had good luck with crispy skin on chicken and turkey. I coat them in olive oil and then add Jeff’s Rub. I cook them at 225.

  9. Rob October 8, 2015 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    You can also coat the wings with a little maple syrup or honey with your hot sauce to achieve a crispier skin. I’ve also found that applying a light coat of baking POWDER to the wings and cooking at low heat for about 10 minutes draws the fat from the skin. After 10 minutes, you can increase the heat to finish cooking. After cooking, you can apply whatever seasoning or sauce you desire.

  10. Ryan cawley October 8, 2015 at 10:01 am - Reply

    I have made chicken wings in my smoker numerous times the best way I have found is to throw them on the grill after they are done just to crisp up the outside of the wings you do not lose any of the smoke flavor that I notice

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