Apricot and Honey Chicken Wings
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My affinity for smoked chicken wings is known far and wide– my most recent experiment involved brushing a mixture of apricot spreadable fruit and honey onto the wings when they were almost done cooking. The sweetness of the fruit and honey mixed with the spiciness of my original rub created an awesome combination that had me licking my fingers like no one was watching!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Dry Time: 4 hours
- Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Smoker Temp: 225-240°F
- Meat Finish Temp: 175-180°F
- Recommended Wood: Hickory
- 12-14 whole chicken wings
- Jeff’s original rub
- ½ cup or 4-5 ounces apricot spreadable fruit (I use Smucker’s SimplyFruit® which has no added sugar)
- ½ cup Honey
Let’s face it, chicken skin cooked in the smoker is never going to be crisp but it can have what we call, “good bite through”. A great way to make sure it’s not rubbery but has decent bite through is to dry the skin in the fridge for several hours or even overnight.
Rinse the chicken wings If you like then pat them really dry with a paper towel. Heck use a couple of paper towels if you need to =)
Once they are good and paper towel dried, place them on a cooling rack over a sheet pan for best results or you can just lay them in a pan or large container. Place the chicken in the fridge for 3-4 hours or optimally, overnight.
The moisture in the skin will evaporate and the skin will become dry. This is exactly what you want.
Once you’ve dried the skin in the fridge, we will apply a base on the chicken to help the rub to stick.
I prefer to use Mayonnaise on chicken but you can also just use olive oil or vegetable oil.
Rub the mayo all over the top and bottom of the chicken wings.. be generous with it.
Sprinkle my original rub on the bottom side of the chicken wings then let them sit there and get that “wet” look before flipping them over.
Repeat the original rub on the top side of the wings and let them sit while you go get the smoker ready.
Set up your smoker for cooking at about 225-240°F using indirect heat.
Since we are trying to get the skin to obtain a good bite through, I recommend leaving the water pan dry for these.
Like the legs and thighs, there is plenty of fat in the wings to help keep them moist while they cook.
Note: Some folks cook chicken in the smoker at 275°F or a little higher and this is fine if your smoker will do that but this also gives you less time in the smoke and reduced smoke flavor. I try to find a balance between plenty of smoke flavor and good heat.
Once the smoker is ready, place the chicken wings on the smoker grate skin side up.
Use hickory wood for smoke. You can also use pecan, or almost any fruit wood. Apply smoke throughout the entire cooking process if possible.
When the chicken wings reach about 165°F, it’s time to apply the glaze.
I used apricot spreadable fruit– Smucker’s SimplyFruit® and honey to create the glaze.
- ½ cup Smucker’s apricot SimplyFruit®
- ½ cup honey
Instructions: place the ingredients into a small sauce pan over low heat to allow the honey and fruit to combine. Stir gently and once the mixture is hot and thoroughly mixed, remove from the heat.
Brush the glaze liberally onto the tops of the chicken wings and let them continue to cook until they reach 175°F in the thickest part of the meat.
If you have a smoker that allows you to turn up the heat easily, feel free to crank up the heat to 250-275°F to help the glaze to have a better finish.
Chicken is safely done at 165°F however, darker, more fatty chicken meat can handle much higher finish temperatures and even tend to get more tender if you cook them a little longer and higher than what is required.
I recommend cooking these to 175-180°F for better tenderness.
Serve immediately and watch them disappear.
- This recipe is for a dozen wings so you can easily double or triple the recipe according to who is eating, whether they are appetizers or entrees and based on the hunger level of those you are serving. I used half of a 10 ounce jar of the spreadable fruit (which is approximately ½ cup) instead of measuring closely. To double the recipe just use the entire jar and a full cup of honey.
- It took 1 hour 16 minutes for the smoked chicken wings to reach 165°F then another 31 minutes to acquire a temperature of 175°F after glazing. Let the temperature be your guide since many things can influence the time such as how cold the wings are when they go into the smoker, comparative size of the chicken wings, outside temperature, airflow in your smoker, how often you open the smoker door/lid, etc.
- Use a reliable digital meat thermometer such as the Thermapen (handheld) or a leave-in device such as the “Smoke” by Thermoworks to monitor the temperature and make sure you get the chicken wings done perfectly.
Apricot and Honey Chicken Wings
In this smoked chicken wing recipe, I used apricot spreadable fruit with honey along with my original rub to create a flavor profile that you are going to love!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 4 -6 1x
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Hot Smoking
- 12–14 Chicken wings ((whole))
- Jeff's original rub
- 1/2 cup Apricot spreadable fruit (((I use Smucker's SimplyFruit® which has no added sugar)))
- 1/2 cup Honey
- Place the chicken wings on a cooling rack over a sheet pan and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Set the chicken in the fridge to allow the skin to dry for about 4 hours or optimally overnight.
- Apply a coat of mayonnaise all over the chicken.
- Season the chicken wings liberally with Jeff's original rub recipe.
- Setup your smoker for cooking at about 225-240°F using indirect heat and hickory wood for smoke.
- Place the chicken wings directly on the smoker grate and let them cook for about 1.5 hours or until they reach 165°F in the thickest part of the meat.
- Make a glaze of ½ cup Smucker's apricot simplyfruit® or any apricot spreadable fruit and ½ cup honey.
- Heat the ingredients in a small saucepan to help the mixture to combine more easily.
- Once the glaze is finished, brush it liberally onto the chicken wings.
- Let the wings continue cooking until they reach about 175-180°F in the thickest part.
- Serve the wings immediately.
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Follow-up to my earlier review of September 2, 2018.
I did them again several months ago, trying to get the rub on by putting the wings in a ziplock bag with three rub. Poor results – got too much rub on, and they were too spicy hot.
Had friends over tonight and I did it the right way, just sprinkling the rub on the wings, and used cherry wood. I drastically cut back the glaze – used a quarter cup each of honey and apricot preserves and still had some left after liberally slathering two dozen wings with it.
I should have done three dozen. Everyone loved them.
Awesome fall off the bone !
I will make this recipe. A regular!
I made this recipe yesterday. Instead of letting the wings sit in the fridge for an extended period, I mixed flour, corn starch and Reese’s steak salt together. Let the wings sit for about an hour or so and then smoked them. Using corn starch is a trick used with fried chicken to help crisp up the skin and it does a good job of that with this method.
What an amazing recipe. I made this apricot honey wing recipe last weekend. I had trippled the recipe thinking they would make an amazing snake throughout the week. Well the four of us ate them all they were so good. Definitely a keeper recipe! This weekend we will be trying your drunken smoked drumsticks and the ribs using your bbq sauce. Looking forward to more amazing meals! Thanks for sharing!
Made them yesterday. My tweak:
I didn’t have the “all fruit,” so used regular apricot preserves instead. Measured out half a cup of honey and added the preserves. Heated in the microwave to liquify the honey, then poured into the Vitamix to break up the fruit chunks.
This was ‘way too much glaze for the 16 wings we had; I applied it to BOTH sides of about half the wings (instead of just the tops, as the recipe recommends) and still had about half left over – will make a lot less next time. Also, sprinkling the rub on top of the wings and then flipping over was kinda messy; think I’ll do it in a zip lock bag next time.
Didn’t use a thermometer – just went with Jeff’s time and smoker temperature recommendations and added a couple of minutes just to be safe.
Result: The best smoke I’ve ever done. Just enough smoke without being overpowering, a little heat from the rub, and sweetness from the glaze. Skin texture just right – soft but not rubbery. In other words, everything in perfect balance.
These Honey Apricot Wings were so good the first time, I am making them again with legs and thighs. I added sriracha to the mayo to spice them up a wee bit and I have to admit it is a good addition. This time, I’m using a hot sauce from a Northern California fire department to add a bite to the mayo and I am hoping for good results. I have been using your rub for years now and have never heard a complaint! Thanks for such a great website and such consistently great recipes and ideas.
I tried the apricot/honey recipe today on a dozen wings. I used your original dry rub. Smoked them with hickory for about 1-1/2 hours at 240 degrees. I mixed the apricot jam/honey to about an 70/30 ratio, rolled the wings in the mixture and placed them in an oven, middle rack on the broil setting. I took them out when the glaze was a golden brown. The wife and I enjoyed the wings with a mixture of veggies with blue cheese dressing. Nice Sunday afternoon snack! Excellent recipe. Thanks Jeff!
I used the recipe for Apricot and Honey Chicken Wings – Hickory Smoked to smoke some quail for a party that I held last weekend. I made some modifications. Since the quail didn’t have skin, I skipped the “dry brine” step and went right to the “apply mayo” step. I also substituted peach jam for the apricot jam.
The results were outstanding!! The quail disappeared off the table as though they had been flushed from the tall grass in Mississippi, where I go them.
A couple of changes for next time – I would go a little easier on Jeff’s Rub as they were a little on the spicy side (but no complaints made from my guests) and I would use water in the water pan to make them a little juicier.
I have a couple of photos – before and after – but I don’t know how to get them to you, if you are interested.
Jim, Sounds lovely! You can send me drool worthy pics at [email protected] =)