There's not too many foods that I like as well as smoked chicken wings and this week, I just couldn't help showing off my pecan smoked chicken wings with honey and beer barbecue sauce!
The picture looks good enough to eat in my opinion and you can only imagine how good these babies are in real life.
A little sticky and with just the right amount of smoke, the slightly crispy skin is beyond delectable and the tender meat comes cleanly off the bone!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Marinate Time: Overnight or about 6-8 hours
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Smoker Temp: 225°F
- Meat Finish Temp: 165-170°F
- Recommended Wood: Pecan
Rinse the chicken wings under cold water then pat them dry with a paper towel
Put the raw chicken wings into a large ziptop bag and pour in about ¼ cup of olive oil.
If you are making more than 3 lb of wings, you may need more oil. The oil is added to create a nice sticky surface on the meat to help the rub to stick well.
Add about ½ cup of Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) (per 3 lbs of chicken wings) to the bag.
Close the bag and shake, rattle, and roll the bag to allow the rub to coat all of the chicken.
Please note: unlike a lot of commercially available rubs, my original rub (purchase recipes here) is low on salt and you can use a lot of this stuff if you want to without worrying that they will be overly salty.
If you did it right, it should look like the picture below:
Place the bag of wings into a pan of some sort to ensure that they do not leak and then into the fridge to keep them cold.
Allow them to marinate in the fridge overnight or for 6-8 hours for best results.
The next morning or when you are ready to smoke the chicken wings, remove the bag of wings from the fridge and pour them into a pan so you can easily place them onto the smoker.
As you can see, the rub has turned into a paste consisting of the rub, olive oil and some of the tasty juices from the chicken. They have been marinating all night and some of the goodness has even found it's way up under the skin.
Set up your smoker for cooking at 225°F with pecan wood if possible (it's awesome on these smoked chicken wings!).
I used the Big Green Egg Ceramic cooker with the Flame Boss temperature controller to help me maintain a very steady 225°F.
These wings are also a great candidate for the brand new Camp Chef Woodwind SG Pellet Smoker which not only cooks great but you can go from indirect heat to direct heat in 2 seconds by simply pulling the the grill knob to the left which moves the heat deflector out of the way. All of a sudden, direct heat is hitting the chicken wings to help finish off that skin right. You can hit 'em with direct heat for as long as you like, making sure they don't burn then push the grill knob back to the right when you're finished and want to go back to indirect cooking. This smoker also comes standard with the propane searbox attached to the side so you can put up to 900°F of sear on them babies if you want to.
I finally have my review finished for the Camp Chef Woodwind SG.. check it out to learn more.
Place the chicken wings directly on the smoker grate or you can also use a Bradley rack, Weber grill pan or a cooling rack for easy transport to and from the kitchen.
Smoke the wings with indirect heat. If you are using the BGE, this means you are using the plate setter. In water smokers, you can leave the water pan dry if you like, especially if you have had trouble getting a good texture on the skin.
The first image below is without smoke.. in the 2nd image you can see the hazy pecan smoke starting to come up and kiss the chicken good morning.
Use pecan wood if you have it and maintain 225 -230°F for about 1.5 to 2 hours.
About 30 minutes before the wings are done cooking, brush the honey and beer barbecue sauce (recipe below) onto the tops of the chicken wings. Let them cook for another 10 minutes then flip them over and repeat on the other side.
You may think it's not going to take nearly 2 hours for these since they will reach about 150°F within the first hour but when you open the lid to sauce them up with the beer and honey barbecue sauce, the temperature will drop several degrees.
It will take another 30 to 45 minutes or more for them to recover and then climb to 165-170°F.
Monitor the Temperature of the Chicken
It is VERY important to monitor the temperature of chicken while you are cooking it.
I know, I know.. you can touch it and tell what temperature it is.
Well, you are my hero but I can't do that accurately enough for my own satisfaction and clear juice does not necessarily mean the chicken has reached a safe temperature.
Use a thermometer and just be on the safe side.
I use the super-fast Thermapen as the final temperature check for things like chicken.
Another great tool is the improved ThermoPop digital pocket thermometer which reads in 3-4 seconds (that's fast), is splash-proof and is only $29. One of my favorite toys.. er, tools;-)
I used the food probe on the Flame Boss temperature controller to monitor an average sized chicken wing, then checked several of the other pieces with my Thermapen once the temperature was reading 165°F.
Using this method, I was able to ensure that all of the chicken was between 165 and 170°F.
My barbecue sauce recipe is great just like it is but it is also a great base for adding other things to.
In this smoked chicken wing recipe, I decided to add a touch of honey and some beer to take it to another level.
To purchase the barbecue sauce recipe with the rub recipe, go HERE.
Once you have the recipe in hand, make up a batch of sauce, let it cool just a little then combine the following:
Add the honey and the beer to the barbecue sauce and stir well to combine.
I recommend you “test” a couple or 5 before you take them into the house since after that, they'll be gone like a freight train before you even know what happened!
- These smoked chicken wings will not be as crispy as fried wings. They should have decent bite through and if you embrace the quality of chicken skin that's been smoked and coated with a little rub and/or sauce, you might find that while it's different, it's also very, very good 😉
- You do not have to marinate these overnight but I do highly recommend it. It allows the rub to turn into a paste which wicks up under the skin of the chicken and really gets some good flavor into the outer surface of the meat. You can taste the difference in my opinion.
- I like the full size chicken wings however, if you want the smaller drumettes and wingettes (or whatever they call them), just separate the wings at the elbows before you season them.
- If you must know, I used Shiner Bock beer in the honey and beer barbecue sauce and it is my usual go-to beer for most of my cooking.