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Honey Barbecue Smoked Chicken Wings

Honey Barbecue Smoked Chicken Wings

I have had these honey barbecue smoked chicken wings on my brain for several weeks and decided to not only make a big batch but, to also share them with you. They are brined in buttermilk to make them amazingly tender, marinated in Jeff’s original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) for amazing flavor and then finished with my very own sweet and spicy honey barbecue sauce (recipe below)

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Marinate Time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Smoker Temp: 250°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 165-185°F
  • Recommended Wood: Hickory or Mesquite

What You’ll Need

Step 1: Marinate Chicken Wings

Place a single layer of the wings in a disposable pan

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Drizzle with olive or vegetable oil and brush it on to coat all sides thoroughly.

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Sprinkle a generous amount of Jeff’s original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) onto the wings then flip them over and apply rub to the other side as well.

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Let the rub “settle in” and when it starts getting that wet look, place the wings in a ziptop bag and place them in the fridge for 2 hours.

This marinates the wings and gives them a ton of extra flavor!

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Step 2: Brine Wings with Buttermilk

After marinating the wings for 2 hours with Jeff’s original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub), it is time to give the chicken some extra flavor and tenderness. Buttermilk is known by many chefs to be a great tenderizer for poultry and it does absolute wonders on these smoked chicken wings.

The first step is to make the brine which consists of adding ¼ cup of kosher salt to 1 quart of buttermilk. Obviously if you are doing more than about 2 lbs of wings, you’ll need to multiply the recipe accordingly.

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Pour the quart of buttermilk into a pitcher and add in ¼ cup of salt. Stir for about 20 seconds to make sure the salt is dissolved.

The buttermilk brine is now ready to use.

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Pour the brine into the bag with the marinated chicken making sure that all of the chicken is submerged in the brine.

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Place the bag of chicken into the fridge for another 2 hours to allow the buttermilk to tenderize the chicken while the salt in the buttermilk draws some of the liquid into the meat to help juice it up.

Step 3: Re-season Wings with Rub

After 2 hours of brining, remove the chicken wings from the fridge and pour them into a disposable aluminum pan for seasoning.

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The wings do NOT need to be rinsed off. The buttermilk and rub together adds a lot of flavor and because my rub is low on salt, the salt in the brining process is perfectly fine.

You will want to add more of the Jeff’s original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) to the chicken wings. Start by placing the wings in a single layer and reapplying the rub just like you did in the beginning.

This may seem like overkill but testing says it’s not. Trust me!

Add Jeff’s original rub to the top side..

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Flip all of the wings over and rub the other side as well..

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Leave the wings sitting for a few minutes while you get the smoker ready!

Step 4: Smoke the Chicken Wings

These smoked chicken wings are so easy and quick to make that you can do them indirect on the grill, or in an electric, charcoal, propane or wood smoker with excellent results.

Set up your smoker for cooking indirectly at about 250°F if possible. Lower temperatures will work if your smoker will not get up to 250°F as long as you know that it will take them a little longer to reach their finish temperature.

Note: Most smokers are designed to cook with indirect heat meaning the heat moves around the meat rather than directly onto the meat from below. An example of direct heat would be meat sitting on a grate with a burner directly below.

The higher temperature helps to get them done a little faster and because chicken handles higher temperatures very well.

I recommend using hickory on these or even mesquite if you want to. The short time in the smoker means you have limited time to get that smoke flavor applied and a bolder wood flavor works really well.

Place the chicken wings directly on the grate or you can use a rack like I did to make it easy to transport them to and from the smoker.

Lately I’ve been using a pan with a rack to aid in cleanup. Here’s the ones I use now.

You can expect the chicken wings to reach 165-170°F in about 1 hour but feel free to take them on up to about 185°F to help them tenderize even more. Be sure to use a good quality instant read thermometer such as the Thermapen to test the temperature and make sure all of them are perfectly and safely done.

Remember that it is absolutely impossible to ensure these wings are cooked to a safe temperature without a thermometer. I recommend purchasing a high quality thermometer— you, you family and your friends are worth it.

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Step 5: Sauce and Broil

Just before the wings are finished cooking, turn on the broiler in your oven so it’s ready to caramelize the sauce just as soon as they are finished in the smoker.

You will also need to get the sauce ready by mixing 2 parts Jeff’s barbecue sauce (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled sauce) with 1 part honey.

To make 1 cup of the honey barbecue sauce, mix 2/3 cup of Jeff’s barbecue sauce with 1/3 cup of honey.

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Bring the finished wings into the house and brush the sauce onto the top of the chicken wings as generously as you dare.

Place them under the broiler for about a minute or until the sauce starts to bubble furiously (WATCH THEM CAREFULLY).

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Remove them, flip them over, sauce the bottom side and broil that side for about a minute once again.

This is a quick process and SO worth it.

To answer the obvious question: yes you can certainly do this on a hot grill but, in my opinion, the broiler is a little more predictable.

Step 6: Watch them Disappear

Holler, “done!” and watch them evaporate from before your eyes ;-)

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Printable Recipe

Print

Honey Barbecue Smoked Chicken Wings

These smoked wings are brined in buttermilk to make them amazingly tender, marinated in my rub for amazing flavor and then finished with my very own sweet and spicy honey barbecue sauce.

  • Author: Jeff Phillips
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Hot Smoking

Ingredients

Units Scale

Instructions

Step 1: Marinate Chicken Wings

  1. Place a single layer of the wings in a disposable pan
  2. Drizzle with olive or vegetable oil and brush it on to coat all sides thoroughly.
  3. Sprinkle a generous amount of Jeff’s original rub onto the wings then flip them over and apply rub to the other side as well.
  4. Let the rub “settle in” and when it starts getting that wet look, place the wings in a ziptop bag.
  5. Place them in the fridge for 2 hours.

Step 2: Brine Wings with Buttermilk

  1. Make the brine: Pour the quart of buttermilk into a pitcher and add in ¼ cup of salt. Stir for about 20 seconds to make sure the salt is dissolved.
  2. Pour the brine into the bag with the marinated chicken making sure that all of the chicken is submerged in the brine.
  3. Place the bag of chicken back into the fridge for another 2 hours.

Step 3: Re-season Wings with Rub

  1. After 2 hours of brining, remove the chicken wings from the fridge and pour them into a disposable aluminum pan for seasoning.
  2. The wings do NOT need to be rinsed off. The buttermilk and rub together adds a lot of flavor and because my rub is low on salt, the salt in the brining process is perfectly fine.
  3. Add more rub to the chicken wings by placing the wings in a single layer and reapplying the rub just like you did in the beginning.
  4. Flip all of the wings over and rub the other side as well..
  5. Leave the wings sitting for a few minutes while you get the smoker ready!

Step 4: Smoke Chicken Wings

  1. Set up your smoker for cooking at about 250°F if possible. Lower temperatures will work if your smoker will not get up to 250°F as long as you know that it will take them a little longer to reach their finish temperature.
  2. I recommend using hickory on these or even mesquite if you want to.
  3. Place the chicken wings directly on the grate
  4. You can expect the chicken wings to reach 165-170°F in about 1 hour.
  5. Use a good quality instant read thermometer such as the Thermapen to test the temperature and make sure all of them are perfectly and safely done.

Step 5: Sauce and Broil

  1. Just before the wings are finished cooking, turn on the broiler in your oven so it’s ready to caramelize the sauce just as soon as they are finished in the smoker.
  2. You will also need to get the sauce ready by mixing 2 parts Jeff’s sauce with 1 part honey. To make a cup of the honey barbecue sauce, mix ⅔ cup of Jeff’s barbecue sauce with ⅓ cup of honey.
  3. Bring the finished wings into the house and brush the sauce onto the top of the chicken wings as generously as you dare.
  4. Place them under the broiler for about a minute or until the sauce starts to bubble furiously (WATCH THEM CAREFULLY).
  5. Remove them, flip them over, sauce the bottom side and broil that side for about a minute once again.

Step 6: Watch them Disappear

  1. Holler, “done!” and watch them evaporate from before your eyes

Keywords: Chicken Wings, Honey Barbecue

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18 Comments

  1. Jeff is a huge help for the people who are not seasoned around bbq. And even great for people who are. I have been following jeff’s cooking for years and he has never let me down i highly suggest to buy his bbq book it is one i live by for amazing bbq ideas. You will become a better cook just from reading and following his advice thanks jeff all my family and friends love the food!!

  2. Virtually the same result is obtained by using my air fryer. Tender, moist and finger lickin’ good. After crisping the wings….add the BBQ sauce, touch of soya and honey and set the fryer on 200 deg C and when it bubbles and looks ok, We can enjoy! I have the Milex Hurricane 11lt air fryer.

  3. can they sit in the brine overnight? Needing to take these to an event so need to make them first thing in the morning, but don’t want to get up at 2 to start the brine process

  4. It’s been 4 hours and these are not 165 yet. I timed the rest of dinner using the one hour cook time. I’m pretty upset and hungry. And now I have no Edible sides. Followed this recipe to the T.

    1. Sirious, I do understand how frustrating it can be when something does not go as you planned.. it’s happened to all of us at one time or another.

      If these have been cooking for more than an hour at 250 and they haven’t reached done temperature of 165, something is wrong somewhere. I would recommend you start by testing the actual temperature of your smoker/pit at grate level using an accurate oven thermometer. The pre-installed factory thermometers are often incorrect.

      I’d be interested to know what type of smoker you have and what your readings are when you test this. I’d also be happy to help you further with this so just keep me in the loop right here in the comments and it may be helpful to others as well that may be experiencing similar issues.

  5. Made these tonight. Good flavor. Pulled them from smoker at 165. I’ll go a little higher and maybe finish on the grill to crisp the skin first before saucing then.

  6. Looking to bring these to a Super Bowl party – what would be the best way to do that? Just finish the recipe completely and then toss them in a crockpot to keep warm?

  7. Made these plus a batch of your regular Smoked Chicken Wing recipe for a dinner and a movie party at our house. They went over like gangbusters. Several people said they had never had chicken wings as tender and flavorful as these.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Made this recipe with 5 lbs of wings today. The flavour was outstanding for only 1 hour in the smoker. I doubled the recipe of course but didn’t need to double the sauce recipe though since I made too much for the amount of wings I smoked … one cup of sauce was more than enough to coat all 5 lbs. I’ll be making this recipe again!

  9. Can you prepare these the night before? Example, you’re having a big cookout on Saturday. Friday night could you do the 2hr seasoning, then 2hr buttermilk, then the season again, after that cover them and let them sit overnight until you’re ready to cook on Saturday?

  10. Jeff,

    Are the recipes in your book different from the ones on your newsletters, or are there duplicates?
    Thanks!

  11. Looks great Jeff, love to try it out this weekend.
    I bought your book last week, and I must say, it’s a great book, but I was very disappointed when I noticed your Jeff’s Rub and Sauce recipe is missing. Or is it called by a different name?

    1. Erwin, The (2) recipes that I sell on the website and in the newsletter are not included in the book. We have opted to keep them separate since so many people have purchased them prior to the book being published. Let me know if you have further questions about this.

  12. just finished eating the honey glazed wings , there should be a law against a recipe that GREAT
    when a older couple like my wife and me can eat that many. they where GREAT,TENDER ,MOIST
    AWESOME !!!!!! used your rub and sauce. kept up the good work.
    thanks
    ed

  13. I am going to try this sounds really good everything I have got from you has been great. I do not pass this recipes on if they want them they can pay for them