Fired Up Smoked Chicken Wings – Near Perfect Skin

/, Newsletter Archive, Poultry/Fired Up Smoked Chicken Wings – Near Perfect Skin

Fired Up Smoked Chicken Wings – Near Perfect Skin

Smoked chicken wings are always a great idea no matter what the occasion is and with these I just decided to go back to the drawing board and showcase the importance of brining poultry and using a world class rub on them to bring out the perfection that these morsels of goodness can be.

The main issue that most people run into with all chicken really is the skin.. in a smoker it just doesn't get crisp and never will have that fried crispiness that many of us enjoy. The next best thing is to try for a good bite through which isn't crispy but is in no way rubbery or difficult to eat.

This is the great thing about pellet smokers such as the Woodwind SG by Campchef, you can start them out low and slow to get a ton of great smoke flavor and then with the flip of a button, crank it up to upwards of 400°F before you can say, “jackrabbit”.

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Brine Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Smoker Temp: 180°F then 350-400°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 180°F
  • Recommended Wood: Pecan
What You'll Need

*These are recipes which you can download and print. This allows you to make the rubs and or barbecue sauce yourself

Step 1: Brine

As with all poultry, I highly recommend giving it a soak in salty water. This allows some of the salt and water to get inside of the meat and through the miracle of science, this salty water gets trapped inside of the muscle fibers.

Since we know that all meat loses some water during cooking, this means even if the meat loses some water, it now has extra so it will end up juicier than it would have otherwise. And, it's got a little salt on the inside as well to bring out some of that natural flavor.

The perfect ratio of salt to water is 1 cup of coarse kosher salt to 1 gallon of cold water. I also add a cup of brown sugar for some extra flavor but know that you don't have to do this if you are trying to cut back on your sugar intake.

Add 1 gallon of cold water to a gallon sized tea pitcher then pour in 1 cup of coarse kosher salt and 1 cup of dark brown sugar.

Mix until the water is amber and clear enough to see to the bottom. This means the ingredients have dissolved.

Place the chicken wings into a large bowl and pour the brine over them to cover.

If you have a lid, cover it up and place the bowl into the fridge for 3 hours to let the magic happen.

At the end of 3 hours, remove the chicken wings from the fridge, discard the brine and rinse the wings one time in cold water.

They are now ready for the rub.

Step 2: Add Rub & Shake

Make sure the chicken wings are fairly dry by patting them with paper towels.

In the same or similar container as you used for brining, add about 1 cup of Jeff's original rub** on top of the chicken wings and, if you have a tight lid, attach it and shake the container of rub and wings to evenly coat the meat.

You can also do this in a large ziptop bag if that is easier.

I sometimes add more rub if I feel like it needs better coverage but that's up to you.

The wings, now well coated with Jeff's original rub, are ready for the smoker.

**Make the rub yourself using my recipe or purchase “already made” rub in a bottle

Step 3: Smoke Time

Set up your smoker for cooking at about 180°F if you are using a pellet smoker or 200-225°F if you are using a different type of smoker such as charcoal or electric or gas, using indirect heat.

If you have a water pan, leave it dry as this hinders the outside of the skin from cooking properly.

Lay the wings on the smoker grate making sure to leave a little space between them to allow the smoke and heat to flow more easily around them.

Let the chicken wings smoke cook for about 45 to 60 minutes.

Step 4: Crank Up the Heat

If you are using a pellet smoker such as the Woodwind or Woodwind SG by Campchef, crank up the heat to about 350-400°F. If you have another type of smoker and can get up to 350°F or higher then do so. Otherwise, it is preferable to move the wings quickly to the grill and finish them there watching them carefully so they do not burn.

You can also just leave them on the smoker at it's highest setting and leave them there until they reach 180°F as measures by a tried and true digital meat thermometer such as the thermapen or thermopop.

You can also do these in the oven but you'd want to lay them on a large flat pan such as a cookie sheet so as to prevent a mess in the bottom of the oven.

Regardless of how you proceed within the realms of your equipment, let the wings cook until they read 180°F in the thickest part of the meat.

I did mine on the Woodwind SG by Campchef and it took about 30 minutes to bring them up to temperature once I fired up the smoker to High. There was a lot of wind and the smoker hovered around 350-375°F.

Step 5: Finish Up & Serve

When the chicken wings are done, remove them to a pan and let them rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Step 6: Forget the Ranch and Serve the Celery with Campfire Sauce

It seems that ranch dressing is what most people dip their celery in but I am here to tell you that the campfire sauce I made for those pork butt sliders I did a while back is heavenly when you dip your celery in it.

CampFire Sauce

Mix equal parts Jeff's barbecue sauce*** with mayonnaise and mix well. I used ½ cup of each for this batch but you can make as much as you need and it also refrigerates well if you make extra.

***Make the sauce yourself* using my recipe or purchase “already made” sauce in a bottle

Notes & Comments

Why cook the chicken wings to 180°F when you are constantly saying that poultry is done and safe to eat at 165°F? Well, that's a great question! Wings have a lot of fat and connective tissues and while they are done and safe to eat at 165°F, I find that they are more tender when cooked to a higher internal temperature.

Get the Digital Recipes for Jeff's Rub and Sauce
**Instant Download!**
Jeff's Original Rub Recipe
Jeff's Barbecue Sauce

***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.

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.

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.

You see the raving testimonies and you wonder, “Can the recipes really be that good?”

No worries! Make up a batch and if it's not as good as you've heard.. simply ask for a refund. Now that's a bargain and you know it. Let's review:

  • You decide you don't like the recipes.. you don't pay!
  • The recipes are absolutely amazing!
  • Once you order, there'll be no more recipe ads in the email version of the newsletter

Well.. what are you waiting for.. click on the big orange button below to order the recipes now.

Order Jeff's Rub Recipe n' Sauce Recipe
I really, really appreciate the support from my newsletter friends and be sure to let me know if you have any questions about this.
Jeff's Smoking Meat Book
Smoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue

The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

With more than 800 reviews on and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended.

It is a Bestseller in Barbecueing & Grilling books on Amazon.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | German Edition

Digital versions available via Nook | iTunes | Kindle

Get Almost Anything at Amazon

If you enjoy the newsletter and would like to do something helpful, then..

The next time you decide to order something at, use THIS LINK to get there and we'll get a small commission off of what you purchase.

Thank you in advance for using our special link:

Printable Recipe

Fired Up Smoked Chicken Wings - Near Perfect Skin
Prep Time
3 hrs 10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
4 hrs 40 mins

Smoked chicken wings are always a great idea no matter what the occasion is and with these I just decided to go back to the drawing board and showcase the importance of brining poultry and using a world class rub on them to bring out the perfection that these morsels of goodness can be.

Course: Appetiser, Entree
Cuisine: Barbecue
What You'll Need
  1. Make a brine by mixing a gallon of cold water, 1 cup of kosher salt and 1 cup of brown sugar. Mix until dissolved.

  2. Place the chicken into a large plastic container and pour the brine over the chicken to cover. Place contain in the fridge for 3 hours. Rinse chicken with cold water when complete

  3. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and put back into brining container.

  4. Cover chicken with about 1 cup of Jeff's original rub and stir to coat or place lid on container and shake to coat.

  5. Setup smoker for cooking at about 180°F using indirect heat. If you have a water pan, leave it dry.

  6. Place chicken on smoker grate and smoke cook at 180°F for 45-60 minutes.

  7. Increase smoker temperature to 350-400°F if possible and continue cooking wings for about 30 minutes or until they reach 180°F in the thickest part.

Recipe Notes

Note: If your grill will not reach 350°F, you can continue cooking them at the highest temperature your smoker will obtain until they reach 180°F in the thickest part or you can finish them on the grill or in the oven.

2018-10-03T22:36:40+00:00 By |4 Comments

About the Author:

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


  1. Greg Dokus October 17, 2018 at 6:39 am - Reply

    Any reason to leave the wing tips on? Virtually no meat on them and less space in the smoker for meatier pieces.

  2. Nrat October 9, 2018 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    Made these for the OSU game and they were awesome. Smokey and crispy! Skipped the brine. Smoked in my electric smoker with hickory chips @225 for 1 hour. Then got out my air fryer and fried them @400 degrees for 8 minutes per side. Finally I dredged them in some bbq sauce, air fried 3 more minutes, and puttem back in the sauce to serve. Yum. Thanks!

  3. Greg S. October 7, 2018 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Made these tonight and they were awesome. Brined for 7 hours. Electric smoker @225 for 80 minutes with applewood. Put ’em on a hot grill for about 4-5 minutes a side. Hard to beat the crispy skin and super flavor! Jeff, your recipes are always spot on for me, and I use your original rub on pretty much everything that goes into the smoker.

  4. Noah Gentry October 4, 2018 at 9:03 pm - Reply


    Brine. 90 minutes at 220 smoke. Grill on flattop high… Real crisp/char.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe To Newsletter
Be the first to get latest recipes straight to your email inbox.
+ Free 37-page ebook on Smoking Meat Basics
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.
Use discount code SM25 for 25% off Jeff's rub n' sauce recipes
Download Now
%d bloggers like this: