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Smoked Chicken Wings with Franks RedHot®

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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 and you are going to love them!

Helpful Information
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Marinate Time: 4 hours
  • Cook time: 1.5 hours
  • Smoker temperature: 250°F
  • Meat finish temperature: 175°F
  • Recommended wood: Pecan
What You’ll Need
Step 1: Marinate

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

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Get some Franks original RedHot® 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 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.

This is a great recipe for almost any smoker or grill as long as you can maintain the correct smoking temperature and provide some smoke.

I particularly enjoy using the Camp Chef Woodwind as it has some extra features that many of the others at the same price point do not have such as easy ash cleanout and hopper cleanout chute.

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 pan/rack, you can just place it 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 175°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.

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Step 4: Crisp Skin

This process can be done on the grill, the sear box –if you have the Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill like I do– or under the oven broiler.

If you are using the broiler feature on your home oven, 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 a great flavor for 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 175°F once they go under the broiler?

That is possible although they will cool down some between the smoker and the broiler. This is 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.

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

Print

Smoked Chicken Wings

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: Jeff Phillips
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 3 -4 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Cuisine: Hot Smoking

Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

Step 1: Marinate

  1. Place the chicken wing sections into a large plastic or glass bowl.
  2. Drizzle Franks original RedHot® sauce over the top of all the wings
  3. Stir them around to fully coat.
  4. Sprinkle Jeff's original 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 a pan/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 175°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.

Electric (or Gas) broiler at top of oven:

  1. Place the pan about 10-12 inches under the broiler.
  2. 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.
  3. Flip the chicken pieces over and do the same on the other side.

Gas broiler in a drawer under the oven:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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20 Comments

  1. It it possible I’m having to have longer cook times since I use a pan w/ raised grate? I have space around all wings and they are raised above the lip of pan. Pitboss Smoker is set at 250°, but after 2 hours and 30 minutes the quick thermometer is only reading the wings at 235° . Thanks for all of your top notch recipes!!

  2. We follow this recipe but use the cooking instructions from your Fired Up Wings. We use the “Pain is Good” Habenero Hot Sauce, and these are some of the best wings we have ever had. We also like to use drumsticks for fried chicken, they seem to be easier to get the internal temps correct.
    Thank you.

  3. Just smoked wings using Frank’s red hot Buffalo wing sauce and Jeff’s rub. One and a half hours at 250. Didn’t even need the extra crisping. Best wings my wife and I have ever tasted.

    1. I have done these a variety of ways including the searbox. You certainly can do that if you want to but just be sure to watch them closely so they don’t burn.

  4. Looking for something to bring to a potluck at work. These wings look simple and amazing and I’ve made many of your recipes and love your original rub and bbq sauce. Just an FYI, adding a STRONG cup of coffee to your bbq sauce evens out the sweetness a bit. Anywho, how do you think these would be if I smoked them on a Sunday and put them in a crockpot Monday at work? Could you reply to my email address if you get this vs. answering on this recipe?

    1. The wings would taste great and they aren’t prone to drying out in that manner but the skin would probably not have as good of a bite-through after resting in the fridge and then going into a crockpot. This would not be a deal breaker for me but worth mentioning.

      I appreciate the feedback on adding coffee to the barbecue sauce.. will have to give that a try soon!

      I will send this to you via email as well per your request.

    1. 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.

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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