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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.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Hot Smoking
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 3 -4
Author Jeff Phillips


  • 3 + pounds of chicken wings
  • Franks original RedHot® sauce
  • Jeff’s original rub


Step 1: Marinate

  • Place the chicken wing sections into a large plastic or glass bowl.
  • Drizzle Franks original RedHot® sauce over the top of all the wings
  • Stir them around to fully coat.
  • Sprinkle Jeff's original rub onto the top of the wing sections (be generous).
  • 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.
  • 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.

Step 2: Set up Smoker

  • Set up your smoker for cooking at about 250°F.
  • 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.
  • Once the smoker is maintaining the proper temperature, you can proceed with the cooking process.

Step 3: Smoke Chicken Wings

  • If you used a Bradley rack, you can just place a pan/rack 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • You can use a different thermometer if you have one, just make sure it is accurate so you don't undercook the chicken.
  • When the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175°F, it is time to super heat and crisp the skin.

Step 4: Crisp Skin

  • This process can be done on the grill or under the oven broiler--
  • 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.
  • 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.