Smoked and Then Grilled Chicken Wings

November 18, 2009

I think I have about overdone it with my new homemade smoker.  Any time my wife mentions cooking I usually blurt out "why don't we smoke it?" before she can even finish her sentence.  She finally let me light the coals again this weekend while we were just sitting around watching football.  There's something about watching football that makes me crave grilled chicken wings,  so I thought I'd try smoking some wings this time.  I'm always looking for new items to center my next potluck sign up around for tailgating season, so I need to practice, right?  The only problem though is that smoked chicken usually has a nice soft skin.  Chicken wings on the other hand should have a crispy skin that can soak up all that delicious sauce (if you are in to that sort of thing).  Ah ha!  A perfect excuse to burn even more fuel, I'll fire up the grill and crisp up the skins once they have cooked on the smoker!  Overkill?  Nah, it's beautiful in Florida outside this time of the year, so why not extend my outdoor cooking duties?  Let's take a look at the process.

For smoking any kind of chicken, I like to make a quick dry rub.  A simple dry rub can be thrown together from stuff you should always have in your pantry anyway.  Experiment by adding your own favorite spices, but this one will get you a good tasty foundation:


Chicken wings

1 tablespoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

2 teaspoons Paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (start small and add more if you like spice)


1First step is to fire up the smoker and get the coals burning while we get everything else ready.  Fill up a chimney starter with coals and let them burn down until you see ash forming on the top coals.

2Once those have burned down, empty them into your smoker's fire basket, open the ventilation and close the lid so she can heat up.  The wings only need about 45 minutes to cook at around 300 degrees, so no need to add unlit coals for a longer burn.

3While the smoker is getting itself ready, throw together your rub and mix thoroughly.

4I like to cut off the actual wing part of the chicken wings.  This is the wing tip that has no meat on it, but they somehow always leave it on when butchering the chicken.  It's optional, but just takes up room on the smoker or grill.

5Rub your wings down with the rub, throw a handful of wood chips on the smoker then place the wings on your smoker's grate.

6Get your smoker at a stable 300 - 315 degrees and let them smoke for about 45 minutes.

7Once the wings have cooked on the smoker for 45 minutes, the meat should be cooked through.  Fire up your grill to medium.

smoking chicken wings

1Transfer your wings over to the grill and grill them for about 2 minutes per side.  This should be quick, we just want to crisp up the skin.  A little charring isn't bad, but watch those flare ups!

2Remove from the grill and either serve "dry" or toss them in your favorite wing sauce!

grill wings after smoking

Don't have any bottled wing sauce in your refrigerator?  It's really easy to make with stuff you can just have sitting around the house.  Here's a quick chicken wing sauce recipe:

Chicken Wing Sauce:
4 tablespoons Crystal or similar hot sauce (more to taste, depending on your preference for heat)
1 tablespoon white vinegar (increase a little if you add hot sauce)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly and that's it!  I preferred the wings dry in this case actually.  I dipped a few in the wing sauce, but they were awesome with just the dry rub.  The smoky flavor combined with the spices were just right for my tastes, but the sauce also mixed well with the delicious smokiness.


6 Reviews


October 5, 2018

This is a great recipe! I did it on my Weber charcoal grill, but am now thinking anout buying a smoker to enhance my setup. Thanks!

Derek SC

February 8, 2018

Great wings! Best part is no sugar added to the rub so if you are doing low carb they are perfect. Thanks for sharing. Works great on the Big Green Egg!


January 16, 2016

I think this will be my GameDay party favor for the Packer Cardinals game.


October 4, 2015

I have used this recipe well over 20 times now. I use it for boneless chicken thighs as well. I have tweaked it slightly over my tries. I do spicy Hungarian paprika, add a teaspoon of chili powder, teaspoon of ground chipotle, big pinch of red pepper flakes, and more cayenne. If you have a good spice shop by you, look for piri piri. I add about a half teaspoon of that. Thank you for the recipe along the way!


July 17, 2015

I am a great cook. But this is the best recipe ever for wings! Great Job! Thanks for sharing.


March 23, 2015

Wow, these are great!

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