These smoked wings are everything you’d want in a chicken wing: juicy flavorful meat, crispy crunchy skin plus the bold smokey flavor you can only get from a smoker. All with super quick and easy prep. If you’re looking for a new way to make chicken wings or just want to impress your guests at the next get-together you’re in the right place.
Following this super simple recipe will guarantee mouth-watering wings that will have your guests or even just your picky kids asking for more. Move over dino nuggets, there’s a new favorite chicken dinner at the table.
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The Easiest Smoked Chicken Wings Recipe
Chicken wings are an iconic appetizer that is hearty enough to be a main course meal. The secret to perfect chicken wings is the combo of tender, juicy meat, and crispy skin.
Plenty of easy chicken wings recipes for achieving that perfect tender/crunchy combo are out there. From air drying in the fridge to finish frying to coating with lard … the options are all pretty time or labor-intensive.
In my opinion, the best smoked chicken wings are the ones with the easy recipe. I want those savory crunchy juicy wings but I don’t want a ten-step process to get them right.
I’ve got an easy way to smoke chicken wings, with one simple secret ingredient and I’m ready to share it with you.
Wait for it….
It’s baking powder! A little dash of baking powder makes all the difference in getting that crunchy, crispy skin on your smoked wings, and it’s the most simple method out there!
Prep And Fire Up Your Smoker
Fire up your smoker to 200°F and round up your supplies. For this super simple recipe, we are using simple seasonings to showcase the chicken and smoke flavors so it’s important to choose your wood chips or pellets with intention. This is the time to think long and hard about your wood options.
I personally went with hickory to complement the bourbon BBQ sauce I’ll be slathering these with but you can go with apple, hickory, maple, or cherry wood when smoking chicken. All of the fruit tree woods pair well with poultry.
Prep and Season The Chicken
When shopping for your wings, choose high-quality, fresh options. We usually don’t buy our wings whole just to skip the breaking down step.
But if you do prefer whole wings, simply separate the portion of the wing cutting them between the joints with poultry shears. Toss the tips and carry on with the rest of this recipe with the drums and flats.
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Gently pat each wing dry with a paper towel. Be thorough on this step, the less moisture in the wings equates directly with the crispness of the first bite. This is the time to turn to your bulk mega three rolls in one paper towels.
Then toss the wings into a bowl to season. We both know these chicken wings are going to be drowned in sauce so we will keep the seasoning simple with salt, pepper, and our secret ingredient, baking powder.
ProTip: Double-check that you are using baking powder and not baking soda since the two are commonly confused!
Measure with your heart on the salt and pepper and keep it light with the baking powder. I used about one teaspoon for approx 2lbs of wings. You want enough baking powder to absorb all the moisture in the chicken skin but not so much that it creates a gritty texture.
Toss the wings and spices together in a bowl to coat evenly.
Smoke The Chicken Wings
When your smoker temperature is consistent and the smoke looks happy and wispy, toss the chicken wings on the grates and forget about them for the next hour or two.
Arrange the wings so that none are touching each other (unlike your kids in the backseat of the car). This will allow efficient airflow and even smoke distribution.
Wings are best when cooked a bit hotter to an internal temp of 175°F, instead of the recommended 165°F typical of poultry. The hotter temp allows more breaking down of the connective tissue in wings, tenderizing otherwise tougher portions.
Due to the high-fat content, the wings will stay juicy and moist even when cooked a bit longer.
You can flip the wings at the halfway point, but I didn’t — and I have no regrets. Opening the smoker too often is a common mistake that will literally pull flavor from your meat. Every time you open the smoker door, the smoke, heat, — and flavor escape.
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Crisp That Chicken Wing Skin
The wings will be cooked through at this point and totally safe to eat, but I love that extra crispy crunch.
This step is optional (the die-hard crispy chicken wing lovers may disagree). Once the internal temperature of the center/thickest part of the wings reaches 170°F crank your smoker up to 400-425°F for five to ten minutes to crisp the skin.
Then remove from the smoker properly so you don’t cross the line between crispy and dried out!
Sauce The Wings
While my wings were smoking, I made a DIY bourbon BBQ sauce so it was nice and hot, but if you are grabbing a sauce from the fridge consider warming it up before tossing your wings. A cold sauce may soften the skin and take that crispy aspect away from your wings experience.
This is by far the easiest and quickest chicken wings recipe I’ve ever made. This is easy enough to work for a weeknight dinner and so good it would impress a crowd on game day.
These smoked chicken wings are one of my favorites but definitely try out smoked chicken thighs, smoked chicken breasts, and smoked chicken legs. You can’t go wrong with any of these quick chicken smoker recipes. You’ll be the smoked chicken king!
Not sure which BBQ sauce to use? Check out our guide to the best BBQ sauces here.
Quick & Easy Smoked Chicken Wings Recipe
- 2 lbs Chicken Wings High-Quality
- 2 tbsp Salt To Taste
- 2 tbsp Black Pepper To Taste
- 1 cup BBQ Sauce Your Favorite
- 1/2 cup Baking Powder
- Add your pellets or wood chips and preheat your smoker to 200°F.
- Thoroughly dry each wing with a paper towel to remove as much moisture from the skin as possible.2 lbs Chicken Wings
- Season the wings with salt, pepper, and a bit of baking powder. Be sure to use baking powder and not baking soda! The baking powder will help pull more moisture from the skin to get that extra-crispy exterior.2 tbsp Salt, 2 tbsp Black Pepper, 1/2 cup Baking Powder
- Place the seasoned wings directly on the smoker grates, and position them so that none of the wings are touching each other for ideal airflow.
- Position your thermometer probes, close the lid, and smoke for about 1.5-2 hours or until the internal temperature of the center/thickest part of the wings reaches 160°F.
- Crank your smoker up to 400-425°F for the last 5-10 minutes to sear the wings to get extra crispy skin. If you are skipping the searing step, be sure your chicken reaches 165°F.
- Remove the chicken from the smoker. Allow them to rest.
- Warm up your BBQ sauce to prevent cold sauce from softening the skin.1 cup BBQ Sauce
- Toss wings with your favorite BBQ or wing sauce and enjoy!
How Long Does It Take To Smoke Chicken Wings At 225?
Smoked chicken wings typically need 1 ½ to 2 hours to reach the food-safe internal temperature of 165 degrees. A high-quality instant-read digital thermometer is your best friend when cooking poultry in any way!
Plan for an over/under of ten to twenty minutes in your smoking time to accommodate the common variables of smoking meats: the size of the wings, the type of smoker you have (electric smoker vs propane smoker vs pellet smoker), and whether the weather is cooperating or not.
Do You Put Water In The Smoker For Chicken Wings?
Yes! Adding water to your smoker’s drip pan will keep your chicken wing meat juicy and tender without impacting the crispy skin.
How Do You Get Crispy Skin On Smoked Wings?
The easiest way to get crispy smoked chicken wings is to remove as much of the moisture from the skin as possible. Taking the time to thoroughly dry off each wing with paper towels will pay off with incredible crispy-skinned chicken wings.
Take it another step and add a bit of baking powder when you season the wings to pull out the maximum amount of moisture for the crispiest chicken wings.
What Wood Is Best For Smoking Wings?
Fruit woods are always the first choice to pair with poultry. Apple and cherry will both give a complementary sweet flavor while mesquite and oak will give a stronger smoke flavor.
If you want to learn more, check out our guide about the best wood for smoking chicken here.