Smoked Chicken Wings – Perfect for Tailgating
When I think of chicken wings, I think of a stadium parking lot full of fans getting ready for a football game. They’re consuming plenty of beer and DELICIOUS food. I’m talking about grilled hot dogs, brats, and hamburgers. Nachos piled high with all the fixings, and of course, Crispy Smoked Chicken Wings!
Some people like their wings battered and fried, and covered in a thick sauce. Others like them simple, with just a few ingredients. When they’re ready to eat, we dip them in blue cheese or ranch. Sometimes we just eat them plain!
The Perfect Chicken Wing
For me, the definition of a perfect wing is one that has a great taste, that builds with each bite. There should be a little bit of a kick on the backend too. The skin should be crispy, and the meat should come off the bone clean with each bite. These chicken wings fit that bill!
I’ve made these crispy chicken wings for friends, family, and football game watch parties. You name it, they are ALWAYS a hit.
Crispy Smoked Chicken Wings
Smoked Chicken Wings are easy to make. First, I start off by brining my wings in an IPA overnight. I made these a few weeks ago using a huckleberry IPA and the flavor they took on was fantastic!
In addition to the 12-ounce beer bath, I add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of salt.
Chicken Wing Prep Work
When you’re ready to start smoking your chicken wings, remove them from the brine, and pat dry. I always buy my wings whole and brine the whole wings.
After you pat them dry, cut them into three sections, the tips, the wing, and the mini drum. It’s easy to cut these if you lay the “meat” side down and then push the blade of your knife through the two joints. After you do a few, you’ll get the hang of it.
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The Secret to Crispy Smoked Chicken Wing Skin
Once the wings are partitioned, and dry, throw the wings and drums into a gallon ziplock along. Add a tablespoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Seal the bag and flip it a few times to get all of the wings coated and then throw them in your smoker at 180 degrees.
How to Smoke Chicken Wings
Let the wings smoke for an hour at 180.
While the chicken wings are smoking combine 4 tablespoons of butter, a cup of red-hot, and 12 ounces of beer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Let the sauce simmer until it has reduced by half.
Looking for more simple and delicious recipes? Check out my Shredded Beef Tacos!
Once the wings have smoked for an hour remove them from the smoker and adjust the temperature to 400 degrees.
While the smoker is coming up to temp toss the wings in your red-hot sauce and then throw them back on the smoker. Let them cook until the internal temp hits 165 degrees (10-15 minutes). Spot check two or three wings to make sure they’re done.
Know Your Temps!
Before you pull the wings, check the internal temperature of a few of the wings using an instant-read thermometer. Chicken needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees! Don’t risk it or think you’re too cool to check temps. It’s the right thing to do!
I have a Thermapen MK4 that I use to check the internal temperature for all of my cooks and I love it!
I’ve tried quite a few instant-read thermometers and I like the Thermapen because of it’s fast readout. It’s calibrated for 99.9% accuracy. Plus, the backlit display rotates so you can read it at any angle!
Do your self a favor and invest in one of these bad boys so you don’t leave meat temps to question.
The Best Chicken Wings You’ll Ever Make
I’ve made these crispy smoked chicken wings several times now. The more people I introduce them to, the more they get requested. In fact, for this year’s Super Bowl party I cooked 8 pounds worth of wings and they were all gone within minutes.
This is a simple smoked chicken wing recipe that everyone will love! If the red-hot scares you, you can make a similar sauce combining the butter with a traditional bbq sauce too. Another option is to add a few tablespoons of brown sugar to the sauce to sweeten it up.
If you end up making this recipe, let me know! I love hearing about your cooks and if these aren’t the best wings you’ve ever made, send me an email. I want to hear about it.
Smoked Chicken Wings
- 2 lbs chicken wings
- 2 tbsp Salt
- 4 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 2 tbsp Corn Starch
- 4 tbsp Butter
- 1 Cup Franks Red Hot
- 20 ounces Beer - IPA or Stout is best The Secret Ingredient!
- 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper optional
- In a large ziplock bag combine the chicken wings, 1 Tablespoon of salt, 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar, and the cayenne pepper. Here's where we add the secret ingredient that makes all of the difference The BEER. SLOWLY pour the beer into the bag. Be careful here... If you pour too fast you'll foam over and make a mess.
- Seal the ziplock and then drink the remaining 4 ounces of beer. Place the bag full of wings in your fridge, and let sit a minimum of 3 hours. You'll get better results if you let them sit for a day.
- When you're ready to cook, get your grill up to a temp of about 180 degrees. Pull your wings out of the fridge, drain the bag, and then pat all of your wings dry. Put all of the wings in a large ziplock, and then add 1 Tablespoon of salt, 2 Tablespoons of Corn Starch and 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar.
- Toss the wings until they're all evenly coated, and then place them in the smoker.
- After about 30 minutes of smoking the wings it's time to start making the sauce. Combine 1 cup of Red Hot, 12 ounces of beer and 4 Tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. You can also add another Tablespoon of Brown Sugar here if you want... let the sauce simmer until it has reduced by half
- After an hour of smoking pull your wings from the grill, and place in a large bowl. Crank your grill up to high (400+ degrees). Pour your sauce over all of the wings.
- Use your tongs to make sure all of the wings are coated in sauce, and then place each of the wings back on the grill for 10-15 minutes. This will crisp up the skin, and lock in all that delicious flavor!!
- Now it's showtime! Pull the wings from the grill, serve with your favorite dipping sauce, and get out of the way, the whole football team will want to try them...