Want to know my secret for making the best Smoked Chicken Wings every time? Cover them in the best chicken wing seasoning, then cook them low and slow, and finish them over high heat. Using my tested and perfected method will give you flavorful, juicy, tender meat inside and crispy skin on the outside every time!

smoked chicken wings tossed in buffalo sauce on plate

Out of all of the different ways to cook chicken wings, on the smoker is one of my favorites! The meat inside of the chicken wing is juicy and tender, while the outside has a delicious, smoky flavor. And we can’t forget the crispy skin, achieved by either reverse-searing the wings over high heat on the smoker, or finishing them in the oven or air fryer.

But what’s the real secret to my smoked chicken wings? Using this chicken wing seasoning as a dry rub. It’s seriously a game changer when it comes to making wings! It’s smoky, spicy and so flavorful!

Crazy enough for someone that’s been called “the queen of buffalo sauce”, I don’t always serve these wings tossed in sauce. The dry rub is so good, these wings are perfect straight off the smoker. Of course, dipping them in buffalo sauce, ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing is never a bad idea!

This smoked chicken wing recipe is easy to make, incredibly flavorful and the perfect game day recipe, party snack or appetizer for your next bbq!

ingredients for grilled chicken wings on white wood board

Ingredients

  • Chicken wings – I recommend purchasing “party wings” which contain both the drumettes and the wingettes or “flats”, already separated. Otherwise, if you purchase whole chicken wings, you’ll have to separate the drummette, wingette and tips yourself. The wing tips are mostly cartilage, bone and skin, so you can either discard them, or toss them in the freezer to use for chicken stock at a later date.
  • Olive oil – or another neutral flavored oil, like canola, avocado or vegetable oil.
  • Chicken wing seasoning – the real star of the show is this seasoning blend. Made up of 6 simple spices that you probably already have in your pantry, including salt, chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder and garlic powder. You can adjust the amount of cayenne pepper in the seasoning mix, depending on which spice level you like your wings. It’s easy to mix up in 5 minutes and can be stored in the pantry for up to 6 months. Mix up a big batch, and you’ll have it on hand anytime you want wings!
  • Buffalo wing sauce – this ingredient is optional. Once the smoked wings are cooked, you can toss them in the sauce, or eat them straight from the smoker. The rub adds so much flavor, these wings are delicious dry or sauced. You can also serve the sauce on the side for dipping, instead of tossing the chicken wings in the sauce.

Instructions

I’ve included step by step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full detailed recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Dry the chicken wings. This step is super important to achieve a crispy skin on the outside of the wings. Wet wings will not crisp up. I like to lay the wings out in an even layer on paper towels, then use another paper towel to pat them completely dry.
  2. Season the wings. Place the dry chicken wings on a cutting board. Drizzle a light layer of olive oil over the chicken wings and rub the oil into the wings. Sprinkle the wings evenly with the chicken wing seasoning (click link for the recipe). Rub it onto all sides of the chicken wings until they’re fully covered in the seasoning.
  1. Smoke the chicken wings. Fill a smoker with hickory, mesquite or pecan pellets, or wood chips. Preheat the smoker to 225°F. Place the wings in an even layer on the grill grates in the smoker. Smoke the wings for 2 hours. By this time the wings should have reached an internal temperature of 165°F. If they’re slightly over 165, that’s fine. Any internal temp up to 180°F means the wings will still be juicy and tender when cooked low and slow on the smoker.
seasoned, smoked chicken wings in air fryer basket

Three ways to finish the wings for crispy skin

Because smoked chicken wings are cooked low and slow, the skin on the outside of the wings does not crisp up during the cooking time. Since we all want crispy wings, use one of these three simple methods to finish the wings for crispy skin!

  1. In the air fryer – if you have an air fryer, this is my favorite way to crisp up smoked chicken wings when they come off the smoker. It’s quick, easy and the result is perfect every time! Simply add the smoked chicken wings in a single layer to an air fryer basket. It’s important that each wing has space around it, so that the air can circulate around the wings and get them nice and crispy! Cook the wings for 3 minutes at 400°F. Flip the wings and cook for an additional 3 minutes at 400°F.
  2. In the oven – preheat the broiler in the oven to high. Arrange one rack in the oven about a third of the way from the top of the oven. Place the wings in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place the wings under the broiler for 2 minutes, flip and broil for another 2 minutes on the other side. Always watch food when it’s under the broiler in the oven to make sure that it does not burn.
  3. On the smoker – remove the wings from the smoker and cover loosely with foil. Turn the heat on the smoker up to 400°F. When the smoker has heated up, place the wings back on the smoker for 3-4 minutes per side to crisp up the skin.

You can also deep fry, pan fry or grill the wings to finish them. If deep frying the wings, I recommend cooking them for 3-4 minutes in a deep fryer. If pan frying them, I recommend cooking them for 2-3 minutes per side, over medium-high heat on the stove.

To grill the wings, I recommend heating a grill to medium-high heat, around 400°F, then grilling the wings for 3 minutes per side.

How to serve the wings

After you’ve smoked the wings and crisped up the skin, you can either toss them with sauce or serve them with sauce on the side for dipping.

If tossing them in your favorite wing sauce, like buffalo sauce, add the wings to a large bowl, pour in the sauce and use tongs to toss the wings until they’re fully coated in the sauce. I recommend 1/4 cup sauce for 1 pound of wings. Make sure the sauce is room temperature or warm. If you toss the cooked wings in cold sauce, it will cool down the wings.

Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing as a dipping sauce. Or switch things up and try dipping them in this Roasted Garlic Dip (my favorite dipping sauce!) or Avocado Ranch Dressing. Carrots and celery sticks are always a welcome side to pair with wings, or you can make them part of an epic game day spread by serving them with any of these recipes!

cooked chicken wings tossed in buffalo sauce on plate

Recipe tips

  • For extra crispy wings, add 2 teaspoons cornstarch to the chicken wing seasoning before rubbing it on the wings.
  • Always make sure to pat the wings completely dry before tossing them with the olive oil and seasoning. This will ensure the skin crisps up nicely and you don’t end up with soggy wings.
  • If using frozen wings, make sure they’re fully defrosted before starting this recipe. I recommend defrosting them in the fridge for 24 hours. If you’re short on time, you can place the chicken wings in a sealed bag and into a bowl of cold water. And for the quickest method, defrost the chicken using the “defrost” method on your microwave.
  • Make sure the wings are not touching. If they wings are too close on the smoker, they won’t cook evenly.
  • Never toss wings with cold sauce. It will immediately cool down the wings. Either heat a sauce for 30 seconds in the microwave before tossing it with the wings, or let the sauce set out at room temperature for 30 minutes while smoking the wings.
  • To double this recipe, simply double the amount of wings, olive oil and seasoning to make 4 pounds of smoked chicken wings.
  • Store leftover smoked chicken wings in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat them in the air fryer at 400°F for 4 minutes. I recommend tossing reheated wings in buffalo sauce for maximum juicy, saucy flavor.
  • Feel free to toss the wings in any sauce. While I love buffalo sauce, other sauces like bbq sauce, your favorite hot sauce, this Buffalo Wild Wings copycat Garlic Parmesan Saucelemon pepper saucewhite bbq sauce, or my general tso’s sauce, are all perfect for tossing with wings!
smoked chicken wings tossed with buffalo sauce on plate

Dietary options

This recipe is dairy free and gluten free, using the ingredients shown above. Dip the wings in buffalo sauce or dairy-free avocado ranch to keep them dairy free.

This recipe is also low carb and keto-friendly. Each wing contains only .2 net carbs, making it the perfect keto snack or appetizer! If you’re watching your carbs and tossing the wings with a different sauce, be sure to check the carbs on the sauce.

Tools needed

cooked chicken wings tossed in sauce on plate

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smoked chicken wings on plate tossed with buffalo sauce
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Smoked Chicken Wings

Want to know my secret for making the best Smoked Chicken Wings every time? Cover them in the best chicken wing seasoning, then cook them low and slow, and finish them over high heat. Using my tested and perfected method will give you flavorful, juicy, tender meat inside and crispy skin on the outside every time!

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat a smoker to 225°F with hickory, mesquite or pecan pellets, or wood chips.
  • If the wings were frozen, make sure that they’re fully defrosted and pat them completely dry (this will help them get a crispy skin on the outside.)
  • Drizzle the olive oil evenly over the wings and rub the oil into the wings.
  • Sprinkle the chicken wing seasoning evenly over the wings, then rub it onto all sides of the wings.
  • Place the wings in an even layer on the grill grates in the smoker and smoke the wings for 2 hours.
  • Remove the wings from the smoker and finish them in the oven, in an air fryer or on the smoker at a higher temperature, to achieve a crispy skin on the outside

To finish the wings in an air fryer

  • Place them in an air fryer basket in an even layer. It’s very important that each wing has space around it, so that the air can circulate around the wings and get them crispy.
  • Cook the wings for 3 minutes at 400°F, flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes at 400°F.

To finish the wings in the oven

  • Preheat the broiler in the oven to high.
  • Arrange one rack in the oven about a third of the way from the top of the oven.
  • Place the wings in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Place the wings under the broiler for 2 minutes, flip and broil for another 2 minutes on the other side.

To finish the wings on the smoker

  • Remove the wings from the smoker and cover loosely with foil.
  • Turn the heat on the smoker up to 400°F.
  • When the smoker has heated up, place the wings back on the smoker for 3-4 minutes per side to crisp up the skin.

Serve the wings

  • Toss the wings with sauce, or serve the sauce on the side for dipping.
  • If tossing the wings in sauce, add the wings to a large bowl, pour in the sauce and use tongs to toss the wings until they’re fully coated in the sauce. Make sure the sauce is room temperature or warm. If you toss the cooked wings in cold sauce, it will cool down the wings.

Notes

  • For extra crispy wings, add 2 teaspoons cornstarch to the chicken wing seasoning before rubbing it on the wings.
  • Always make sure to pat the wings completely dry before tossing them with the olive oil and seasoning. This will ensure the skin crisps up nicely and you don’t end up with soggy wings.
  • Store leftover smoked chicken wings in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat them in the air fryer at 400°F for 4 minutes. I recommend tossing reheated wings in buffalo sauce for maximum juicy, saucy flavor.
  • Feel free to toss the wings in any sauce. While I love buffalo sauce, other sauces like bbq sauce, your favorite hot sauce, this Buffalo Wild Wings copycat Garlic Parmesan Saucelemon pepper saucewhite bbq sauce, or my general tso’s sauce, are all perfect for tossing with wings!
  • This recipe is dairy free and gluten free, using the ingredients shown above. Dip the wings in buffalo sauce or dairy-free avocado ranch to keep them dairy free.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 57kcal (3%)Carbohydrates 0.2gProtein 4g (8%)Fat 4g (6%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 16mg (5%)Sodium 168mg (7%)Potassium 34mg (1%)Vitamin A 39mg (1%)Vitamin C 0.2mgCalcium 6mg (1%)Iron 0.3mg (2%)
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