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6 Finger-Licking Good Smoked Chicken Wing Recipes

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I know you think that getting your fix at a wing stop is much better than making smoked chicken wings at home, but I’m here to convince you otherwise. 

When you make wings at home, there are so many benefits you can enjoy, like:

  • Cost-effectiveness: After a few rounds, the prices of your chicken wings start to pile up. And you end up with receipts that are worth nearly a hundred dollars (if not more).
  • Ultimate customization: By making your own smoked wings, you can use whatever ingredients you like. Plus, you can find interesting recipes and recreate them at home!
  • Portion control: Let’s be real, some restaurants offer boxes with only a specific number of wings. Luckily, you have more control over portions at home.
  • Social bonding: This is one of the reasons why I love cooking in the kitchen. I can turn it into a fun activity with friends and family. Then, we end up telling stories, laughing, and just having a blast!

If these reasons don’t convince you to try making smoked chicken wings from scratch, I don’t know what will. 

And don’t even stress about finding the right recipes, because I have a top-notch list to get you started on the right foot!

1. Smoked Chicken Wings With Bourbon, Honey, and Molasses

There are different ways for you to smoke your chicken wings. You can either place your chicken in the smoker or slather it with spices.

Both of these methods get the job done — which is to give your chicken wings that sought-after smoky flavor. 

For this recipe, however, we’re not just choosing one between the two. We’re utilizing both methods to give you the ultimate smoked chicken wings recipe!

To get started, you’ll of course need four (or five) pounds of chicken wings or wingettes. Then you’ll need to get the ingredients for your BBQ sauce. 

These include a cup of store-bought BBQ sauce, a cup of tomato sauce or ketchup, a quarter cup of molasses, half a cup of bourbon, half a cup of honey, and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.

Moving on to the smoky rub, you’ll need a third cup of brown sugar, a tablespoon of kosher salt, ground coriander seeds, and smoked paprika, and one and a half teaspoons of ground cumin and dried thyme. 

Also, you’ll need half a teaspoon of allspice, ground ginger, and hot red pepper flakes, a three-fourths teaspoon of salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, and a pinch of dry mustard and garlic powder. 

It’s a lot, I know. But these are all the spices you need to really bring out the smoky flavor of your chicken!

Once you have everything you need, first make your BBQ sauce by bringing the necessary ingredients to a boil. After a few minutes, lower the heat to simmer, whisking constantly throughout.

When the consistency becomes lightly thickened (which should take around 30 minutes), remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for a bit. 

With your sauce cooling on the side, the next step is to make the rub, which is pretty simple: just mix ALL of the spices in a bowl until they come together.

At that point, you can toss your wingettes in the same bowl as your rub and seal it with cling wrap. Pop it in the fridge for four hours (or overnight for the best results). 

When it’s time to cook, just place your wings directly onto your grates and let them smoke for about an hour or two on low heat. 

During the final five minutes, grab your homemade BBQ sauce and brush it all around your wings. 

This has everything you want in a smoked chicken wing: smokiness, a ton of spice, a hint of sweetness, and just the right amount of char!

To get the flavors perfectly, here’s a little pro tip I learned: if you’re not sure which wood to use, I suggest sticking to mild woods like apple and cherry. 

Using strong woods like mesquite or hickory may overwhelm the meat and make your wings taste bitter.

2. Cranberry-Glazed Smoked Chicken Wings

Truth be told, I can only take so much smoky flavor. At a certain point, it becomes too overpowering for my palate, so I start looking for a different taste. 

That’s where these cranberry-glazed smoked chicken wings come in handy. While they still have some hints of smokiness, the tartness and zestiness make up for it tenfold.

If you want to try this recipe, you’ll need two pounds of chicken wings, a can of jellied cranberry sauce, half a cup of mesquite smoked marinade (or hickory smoke BBQ sauce), and a third cup of chopped onion. 

Start by mixing your cranberry sauce, smoked marinade, and chopped onion. Then, toss in your chicken wings to coat for a few hours. Two to three hours is a good timeframe, but you can leave it longer if you want.

While your chicken’s marinating, heat up your grill and line it with aluminum foil or parchment paper. 

Once your grill is all fired up, cook your chicken for about 50 minutes to an hour. During the final 10 minutes, just let your chicken do its thing while you whip up the glaze.

So, grab a saucepan and throw your leftover marinade inside. Let the mixture boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. 

Three or four minutes later, you should have a thick sauce that you can brush onto your chicken to give it a nice, glossy glaze.

3. Smoked Cajun Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

Since we’re on the subject of making zesty yet smoky chicken wings, you have to give this smoked Cajun lemon pepper chicken wings a try. 

It has the flavors of your traditional chicken wings but with the additional kick of spice and acidity. It’s one of my favorite wing recipes, and I will always make it whenever I get the chance. 

To get started, grab four pounds of whole chicken wings, two tablespoons of vegetable oil, three teaspoons of Cajun seasoning, and one and a quarter teaspoons of garlic powder.

Then, for that acidic zing, you’re going to need a teaspoon of grated lemon zest, plus two tablespoons of lemon juice. 

Once your ingredients are laid out, get your chicken wings and toss them in a bowl with vegetable oil, two tablespoons of Cajun seasoning, a teaspoon of garlic powder, salt, and a few grinds of pepper. 

Let the chicken coat for a few minutes as you prep your grill. So, turn up the heat and brush the grates with vegetable oil. 

After that, place your chicken wings on top and close the lid. Place your wood chips in the designated box and let the smoke work its magic.

Leave your wings to cook for about an hour to an hour and a half before taking them out. Be sure to flip them halfway through so you can ensure that all sides of your wings are cooked through.

While your chicken’s on the grill, make your chicken sauce: stir your lemon zest and juice with your remaining Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

By this time, your wings should be ready. As such, carefully transfer them to your lemon-pepper mixture to coat them completely. 

Alternatively, you can also plate your chicken and just drizzle your mixture on top — whatever works for you.

I can never have enough of the lemon and pepper combination. It’s bright, fragrant, and incredibly addictive, so be sure to add this to your list of recipes to try.

5. Spicy Peanut Butter Smoked Chicken Wings

If you’re not a huge fan of acidity, I’ve got a killer recipe for a sweet and spicy combo that might be more your speed.

This spicy peanut butter smoked chicken wings has a lot of Thai inspiration. And before you say anything — no, it doesn’t taste like your regular peanut butter on chicken.

I’ll share with you a special Thai-style peanut sauce that has not just sweet hints but also spicy and savory notes that make this such a killer dish!

For starters, you’ll need two pounds of chicken wings (both drums and flats), three heaping tablespoons of peanut butter, and three teaspoons of soy sauce and sugar (or honey, if you prefer).

You’ll also need one and a half tablespoons of white vinegar, half a teaspoon of ground ginger, plus sriracha, black pepper, and salt to taste. 

After gathering your ingredients, take your chicken wings out of the packaging and pat them dry. 

Transfer your wings to an aluminum foil pan and season them with your salt, pepper, and olive oil. You can use your hands or a spoon to toss your wings to coat. 

Once they’re ready, place your pan on the grill to smoke for about an hour.

In the meantime, prepare your peanut sauce by whisking together your peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, ground ginger, and sriracha until they make one cohesive mixture.

Remove the chicken wings from the heat and place them in a big bowl. Pour some of your special homemade peanut sauce over them and mix well. 

Finally, add a garnish of chopped green onions, and they’re ready to eat!

I could never find this flavor in most of the chicken stops I go to, so when I first made it at home, it became an instant favorite.

6. Pickleback Chicken Wings

If you’ve been snacking on pickles for the whole week and don’t know what to do with your leftover juice, I have just the thing for you. 

Some people like to drink pickle juice because (1) it’s a solid alternative to sports drinks and can help ease muscle soreness, and (2) it’s a fantastic cocktail ingredient, especially for Bloody Marys. 

And that’s not all. You can also soak your chicken wings in pickle juice to make ’em more tender, juicy, and packed with flavor!

For this recipe, you’ll need three pounds of chicken wings, one cup of pickle juice, two tablespoons of bourbon (I like either Jim Beam or Maker’s Mark), honey, and one tablespoon of brown sugar. 

On top of those, you’ll need half a teaspoon each of onion powder and paprika, a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper, some salt and pepper, plus chopped dill, sliced pickles, and ranch for the toppings.

First things first, brine your chicken wings and let them marinate in the fridge for one to four hours. To get the best results, be sure to pat your wings super dry before submerging them in pickle juice. 

The next step is to whisk your bourbon, honey, brown sugar, and spices in a bowl before tossing in your brined chicken. 

After a couple of minutes, pop your chicken on your preheated grill and use indirect heat to cook your meat. 

50 minutes to an hour later, take your chicken out and you should end up with extra crispy (yet tender) chicken wings that are to die for!

You can serve it as is. Or you can do what I do: I like to add chopped dill and sliced pickles on top. Then, I serve the wings with my go-to ranch dressing on the side.

Believe it or not, that’s all it takes to make smoked chicken wings that any pickle lover will want to get their hands on!

Time To Dig Into Those Delicious, Smoky, and Satisfying Wings!

The next time you crave chicken wings, don’t immediately pick up your phone to order. Instead, stop and think for a beat — because maybe you’re better off making them at home.

Think about it: You can make tons of smoked chicken wing recipes that you probably won’t find in most wing stops.

So, start making your own smoked wings at home, and stop ordering takeouts!

Sofia Exconde Avatar

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