Ever since I was a kid, I've been hooked on the flavor of grilled chicken wings and they have always been one of my favorite ways to cook chicken. Smoking the chicken is a great way to add even more flavor to this old favorite. Even if you do not own a smoker, you can still smoke like a pitmaster using your grill - and it's easier than you think!
1tablespoonseasoned salt(we use a spicy creole blend)
5poundschicken wings, rinsed and dried
1/4cuphoney [See Note 2]
3/4cupSweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce(like Newman's Own)
3tablespoonsapple cider vinegar
1handful of Apple Wood Smoking chips [See Note 3]
Mix together the pepper, onion powder, chili powder, garlic powder, and seasoned salt in a small bowl. Place half the chicken wings in a large zip-top bag. Pour in 1/2 the dry rub and shake to coat the wings well. Repeat with the second half of the wings. Allow the wings to marinade for at least 30 minutes at room temperature or up to overnight in the refrigerator. If you marinade overnight, bring the wings to room temperature for 30-minutes before putting on the grill. This allows the meat to cook evenly.
For the Gas Grill: Light the gas grill to medium-high heat to warm the grill. When the grill is hot, turn down the heat to medium-low or low heat to sustain a grill temperature of 215 degrees F. Shut off the gas to the area(s) of the grill where the chicken will be placed in order to cook using indirect heat. Place the wings on the grill on the side away from the heat source. On the other side of the grill, place the smoking chips. If you think they may catch fire, make a foil packet around the chips and poke holes in the top for the smoke to escape. When the wood is lit and producing smoke, place the wings on the indirect heat (off) side of the grill, not over the flame, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Turn the wings and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes.
For the Charcoal Grill: Light a chimney 3/4 full of charcoal. When charcoal is fully lit and covered in gray ash, pour coals out and arrange them on either side of the charcoal grate, keeping the middle empty. Add smoking chips to both piles of charcoal. When the wood is lit and producing smoke, place the wings in the middle of the grill, not over the coals, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Turn the wings and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes.
While the wings are cooking, mix the honey, barbecue sauce, and apple cider vinegar together in a small bowl. With a BBQ mop, pastry brush, or large spoon baste the chicken with barbecue sauce. Turn the chicken over and repeat to sauce both sides of the chicken. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes, until the glaze becomes sticky and caramelized. Remove from the grill and either keep warm in a low oven [See Note 4] or serve immediately.
Adjust the pepper to your personal spice level. It's the ground black pepper that gives these wings their heat.
You can omit the honey or substitute with another sweetener like brown sugar, agave, or even maple syrup.
For a more robust smoky flavor, use hickory or mesquite smoking chips. See guidelines in recipe post to chose your flavor profile.
Cooking for a crowd? Grill them up before the party and keep them hot in a low oven - 175 degrees F will keep them warm without drying them out. If left for a long period of time in the oven (several hours) they will dry out, however.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is sourced from the USDA Food Database.