One of our very favorite things to make for a party or get-together is Smoked Chicken Wings. After being in the smoker, they are not only extremely flavorful, but the meat literally falls off of the bone.
Smoking Frozen Chicken Wings
A plate of smoked chicken wings ready to be eaten! In fact, they have become a crowd favorite among our family and friends Smoked frozen chicken wings.
Every time that we host a backyard barbecue, tailgate party, or just an impromptu gathering of friends, we always get asked if we will be making our famous smoked chicken wings. And although it does take a little time to make them, it is well worth it!
How To Use a Smoker
Smokers work by circulating low heat through a smoking chamber, consistently. This slowly cooks your meat for ultimate tenderness and unbelievable smoky flavor. Every smoker is different so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembly and setup, as well as instructions on how to cook your meat Smoked frozen chicken wings. You can use a variety of different wood (or wood pellets) to change up the flavors. Beginners MUST try my Smoked Pork Butt recipe.
I have had a variety of smokers throughout the years, but my current “toy” is this Traeger Wood-Fired Pellet Grill. I like it because it’s super easy to clean. I know that sounds silly, but previous smokers I owned were not so easy to keep clean and therefore broke down quicker. The reluctance to go through the required cleaning process shortened the life of the grill for sure. The Traeger of course has so many other amazing features and smokes my meat to perfection every time. Plus, it’s super fun to see everything on the app.
Can You Smoke Frozen Chicken Wings
Smoking chicken wings in a frozen state is technically harmless, but it does present a couple of problems. First of all, the meat will take longer to cook if you don’t defrost it. Smoked frozen chicken wings won’t be as flavorful, since the frozen exterior will have a hard time absorbing the smoke.
The Keys To Smoking Chicken Wings
However, there are a few tips that will help make them perfect.
First of all, you must start with thawed-out chicken wings. If your wings are frozen, the smoke will not be able to penetrate through the skin as well.
Also, if you put the wings in the smoker frozen, the cooking times required for the wings to reach a safe temperature will vary widely Smoked frozen chicken wings.
You must start out with thawed chicken to get the best-smoked wings.
Some wings will get done before others and you will be spending all of your time checking every wing with a digital thermometer. And that may take all afternoon.
It just isn’t worth the hassle! Simply make sure that your wings are thawed out before getting them ready to head into the smoker.
Dry Rub Ingredients
Whether you chose to brush your wings in your favorite barbecue sauce or not, you will want to add a light dry rub mixture to your wings.
The addition of the seasonings adds great flavor to the skin of your wings and allows them to crisp up beautifully.
The dry rub mixture that is used in this recipe is our standard, go-to dry rub that we use for various recipes. In fact, we will quadruple the ingredients and store the remainder in a sealed mason jar.
Sprinkle the dry rub on both sides of the wings and let them sit before adding them to the smoker.
That way it is ready with Smoked frozen chicken wings to use at a moment’s notice.
We use it not only on our wings but also when we cook whole chickens and we sprinkle them on our Instant Pot Chicken Legs as well.
However, if you already have a favorite dry rub, such as Applewood Smoked Dry Rub, feel free to use that instead.
The flavor of the dry rub is totally based on your preference.
Frozen chicken wings should never ever be smoked
It doesn’t matter whether you are smoking them in an electric smoker or pellet smoker, do not smoke frozen wings.
The smoke generated by the smoker will not be able to penetrate the chicken wings because they are frozen.
Furthermore, the wings will cook unevenly. The outside of the chicken wings will be cooked while the inside is still raw.
By the frozen chicken wings come to the recommended temperature, they will be extremely dry and very unpleasant.
This is why you should always thaw the chicken wings before smoking them.
What type of Wood Chips To Use When Smoking Chicken Wings
Now that you know what type of dry rub to use, the next decision comes when you are deciding what type of wood chips to use to smoke your chicken wings.
You can use whatever type of wood chips that you prefer, but hickory is our favorite.
You can purchase a variety of wood chips at your local hardware store that sells grills. And during the grilling season, you can often find them at your local grocery store.
Hickory, Mesquite, and Applewood are the most common varieties that you will find.
However, we prefer to smoke our chicken wings with hickory chips. They provide a deep smoky flavor that compliments the tender chicken wings perfectly.
Although you can also use apple or pecan wood if you are looking for a milder, smoked flavor.
Do Wings Get Crispy In A Smoker
Smoking chicken wings and frying chicken wings are two different things, which means smoked wings will not be super crispy. Smoked chicken wings have a slight crisp.
However, if you want to give your chicken a crispy texture, heat up your hibachi grill to high and grill the chicken for 2-3 minutes until they are slightly charred and crispy.
To Soak or Not To Soak
Beyond popular belief, when it comes to putting the wood chips in the smoker you don’t have to soak them in water.
We prefer to soak our wood chips before adding them to the smoker.
However, it has been my experience that soaking them at least an hour beforehand allows the smoke to flow much quicker and more freely.
This is an important point to consider since your wings require a relatively short cooking time as compared to larger items like Smoked Brisket.
But the choice is really up to you. Either way, the addition of the wood chips at the beginning of the cooking process will allow enough smoke to be released to make your smoked wings delicious!
Do You Flip Wings When Smoking
Technically, there’s no need to flip the chicken wings once you place them in your smoker.
The chicken will not be smoked for hours like brisket, and it will be smoked with indirect heat, so flipping is optional.
However, if you will be coating the wings with BBQ sauce, it’s best to apply the first coat 15-20 minutes after you place them in the smoker.
When To Add The Barbecue Sauce To Your Smoked Chicken Wings
Before we let you know when to add your barbecue sauce, it is important to note that barbecue sauce is totally optional.
The electric smoker that we use to smoke our wings.
Between the flavor of the wood chips and the dry rub seasoning, you may find that your smoked chicken wings are perfect without adding any sauce at all.
However, if you want to add your favorite barbecue sauce, you surely can!
How To Reheat Smoked Chicken Wings
Unless you are having a large BBQ party in your backyard, you will probably end up with some leftover BBQ chicken wings.
The key to reheating these chicken wings is storing them properly.
First, let your smoked chicken wings cool to room temperature.
Do not let the smoked chicken wings stay at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
The smoked chicken wings become filled with dangerous levels of bacteria after 2 hours which means you will have to toss the chicken into the trash.
You can divide the smoked chicken wings into smaller portions by placing them into small airtight containers.
Once the smoked chicken wings are cool, place the lid onto the container and set them aside.
To reheat the smoked chicken wings, turn your oven to 400°F and let it preheat.
Place the smoked chicken wings on a foil-lined baking sheet and spray it with non-stick cooking spray.
Bake the smoked chicken wings for 5-7 minutes until they are heated through.
Brush Not Toss
Fried chicken wings are thrown into a large bowl after they have been cooked and tossed with the barbecue sauce.
But because smoked wings literally fall apart when you cook them in the smoker, it is best to brush the barbecue sauce on the wings using a pastry brush.
Smoked chicken wings ready for barbecue sauce.
The addition of the sauce should be completed about 20-30 minutes before the cooking time expires. This is also when you are going to crank up the heat to crisp up the skin.
The caramelization of the sauce will adhere perfectly to the wings and will leave you with great flavor, without all of the mess of eating traditional wings tossed in sauce.
Now that is a win-win situation!
What To Serve With Smoked Chicken Wings
So now that you have the star of the show, it is time to determine what side dishes you will serve with your smoked chicken wings.
Just like any barbecue, we love to serve the following side dishes with our wings.
How To Defrost Chicken Wings
Want to wait it out and allow the wings to thaw so you can dry them properly before seasoning them? You have a few options—and some of them will even allow you to smoke the wings on the same day.
Traeger Chicken Wings Recipe
I love cooking these on the Traeger. The indirect heat works well to thoroughly cook the frozen wings without burning the skin. If you thaw the wings first, you can easily cook these over a charcoal or gas grill. I used hickory pellets in the Traeger Grill. These aren’t quite going to be smoked chicken wings in the sense of low and slow. Instead, we are using a higher temperature to help get a little more crispy skin. Cooking such small pieces low and slow could result in dried-out wings.
Easy Dry Seasoning for Your Treasure Wings
Combine garlic powder, salt, Cheyenne pepper(for heat), and chili powder for a nice spicy dry seasoning. If you want to add some sweetness to it, use brown sugar to balance the heat of the Cheyenne pepper. Put the spices in a large bowl and mix well. As you take the wings off the grill, place them directly into the large bowl and toss them to ensure they coat evenly. Serve them immediately.
Another option is to use a pre-made spice blend, a favorite in our house is to use lemon black pepper seasoning. We use it in our Honey Lemon Pepper Wings.
What Temperature To Smoke BBQ Wings At?
This smoke is fairly quick. I put these wings in at 325 for 1.5 hours. Most of these particular wings were thick, you’ll need to adjust if you have small wings or a lot of thinner Flatts. Like all smokes, you’ll want to cook to a finished internal temperature not strictly by time. These wings are ready to come off the smoker at 165 degrees. If you want extra crispy skin I recommend increasing your pellet smoker temperature to 450 for the last 20 minutes.
Easy Sauce for Your Traeger Hot Wings
If you are looking to move away from a traditional or pre-made BBQ sauce, try making your own hot buffalo sauce.
This one is very easy. Start by melting butter in a small bowl. Then whisk in your favorite hot sauce. I usually start with 2 parts butter to 1 part hot sauce. Taste it and add more hot sauce until you reach your desired heat level. Put your homemade sauce in a large bowl. As you take the wings off the grill, place wings directly into the large bowl and toss them to ensure they coat evenly. Serve them immediately.
I just covered Traeger Wings 3 Ways. Wet sauce, dry seasoning, or naked. But the options are limitless with the different combinations of spices, seasonings, and flavors that you will want to try. I hope you enjoy this Trager Chicken Wing recipe. If you are hosting a party or watching a game, try serving these with Smoked Jalapeno Poppers, Smoked Cheesy Potatoes, or Venison Sliders. Looking for some elegant appetizers? Be sure to try our Smoked Oysters.
Smoked Chicken Wings
Ever since we purchased our first smoker, I’ve tried a TON of different things…but chicken wings are by far my FAVORITE! Yes, even more than prime rib believe it or not. Blasphemous, I know. I think it’s mostly because they are such a completely different product compared to the normal breaded wing I’m used to ordering out. Nothing compares to a delicious smoked wing. They also are super simple to do and don’t require the usual time investment that other meats would.