These smoked Traeger chicken wings have juicy tender meat with crispy crunchy skin and are topped with a delicious sauce.
Serve them at your next summer bbq or football party.
This is my favorite way to prepare chicken wings. These wings have amazing flavor and require minimal hands-on cooking.
Ever since we invested in our Traeger Grill I have been looking for creative ways to cook with it. We love smoking a pork butt for pulled pork sandwiches, meatloaf, potato skins, and even cream cheese.
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- Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Traeger Grills
- What is the Best Wood for Smoking Chicken?
- How Many Chicken Wings Do You Need Per Person?
- Preparing Chicken Wings for the Smoker
- What Temperature do you Smoke Wings at?
- How to Smoke Chicken Wings on a Trager Grill
- How Long to Smoke Chicken Wings at 225 Degrees Farenheight?
- Serving Suggestions
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How Long Will Chicken Wings Keep?
- How to Reheat Chicken Wings?
- Looking for More Chicken Recipes?
- 📖 Recipe
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Smoked chicken wings are healthier than traditional fried chicken wings.
- While the skin on these chicken wings gets nice and crispy, the inside remains juicy.
- Because of their small size these chicken wings smoke quickly.
- These make a perfect dinner or serve them as appetizers at your next party.
A few years ago we bought a Traeger grill during a Father's Day sale. Initially, I was reluctant to spend the money on a second grill but it has been one of the best purchases we have ever made. Not only does it produce amazing results, but it’s also incredibly easy to operate!
I don't remember the last time we went out for barbeque because we get such great results at home for a fraction of the cost. I know our Traeger grill has already paid for itself with the money we have saved on eating out.
What is the Best Wood for Smoking Chicken?
When smoking chicken wings, choose wood pellets with a complementary flavor. Because of their small size and delicate flavor stick with lighter woods. Applewood, maple, and cherry are all good choices.
- Applewood has a subtle sweet fruity flavor that is ideal for poultry.
- Maple also has a subtle sweet fruity flavor but is a bit stronger than applewood. It is the sweetest of the heavy woods.
- Cherry is similar in flavor to other fruit woods but also adds a deep red color to the chicken as it smokes.
How Many Chicken Wings Do You Need Per Person?
If you are making these wings as the main dish, plan on about 8 to 12 pieces per person. If these wings are an appetizer, 4 to 6 pieces per person should be enough. I always tend to overestimate how much food I will need. In my opinion leftover chicken wings are never a problem. You may need to double or triple this recipe if you are preparing for a large group.
This recipe for smoked chicken wings is easy to scale. The only limit is the size of your grill,
Preparing Chicken Wings for the Smoker
Most chicken wings are either fried or baked and while good I think there is room for even more flavor.
When I started brainstorming ideas for how to create the perfect smoked chicken wing on a Traeger grill I turned to one of my favorite sources for cooking information, Alton Brown, specifically his technique for steaming/roasting chicken wings.
The reason fried chicken wings taste so great is that the high heat crisps the skin and renders out most of the subcutaneous fat that can make wings flabby and rubbery. By steaming the wings before smoking them we can render out a lot of that fat allowing us to smoke them at a lower temperature. Cooling the chicken wings in the refrigerator allows the skin to tighten around the now leaner wing.
When I first started steaming chicken wings I was using a standard metal steamer basket. You know the ones that look like a flower and unfold. But I found it extremely difficult to clean. Chicken bits would stick in all of the nooks and crannies. Recently I bought this silicone steamer basket which is so much easier to clean.
Save money by buying whole wings and breaking them down yourself. Lay each wing flat on a cutting board and cut through the two knobby joints. Use the drumette (it will look like a miniature chicken leg) and the flat for this recipe and discard the wingtips or use them to make some delicious chicken stock.
What Temperature do you Smoke Wings at?
The general rule when smoking is to go low and slow to maximize the amount of smoke that is absorbed. This method works well for these chicken wings because we have already rendered the subcutaneous fat by steaming them. For this recipe, I like to smoke the chicken wings at 225 degrees Farenheight.
How to Smoke Chicken Wings on a Trager Grill
These directions are specifically for a Trager grill because that is what we own. These instructions should work for other brands of smokers but the specifics may vary slightly. If in doubt my best advice is to refer to your owner's manual.
Steam the chicken wings. Place a steamer basket in a large stockpot and fill it with 1 inch of water. Cover and bring to a boil.
Add the chicken wings to the steamer basket and cover. Reduce the heat to medium and steam for 10 minutes. Do not overcrowd the wings, you may have to steam them in multiple batches.
Remove the wings from the basket and pat dry. Arrange the wings on a cooling rack set in a paper towel-lined sheet pan. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
If Making Ahead: After steaming the wings they can remain in the refrigerator for a few days until you are ready to smoke them.
Load wood pellets into the hopper of the smoker. See my suggestions above when selecting the best wood pellets for smoking chicken wings.
Preheat the smoker. On a Traeger grill, open the lid and select the SMOKE setting and let it preheat and smoke for 5-10 minutes. If you have a different smoker, consult your manual for specific directions.
Smoke the wings at 225 degrees Fahrenheit until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Start checking for doneness at the 45-minute mark.
Crisp them up. Crank the heat up as high as it will go to crisp and char the wings. If you’re using a Traeger grill, you can simply turn up the temperature. If your smoker can’t jump up in temperature quickly, transfer the wings to a cooling rack set inside of a rimmed baking sheet and broil them for a few minutes in the oven.
After smoking the wings toss them in your favorite sauce.
How Long to Smoke Chicken Wings at 225 Degrees Farenheight?
Because of their small size, chicken wings are one of the fastest cuts of meat you can smoke. Actual smoke times will depend on the size of the wings and the temperature outside. But most chicken wings will be done in less than an hour.
Before smoking the wings I like to coat them with my favorite BBQ rub and then toss them in wing sauce just before serving.
I am a wimp when it comes to spice so I always serve these chicken wings with a ranch or blue cheese dressing. I also like the added crunch of serving celery and carrot sticks too.
My favorite side to serve with these chicken wings is my provel macaroni and cheese.
Frequently Asked Questions
It may be necessary to rotate or flip the wings as needed to maintain even cooking and avoid any hot spots on the grill.
The pink color is caused by myoglobin which is naturally occurring in all meat. Normally as the meat cooks the myoglobin turns brown but as wood burns, it creates a gas known as nitrogen dioxide. The gas binds with the myoglobin on the surface of the meat and prevents it from turning brown. This creates an outer pink ring known as “The Smoke Ring.”
Chicken wings are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a probe thermometer to check the internal temperature. This one from ThermoWorks is my favorite. You will also notice the flesh beginning to shrink away from the bone.
- Save money by buying whole wings and breaking them down yourself. Lay each wing flat on a cutting board and cut through the two knobby joints. Use the drumette (it will look like a miniature chicken leg) and the flat for this recipe and discard the wingtips or use them to make some delicious chicken stock.
- To test for doneness, use a probe thermometer to check the internal temperature it should be 165 degrees Farenheight. You will also notice the flesh beginning to shrink away from the bone. You may see a pink smoke ring near the bone, but it should not appear bloody.
- If your smoker can’t jump up in temperature quickly, to crisp them transfer the wings to a cooling rack set inside of a rimmed baking sheet and broil them for a few minutes in the oven.
- Apply wing sauce at the end of the cooking time or toss the wings in the sauce after removing them from the grill grate.
How Long Will Chicken Wings Keep?
Leftover chicken wings can be stored in an airtight container. They will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.
How to Reheat Chicken Wings?
There are a few ways to reheat chicken wings:
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and pan-fry your wings until they are warmed all the way through. This is a quick and easy way, but it can be difficult to resurrect the crispy skin.
This is the fastest and easiest way to reheat if you are in a hurry, but you’re going to have zero crispy skin.
Reheat the wings in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees Farenheight. The skin will be crispy but this is the slowest way to reheat chicken wings.
Looking for More Chicken Recipes?
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