HOW TO: Smoked Chicken Wings | Another Great BBQ Adventure | Grilling with Rich HOW TO: Smoked Chicken Wings | Another Great BBQ Adventure

Smoked BBQ Chicken Wings – Another Great Grilling Adventure

Posted By: Richard Wachtel
Published: March 27, 2011

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For the last blog post for the month of March and for this week’s grilling adventure I made some smoked chicken wings on my Weber charcoal grill. I have been meaning to make these ever since I went to Dinosaur BBQ during Presidents Day and tried this great barbecue food.

WOW! this is my first poultry blog post of 2011! I know it is has been a while since I served up some barbecue or grilled chicken. I guess I have been really focused on pure red beef!

Before we start lets dive a bit deeper into the history behind this great finger food – Chicken Wings! I want to thank Wikipedia for providing the history –

A Buffalo wing, hot wing or wing is a chicken wing section (drumette or flat) that is traditionally fried unbreaded and then coated in sauce. Classic Buffalo-style chicken wing sauce is composed of a vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter. Buffalo wings are traditionally served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing. Buffalo wings were created in Buffalo, New York. The residents of Buffalo generally refer to them as “wings” or “chicken wings” rather than “Buffalo wings.”  There are four different legends about how Buffalo wings came to be:

  • The first story is that Buffalo wings were first prepared at the Anchor Bar, located at 1047 Main Street (between North Street and Best Street) in Buffalo, New York, United States, by Teressa Belissimo, co-owner of the Anchor Bar with her husband Frank Belissimo. Upon the unannounced, late-night arrival of their son, Dominic, with several of his friends from college, Teressa needed a fast and easy snack to present to her hungry guests. It was then that she came up with the idea of deep frying chicken wings (normally thrown away or reserved for stock) and tossing them in cayenne hot sauce.
  • A second version, as told by Dominic Bellisimo (Frank and Teressa’s son) to The New Yorker reporter Calvin Trillin in 1980, stated: “It was Friday night in the bar and since people were buying a lot of drinks he wanted to do something nice for them at midnight when the mostly Catholic patrons would be able to eat meat again.” He stated that it was his mother, Teressa, who came up with the idea of chicken wings.
  • The third version of the origin involved a mis-delivery of wings instead of backs and necks for making the bar’s spaghetti sauce. Faced with this unexpected resource, Frank Bellisimo says that he asked Teressa to do something with them.
  • And lastly the fourth version has nothing to do with the Bellisimos or the Anchor Bar. Calvin Trillin stated in his 1980 New Yorker article that a man named John Young also claimed credit for serving chicken wings in a special “mambo sauce”. Chicken wings in mambo sauce became the specialty at his Buffalo restaurant in the mid-1960s. Young had registered the name of his restaurant, John Young’s Wings ‘n Things, at the county courthouse before leaving Buffalo in 1970.

Okay, now that we are done with the history of the Chicken Wing or even Buffalo Wing (if you are from Buffalo, New York) it is time for the smoking of the wings. Now, as I said in the opening of the post, I would have never thought to smoking chicken wings would be another great way to cook chicken wings until I visited Dinosaur BBQ. When I tasted theirs I was blown away with the flavor profile and that I knew that I had no choice but to try it myself.

All most done!!


While surfing the internet I came across a lot  of great websites that had the exact recipe and instructions on how to make smoked chicken wings. They took you step by step on what is the process of putting together a great smoked chicken wing recipe, but since you are at my site I am going to tell you.

Like every grilling adventure I have to think a lot about how to do it and what does a normal guy like me, some of the things that come through my mind is how do you actually cook the food, how much time do I need to cook the food, and also at what temperature do you cook the food at and what are the steps to pull it all together.On the internet there were many sites that suggested that once the chicken wings where done on the smoker you throw them onto your gas grill and then the skins will become more crisper but after much thought I decided against this method and once the wings have been finished on the smoker, I will toss them in the various sauces to finish the cooking process.

Don't forget in-direct heat will yield the best results

The question that I needed to figure out first was when do you put the wet sauce on before the smoking of the chicken wings? I was actually really torn about this, and I really had to figure out what was the best way to go about this. But after reading many articles about this subject on the internet the decision was pretty clear and I decided that you need to put the sauce after you smoke the wings, but a good way to get some flavor is to throw on some dry rub before they get smoked. I didn’t put any dry rub on the chicken wings as I thought that it would not let the flavor of the sauces that I was going to use really shine, and boy was I spot on. But what I did do is just put some simple salt and pepper on the chicken wings.

So, once that hard decision was made the rest was smooth sailing from there! Seriously!!  it really was! With the purchase of Weber’s Rapid Fire Chimney Starter getting the charcoals nice and hot wasn’t a problem at all, actually it was really easy.On a side note, I am not sure how in the world I got my fire going without this product!

BBQ Tip – Use Extreme Caution Contents may be hot – Be careful of the temperature of the chimney because once you light the coals it will be extremely hot when transferring the coals from the chimney starter to the grill.


Once the charcoals was moved from my Weber Chimney stater it is was time to get smoking. Now, for this grilling adventure my set up was designed for in-direct heat. Now for those newbies out there, in-direct cooking is when your food isn’t right over an open flame and you are cooking the food through the heat of the flame rather than directly over the heat source. So if you look at my grill from above I had my coals to the right and I had my chicken wings to the left of them. It was a real simple set up and it worked like a charm.

The Finished Smoked Chicken Wings with a new Grilling with Rich T-Shirt!

After I got the chicken wings on the grill and ready for smoking, I just sat back and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon. It was really nice to just relax and know that everything was coming together perfectly. I mean don’t get me wrong I was checking the progress all the time and I kept on taking out my Theremapen to check on the temperature of the chicken wings. (which by the way the proper temperature for chicken is 165 degrees F)

Putting the Chicken Wings on the smoker

I left the chicken wings in my smoker for about 45 – 50 minutes, which yield a perfect smoky flavor and it was nice and hot. Looking back, I could have left the wings on a bit longer, maybe for an hour or even longer but for only a 4lb bag of wings this turned out to be the perfect time.

Checking the temperature of my smoked chicken wings

The last step in the process was to find a good recipe and also what type of rub or even wet sauce to use for the flavoring. This was actually the hardest part of the process, there are so many good barbecue sauces out there and I didn’t even know where to start. So instead of using one specific sauce I decided to use a bunch of different ones they included: Drapers BBQ (stay tuned for the review of the sauce on our Wednesday’s BBQ Sauce Review); Kraft’s Original Barbecue Sauce; Honey Mustard Sauce; and Teriyaki Sesame Seed. All these sauces were prefect for the crowd and everyone really enjoyed the chicken wings and also the flavor. MY favorite was…. (now did you really think that I was going to tell you? You are going to have to come to Grilling with Rich HQ to find out for your self. What is your favorite sauce to put on your chicken wings?

Barbecue Sauces on My Smoked Chicken Wings

Overall impressions: I really liked smoking chicken wings, I know that I am going to have to try them differently the next time I want to make them on the grill. It should be interesting so stay tuned!

To review some great barbecue tips for this great grilling adventure:

  • Be careful when you are transferring the coals from the chimney starter to the grill
  • The arraignment of the chicken wings on the grill, for the optimal result set them up for in-direct grilling
  • The proper temperature for chicken is 165 degrees F
  • The perfect time to leave the chicken wings in the smoker is for 45-50 minutes but could be left on for longer amounts of time
  • Always sauce the smoked chicken wings after you have fully smoked them
  • Most importantly, Have fun and enjoy the company that you grilling for!

I am not going to be posting next week, as we are hosting our first ever Live Chat with Malcom from the Killer Hogs Competition BBQ Team  at 8:00 p.m. EST you can sign up here or right below:


So see you at the live chat next week!



DID YOU KNOW? At the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota serves a more esoteric take on buffalo-flavored food products with their “Buffalo Dog” available at concession stands inside the arena. The hot dog is topped with buffalo sauce, blue cheese, and cole slaw in a unique combination of North Carolina-style slaw dogs and buffalo wings — neither dish is indigenous to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and despite buffalo wings’ ubiquity, slaw dogs are uncommon in the Twin Cities.

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