Updated: Apr 5, 2021
I love wings. If I could eat them every day, I'd probably not get even a little sick of them. I've probably made every variation and cooking method of wing you can think of, deep fried, baked, grilled, buffalo, garlic parmesan, sriracha, maple, honey mustard, the list can go on and on. My favorite, though, is my Smoked Buffalo Wings. They're perfect for an early spring cook or a fall football gameday snack.
I used to be hesitant on smoking wings because one of my favorite thing about a good wing is crispy skin. After doing a little research and lots of trial and error, I've found the solution to crispy smoked wings, air drying, and baking powder. I got the idea from reading one of my favorite food blogs, Serious Eats. Kenji López-Alt writes an article that goes in-depth on how the combination of drying wings out overnight and adding baking powder significantly adds to baked wings' crispiness. The baking powder lowers the PH making the wings more alkaline, improving the browning capability, and the air-drying reduces moisture, allowing the wings to get crispy; here's a link to that article; it goes into great depth on the science of it.
After reading López-Alt's article and testing it on baked wings, I figured the result should be similar if I smoked the wings instead of baking, and I wasn't wrong. The results are excellent. I'll walk you through the entire process.
The first step is to toss the wings in baking powder (not baking soda, baking soda may yield similar results but has a metallic taste) and place them on a cooling rack overnight in the fridge. Once you're ready to start smoking, set your smoker to 350 degrees; for my latest cook, I used my Pitboss Vertical Pro-Series smoker, but you can easily modify this for any smoker you might be using. Before I put them in the smoker, I season the wings with a simple rub of chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and salt (I'll be posting the recipe soon). I then place them on chicken wing rack I found on Amazon; here's a link, and put them in the smoker for about 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees, then I turn up the heat to 450 degrees for about 10 minutes more or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. At this point, all that's left is to do is gently toss the wings in a mix of melted butter and Frank's Redhot or your favorite wing sauce. Actually, they're great without sauce also!
*Note: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and if you go through them to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality, not because of the commission I receive. The decision whether or not to buy something is entirely up to you