Mild to Wild Smoked Chicken Wings

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This past weekend we had a BBQ competition in Franklin, Indiana. (A BIG Smoke & Honey THANK YOU to the Great American Spice Company for their sponsorship!) It is a lot of work but a lot more fun. We always meet great people and eat some great food. Where the Saturday day of competition is all about just that – competition, the Friday day of comp is all about hanging out, meeting new people and sharing some tasty snacks with your fellow BBQer and BBQ-groupie alike. One of the biggest hits this time was a simple smoked chicken wing.

A simple rub, some wisps of smoke and a delicious dipping sauce pushed these over the top. Of course it helps if you have an amazing pit-master too.

Mild to Wild Smoked Chicken Wings

Mild to Wild Smoked Chicken Wings

You need:

1 18-20 piece package of whole chicken wings. (Not the frozen mini wings)
4 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons black pepper

wood chips, we used apple and hickory

Add the paprika, salt, onion, garlic and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Set aside.

Now break up the wings into smaller pieces. Yes I know I said buy the big whole ones not the small frozen separated ones but trust me doing it yourself yields much better chicken, larger pieces, and you get to take your frustrations out on some unsuspecting poultry.

Here is a typical wing:

Typical whole chicken wing

Flip that little guy over and find the joints. It helps to stretch the wing out.

Chicken Wing Joins

Find them? Ok good. Now give them a small twist just till you feel the joint cartilage pop. Take your sharpest kitchen knife and seperate the wing into three pieces at the popped joint. Put the keeper pieces in a large bowl or a 2 gallon zip-lock bag and toss the tip. (Pro-tip: save and freeze the tips for chicken stock.)

Three pieces of chicken wing

Now take your bag or bowl of wings and add half the rub. Just rub, no oil or butter or sauce or fairy dust. If they look well coated save the rest of the rub for another time. Do they need more? Add some more and rub reallllllllly wwell to coat.

Don’t these look purty?

Spice Rubbed Chicken

Light a charcoal chimney of charcoal. Trust me when I say charcoal chimneys are the best way to start your coals. TRUST ME ON THIS.

Chimney of Charcoal

Once the charcoal has grayed over – dump all the charcoal onto one side of the grill. Toss on a handful of dry fruit wood and/or hickory wood chips on to the charcoal and spread out the chicken wings on the opposite side of the charcoal.

Smoking Chicken WIngs

Let them cook, rotating them occasionally (e.g. the ones near the charcoal would get moved to the back and the ones near the back got moved to the front.) This ensures even cooking. The smoke will stop in abut 20 minutes. Add another handful of the wood chips on the charcoal and cook for a total of 40 – 45 minutes.

Serve immediately with the Mild to Wild sauce of your liking. We prefer the Habanero. 🙂


Meet Jeff & Heather. The dysfunctional duo that make up the cooking team of He Cooks She Cooks. They have a weakness for feel good, down to earth, amazingly tasty eats that almost always include the addition of beer. From growing their own tomatoes to brewing their own beer, they like to cook from scratch as much as possible. When they aren't feeding their friends they are geeks of the computer kind. They share their home with Bacon the lovebird, the insane kitten duo of Voodoo & Hops, and a motley bunch of friends who won't stop drinking all their good beer. They know what's important. Love. Food. Beer.
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