Soul Food

Smoked chicken wings


• Cherry wood chips for gas grill or chunks for smoker or charcoal grill

• 1 tablespoon kosher salt

• 1 tablespoon garlic powder

• 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, tightly packed

• 1 tablespoon paprika

• 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

• 2 teaspoons onion powder

• 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

• 5 pounds chicken wings

• Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing the wings


• Prepare the grill or smoker: 

You do not need a dedicated smoker! You can use a grill—either gas or charcoal—to create indirect low heat, 225ºF to 275ºF. 

For a gas grill: obtain indirect low heat by turning on one burner to high heat. You’ll grill the wings over the unlit burners. Add a smoker box or a perforated aluminum foil pouch filled with wood chips on top of the lit burner to generate smoke. 

For a charcoal grill: obtain indirect low heat by pushing unlit coals to one side. Light some coal and place the lit coals on top of unlit coals. Close the vents to reduce airflow. Add wood chunks directly to the lit coals for smoke.

For a dedicated smoker: Add 3 to 4 wood chunks to the smoker. If using a water pan or kamado grill, place the chunks directly on the coals. If using a pellet smoker, use cherry wood pellets.

Prepare the dry rub: 

In a small bowl or spice shaker, combine the salt, garlic powder, brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, and ancho chili powder.

Prepare the wings:

With a sharp knife or poultry shears, remove the wingtip and separate the flat and drum. Flex each joint to visualize its center, then cut through it. Save the wingtips for another use, like

Dry and season the wings: 

Place the wings on a baking sheet lined with paper towels and pat dry. Discard the paper towels.

Brush the wings with a light coat of olive oil. Season the wings all over with the rub. 

Smoke the wings: 

Smoke the wings over indirect low heat—over the empty side of the charcoal grill or the unlit burners—for 1 hour, with the grill lid on, flipping once. 

Note: I got 28 to 34 chicken wings in 5 pounds. If your chicken wings are large, with less than 28 wings, smoke them for 15 minutes longer. 

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