Smoked Chicken Wings on the Weber Smokey Mountain


Chicken wings smoked on the Weber Smokey Mountain cooker are great.  Chicken wings smoked this way are so popular with this family that I usually do a batch of chicken wings on the WSM along with with the main meal.

Click on any pic to see a full sized pic.

Wing Preparation



Pic #1:  I remove the wing tip to save space in the Weber smoker and make it easier to roll the wings around for mopping.

Pic #2:  If you are having trouble cutting the wing joint cleanly then cut through the skin flap down to the joint.  Straighten the wing then the middle of the joint is clearly visible.

Ready for an overnight soak
These wings will marinate overnight in Louisiana Crystal Hot Sauce.  The cooked wings are not spicy hot.  Cooking mellows the hot sauce heat.  I have marinated the wings in leftover brine, Italian salad dressing and I have skipped marinating.  I like the Louisiana Crystal Hot Sauce best.

Pics from various wing cooks






A pic of my first attempt at chicken wings.  The wings were over cooked and dry.

Cooking Record
Time BG TG Lid Vent Comment
BG=Bottom grate temp.  TG=Top Grate temp.  Lid=Lid temp.  Vent is the setting of all the bottom vents.  The top vent is always open 100%.
The charcoal ring is 1/2 full with two small chunks of white oak.  About 20 lit briquettes are dumped into the charcoal ring.  Water pan is 3/4 filled.
8:55 AM 244 299* 50% Wings into the smoker.  I forgot to record the top grate temperature.
9:06 AM 231 246* 295* 50% Temperature check.
9:22 AM 233 248* 290* 50% Temperature check.
9:36 AM 235 246* 288* 50% Temperature check.  Checking the temperature frequently to see where the temperature will stabilize.
9:55 AM 235 246* 278* 100% Open the bottom vents to 100%.  I want higher temperatures.
10:15 AM 246 257* 301* 100% Temperature check.  Push the wings around.
10:29 AM 251 257* 300* 100% Mop wings with my mop concoction.  See Mopping
10:53 AM 251 258* 297* 100% Temperature check.
11:18 AM 253 260* 293* 100% Temperature check.
11:43 AM 257 262* 296* 100% Temperature check.
11:58 AM 248 258* 282* 100% Temperature is dropping so I gently stir the coals.  Push wings around.  Mop wings.
12:15 AM 258 269* 296* 100% Temperature and wing check.
12:20 AM 258 269* 296* 100% Wings removed from smoker.

Wing Tips
Wing Tips You can discard the wing tips or freeze them.  When you have enough frozen parts then use the parts to make chicken stock.
Oil cooking grates The wings become very tender so generously rub the cooking grates with peanut oil or spray with Pam prior to smoking. This will help prevent the wings from sticking to the cooking grates.  Also while smoking, push the wings around a little to make sure none of the wings have stuck to the cooking grate.

I use two thin steel spatulas to push the wings around and flip the wings(tongs will take forever).  One spatula to move/flip the wings; the other spatula to prevent the wings from becoming MIA down the gaps at the end of the top cooking grate.
Mopping In the context of chicken wings, I use the term "mopping" loosely.  I would not mop with a traditional vinegar based mop such as the Succor mop from Smoke & Spice.  I believe the high vinegar content would be overpowering.  If someone tries a vinegar based mop, such as Succor, let me know how it turns out.

Other than that note about vinegar based mops, mop with what ever you like.  Experiment, use your imagination.  If you are doing a lot of wings then try two different types of mop.

For example, I mopped the bottom grate of wings with straight Louisiana Crystal Hot Sauce and the top grate with straight Bulls Eye bbq sauce.  The Bulls Eye bbq sauce was slightly thinned with water for easier mopping and so it wouldn't burn as readily.  The Louisiana Crystal Hot Sauce was mixed with a few dashes of bbq sauce so it will cling to the wings.

A concoction that I came up with is:
3 Tbs Peanut oil
2 Tbs Succor mop
1/3 Cup Regular Bulls Eye bbq sauce
3 Tbs Louisiana Crystal Hot Sauce, Extra hot version

Whisk all the ingredients.  Sort of a sweet and sour mix with a small kick of heat from the hot sauce.  Allow to come to room temperature before using otherwise it will be too cold and upset the cooking times.  Adjust the amount of Louisiana Crystal Hot Sauce to suit your taste.
Temperature Experimenting The next time that I do a wings only smoking session I will go for higher temperatures.  Chicken wings suffer from the same affliction as a whole smoked chicken; the skin is not the crispy skin when cooked in the oven or fried.

I don't want a higher temperature for the entire smoking session.  I might as well just grill the wings then.  I am thinking of a couple of different strategies.  One would be to shovel the wings onto a cookie sheet and crisp the skin in the oven.  The other would be to add about 1/2 a chimney of lit briquettes and lump charcoal about 30 to 40 minutes before the wings are done.  Lump charcoal burns hotter and should boost the temperature.

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