Hickory Smoked Chicken Wings

The best smoked chicken wing recipes have a good spice rub that compliments the chicken’s flavor. What makes this recipe so delicious is the addition of Tabasco before the spice rub that creates deep smoky flavors and some heat that is balanced out by a little brown sugar.

Tips for Smoking

In our testing, we figured out a couple of things that are important if you’re trying to make great wings.

The first is do not brine the wings, brining little chicken wings ends up making the skin tough without making the chicken any juicer.

The second is adding Tabasco to the wings before the spice rub adds another layer of flavor. It also helps the spice rub stick to the wings.

We also found that mixing the wings and the spice rub in a colander is an easy way to drain off any excess liquid, which can be an issue with wings that were just defrosted.

How to Smoke Chicken Wings

This recipe will work for wings cooked on a grill or in a smoker. Our preference is to use a smoker because it’s easier to control the temperature and it’s the best way to infuse the chicken with a deep smokey flavor.

Smoking chicken wings on a gas or charcoal grill works as well as a smoker as long they’re cooked over indirect heat, and smoke is added through a smoke box, hardwood lump charcoal, and/or some wood chips. It’s worth noting that smoking wings on a grill usually takes less time than in a smoker. So if you’re using a grill make sure to keep an eye on the temp and take the wings off when they reach an internal temperature of 165ºF.

To Sauce or Not to Sauce

A lot of recipes include saucing the wings at the end. The reason ours doesn’t is that we think they taste pretty amazing without the sauce and we don’t want anything to overpower the flavors from the dry rub and the smoke. If you need to sauce them go ahead, but we’d recommend serving them with our Creamy Blue Cheese Dip and maybe a little hot sauce or barbecue sauce on the side.

These wings can be served as an appetizer or a main course. We serve them all the time at parties.  They go particularly well with our Smokehouse Potato Salad, Creamy Mac and Cheese, and Garlicky Refrigerator Pickles. For more recipes like this one check out Umami’s Grilling section.

Hickory Smoked Chicken Wings Recipe Closeup

Hickory Smoked Chicken Wings

4.42 from 17 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings


  • 3 lbs chicken wings
  • 1/2 tbsp Tabasco

Spice Rub

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp Ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle


  • Start by combining the brown sugar, smoked paprika, cumin, chipotle, salt, and pepper with the Ancho chili and garlic powders.
  • Place the wings in a large colander in the sink and add the Tabasco sauce, mixing the wings and the sauce together.
  • Add in the spice rub and mix it thoroughly with the wings, making sure everything is evenly coated.
  • Smoke the wings at 250℉ for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, making sure to turn them halfway through so they cook evenly.
  • The wings are done when they're cooked all the way through and have an internal temp of 165ºF.
  • Let the wings rest for a few minutes before serving.


We love using hickory to smoke chicken wings, but mesquite, pecan or maple would work just as well.  You can order wood chips through Umami's market.
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Nutrition Facts
Hickory Smoked Chicken Wings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 283 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 29%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 94mg 31%
Sodium 903mg 38%
Potassium 205mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 2g 1%
Sugars 2g
Protein 22g 44%
Vitamin A 8.9%
Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 1.5%
Iron 8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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