The Best Smoked Buffalo Hot Wings With Crispy Skin
You’re going to love the combination of crispy smoked wings with tangy, spicy buffalo sauce.
Learn the tricks to guarantee ultra crispy skin on your smoked chicken wings, no deep fryer required.
You’ll also learn how to make an (optional) blue cheese dipping sauce.
Smoked Buffalo chicken wings
You can’t beat buffalo chicken wings when you’re watching sports with friends. The tangy sauce and crispy texture go perfectly with a cold beer.
While most recipes call for frying or baking, I think you can’t beat smoking the wings.
Crispy skin can be hard to achieve when you cook low and slow. Luckily there are three easy steps you can follow to avoid rubbery skin.
Best of all, you don’t need any additional accessories or a high-end smoker.
Related: For a spicy wing with an Asian kick, try our Chili Oil Smoked Wings.
The secret to smoked wings with crispy skin
Smoking low and slow can give your wings rubbery skin that’s downright unappetizing.
Luckily there are a few tried and true methods to get perfect skin on your wings every time.
- Get your wings as dry as possible – Start by drying with a paper towel and then leave the wings on a rack in the refrigerator for a few hours.
- Use corn starch in your wing seasoning – The starch doesn’t change the flavor but it helps the wings get super crispy
- Ramp up the heat – The exact method will depend on what you are cooking on, but you need to make sure you increase the heat to at least 350°F at some point during the cook.
If you want extra juicy wings you could also do a chicken wing brine, but I find that’s usually overkill.
For this recipe, I smoked the wings on my Big Green Egg kamado at 350-400°F for the entire cook. Using a charcoal grill and wood chunks, you can still generate a nice smoke flavor at hotter temperatures.
If you are smoking wings in a pellet grill, cooking at those temperatures would produce virtually no smoke so in that case, you want to start low and slow around 225-250°F for the first 30 minutes, and then ramp the heat up to 350°F – 400°F for the final part of the cook.
You could also finish the wings off on a hot grill, but I find that the methods above are all you need for crispy skin.
How long to smoke chicken wings?
If you’re smoking these wings hot at around 400°F for the entire cook they should be done in around 45 minutes.
If you are cooking on a pellet grill where you need to cook at a lower temp to generate smoke, you might need to allow an extra 30 minutes.
How to make smoked buffalo wings
1. The secret is in the seasoning
For the wing seasoning, I use a simple dry rub of salt, pepper, granulated garlic (or garlic powder if you don’t have granules), dehydrated garlic, and corn starch. The corn starch combined with high heat does the trick in getting the wings nice and crispy.
A lot of smoked chicken wings recipes use baking powder so feel free to substitute for that, but I’ve always had good luck with corn starch.
2. Wing sauce
We’re keeping it nice and simple here by using Franks Red Hot Wings sauce, buffalo flavor, and adding some butter to cut through some of the tang.
To make the wing sauce, I just melt the butter in the microwave and then add it to the hot sauce, giving it a good stir to combine.
If you like your wings extra spicy, you can add cayenne pepper to the mix, I tend to like my stomach lining the way it is and feel this combo produces enough heat for my taste buds.
3. The cook
If you’ve smoked chicken wings before and found the skin had a rubbery texture, the problem is you didn’t ramp the heat up enough.
This is the reason I love using my Big Green Egg for smoking wings. I can produce enough smoke with high temperatures, which is perfect for getting nice, crispy wings.
See our note under “The secret to smoked wings with crispy skin” for tips to tweak the recipe if you are using a pellet grill.
I like to throw on a chunk of apple wood as it has a subtle flavor and profiles well with chicken.
I smoke wings around 350-400°F. At this temperature, the fat renders out, and the skin crisps up, giving that great fried texture you want.
Once your smoker is up to temperature, put the wings on. You want your grill nice and hot to sear the wings, which will prevent them from sticking. It will also start the caramelizing of the underside of our meat.
Close the lid once you’ve put the wings on, and try not to open it during the cook. They will take around 45 minutes. Check with an instant-read thermometer around this time. Once they hit 165°F, they’re safe to eat but wings can easily be cooked further, so go off the feel of the skin.
Remove the wings from the smoker and place them into a bowl, then add the buffalo sauce. Give it a gentle stir-around to ensure all the wings are thoroughly coated in the sauce.
You can’t go wrong serving buffalo wings with sliced carrot and celery and a bowl of blue cheese dipping sauce
Blue cheese dipping sauce
No respectable smoked chicken wings recipe is complete without a good dipping sauce. While blue cheese can be a divisive ingredient, you can’t deny it’s a classic pairing with buffalo sauce.
This blue cheese sauce is simple. Add mayonnaise, blue cheese, sour cream, garlic, and lemon juice to a food processor and blitz it up.
Check out our blue cheese dipping sauce recipe for more detailed instructions.
Try these wing recipes next
- Smoked Chicken Wings with Garlic and Parmesan Sauce
- Smoked Lemon Pepper Wings
- Smoked Fried Chicken Wings
Smoked Buffalo Wings Recipe
Smoked Buffalo Wings
- 2.2 lbs chicken wings
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 2 tbsp granulated garlic
- 1 tbsp dehydrated garlic
- 2 tbsp Kosher salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper finely ground
- ½ cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
- ½ cup unsalted butter
Blue Cheese Sauce (Optional)
- 5 oz blue cheese
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 clove of garlic crushed
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Separate your wings into flats and drumettes using a sharp knife.
- Dry the wings with a paper towel, the dryer you get them the crispier the skin will be. If you have time leave uncovered on a rack in the fridge for a few hours to dry out further.
- Mix the seasoning ingredients together in a large bowl. Add wings and toss to coat.
- Fire up your smoker to around 400°F.
- Place wings on the grates and cook for 45 minutes or until internal temperature is at least 165°F and the skin is nice and crispy
- Take the wings off the heat and place in a bowl. Add the hot sauce and stir gently to coat the wings.
For the buffalo sauce
- Melt butter in the microwave and add to hot sauce. Stir to combine well.
For the blue cheese sauce
- Mix up the blue cheese sauce ingredients in a food processor until well combined.