Smoked Chicken Wings with Garlic and Parmesan Sauce

There's so much to love about our finger-licking smoked chicken wings with garlic and parmesan sauce.
cooked garlic, butter, parmesan wings on a plate

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These wings are smoked, grilled, then topped with a buttery garlic and parmesan sauce that will have your taste buds singing! 

They are the perfect appetizer or anytime meal. Make these and be the hero at your next get together! These have long been a go to for me and hope you will love them just as much as me and my family do! 

Smoked chicken wings

There are a few secrets to getting crispy skin when smoking chicken wings.

For this recipe, I used my pellet smoker but you can use any smoker you want. My pellet smoker also has a sear feature which I used to finish the wings on to get them crispy and charred.  

You can skip this final grill step altogether as long as your wings are cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F or above, but I find it’s the best way to get perfectly crispy, crunchy skin. 

Before I season my wings I like to place them onto a wire cooking rack to let them dry out for a few hours. This helps the wings get a crispier skin and when you are applying your rub the excess falls underneath leaving you with an easy clean-up. 

a cooked wing with sauce being held above a plate of wings
Finger licking good.

You will notice that I do not separate the drum from the flat and just kept the wing whole. This is a personal thing, I like both parts, and not having to separate them cuts the prep time down as well.

A good pair of tongs will help you flip the wings periodically while on the smoker and as always, a good instant read thermometer like the Thermapen is needed to make sure everything is cooked properly. 

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Finally, you will need something to mix the wing sauce in that can be heated up to melt the butter and incorporate all the sauce ingredients together. 

How to make smoked chicken wings with garlic and parmesan sauce

1. Leave on a rack in the fridge for a few hours to dry the skin

Remove the wings from the packaging and pat dry with paper towels.

raw wings on a rack over a tray
The tray underneath will also catch any stray drips from the chicken.

Place them on a wire cooking rack with a pan underneath, and put them in the fridge to dry out for a few hours.

This is one of the best tricks for getting crispy skin when smoking chicken wings.

2. Apply your rub

After a couple of hours, remove from the fridge.

raw seasoned wings on a wire rack
A good thick coating works well.

Apply your favorite poultry rub evenly on both sides. I used Sweet Heat by Pitboss which has a nice balance of flavors and gave the wings a good color as well or you could try our homemade poultry rub here.

3. Get the smoker ready

Preheat your smoker to 300-350°F.

Once the smoker is up to heat place wings in and smoke for 60-80 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

I like to smoke chicken at higher temperatures as this helps avoid the dreaded rubbery texture that you often get with smoked chicken skin.

wings on grill in smoker
Looking good enough to eat now!

One downfall of cooking the wings at a higher temperature is the wings cook much faster and won’t get as much smoke. The trade-off is a crispier wing which is more appealing to me. 

However, if you want to take the time to smoke your wings and maximize the smoke flavor you can set your smoker to 225°F and then increase the temperature later. 

I love to use pecan or hickory wood when smoking wings. It gives them a more robust flavor which the wings can hold up to. If you were smoking a chicken breast I would say to use a fruit wood like apple or cherry. 

4. Make the wing sauce

While the wings are on the smoker make your garlic and parmesan sauce. This sauce is extremely easy to make and only requires a few ingredients. 

sauce ingredients in a black cast iron pot
You can make your sauce earlier and let the flavors infuse, you’ll just need to reheat when ready to serve.

In a bowl mix together unsalted butter, grated parmesan cheese, dried Italian seasoning (or a mix of dried oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary), minced garlic, and a little more of the rub that was used on the wings.  Warm everything up and mix together. 

5. Sear the wings

When the wings hit an internal temperature of 165°F I like to sear them for about a minute on each side before pulling them off. The final temperature of the wings will be anywhere from 175-190°F. Your wings will still be juicy even if they are cooked to a higher internal temperature. Chicken wings are very forgiving unlike chicken breasts, which dry out if they are cooked past 165°F.

6. Serving the wings

Once the wings are done cooking you can place them in a bowl and toss them with the sauce or just lay the wings out on a plate and pour your sauce right on top. I like to garnish them with chives and then serve them immediately. 

Each bite will give you a nice buttery garlic punch that is sure to satisfy all wing lovers. If you want to make a spicy version of the sauce you can always add a little buffalo or hot sauce to the mix for that extra kick! 

Some more chicken recipes you might like to try

cooked garlic, butter, parmesan wings on a plate

Smoked Chicken Wings with Garlic and Parmesan Sauce

5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetiser, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Drying: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 585kcal
Author: Jordan Hanger

Ingredients

  • 12 chicken wings
  • poultry rub as required to season wings

For the sauce

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 2 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • ½ tbsp poultry rub

Instructions

  • Set your wings on a wire cooking rack, over a tray and place in the fridge to dry out for at least 2 hours.
  • Pre heat your smoker to 300-350°F.
  • Once your smoker is up to temp, season your chicken wings on both sides with poultry rub.
  • Place wings in your smoker and cook for 60-80 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Sear the wings on both sides for one minute until crispy.
  • For the sauce, add unsalted butter, rub, italian seasoning, minced garlic, and parmesan cheese to a pot and warm gently until the butter has melted. Mix well.
  • Pour the sauce over the finished wings and add chives to garnish.

Nutrition

Calories: 585kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 176mg | Sodium: 212mg | Potassium: 333mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1232IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 217mg | Iron: 5mg
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