These smoked mango habanero wings are the start of your next big gathering!
Their sweet and spicy profile is by far one of the greatest flavor combos in the wing game.
With this recipe, I decided to take them to the next level by smoking the wings with cherry wood to give them a deep, sweet, fruity flavor of smoke. This compliments the sweet and spicy mango habanero sauce in so many delicious ways!
What type of wood should I use?
You can use any smoke wood for chicken, but if you’re looking for some recommendations, here are my top choices:
- Cherry Wood – Mild, sweet, and fruity. Cherry is one of the best flavor profiles for any kind of meat. The sweetness compliments wings really well.
- Pecan Wood – Sweet, nutty, and rich. This is hands down my favorite wood to smoke with. The sweet aroma pairs with chicken so well.
- Apple Wood – Subtle, sweet, and fruity. Apple wood is versatile and pairs great with chicken or salmon.
- Hickory Wood – Bold and savory. One of the most popular woods to smoke with. It’s very accessible and affordable and it does a great job providing an upfront smoke flavor in your protein.
How to get crispy skin on smoked wings
When I think of chicken wings, one of the first things that come to mind is that crispy bite into the chicken skin – it’s simply amazing.
There are many different methods to get nice, crispy skin. With most of my recipes, I typically add a few tablespoons of cornstarch to my chicken wings when seasoning them to dry out the skin during the cook.
I also recommend always finishing the wings over direct heat. That may mean turning your pellet grill on high (like I did for this cook) or placing the wings over direct charcoal towards the end of the cook for a few minutes on each side.
One of my absolute favorite ways to finish my wings is to toss them in the air fryer for a few minutes. You will undoubtedly get the most insane crispy skin from this method.
Just watch out if you have a high sugar content in your seasoning – you can easily burn them if you fry them too long.
Another popular method is to smoke and then deep fry your wings, as I did with our Honey Garlic Smoke Fried Wings.
How to make mango habanero wings
1. Prep your chicken wings
Take a sharp knife and separate the drums and the flats of each wing by cutting them at each knuckle, and discard the wing tips.
Place the separated drums and flats in a bowl. Pour in some hot sauce as a binder which will help the seasoning stick to the meat, then generously season the wings with SPG Blend (salt, pepper, garlic powder), cornstarch, and Pit Master’s Pick rub from Smoke Kitchen.
2. Fire up the smoker
Get your smoker set to 225°F, then add your chicken wings and let them smoke for 45 minutes.
For this cook, we used Bear Mountain Bold BBQ pellets, and then we added in some cherry wood chunks for a sweet fruity smoke flavor that really compliments these spicy wings well.
3. Make your sauce
While the wings are smoking, make your mango habanero sauce and set aside until the wings are finished cooking.
4. Crisp up your wings
After 45 minutes, your wings will have an internal temperature of 165°F and have a brown color to them from the smoke.
They’ll also have really rubbery skin on them, and nobody wants that, so we are going to crisp them up!
Increase your cooking temperature to about 400°F and let your wings cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
This will bring the internal temp to about 175°F.
5. Sauce your wings
Quickly remove your wings from the heat and place them in a large bowl.
Pour your mango habanero sauce on top of the wings, then mix them up so that they are evenly coated.
6. Final Step
Once they are evenly coated, toss them back on the grill for about 90 seconds on each side until they reach an internal temp of 185°F.
This will allow the sauce to caramelize to the wing and add a ton of delicious flavor!
Be sure not to leave the grill at this point – you need to watch them to make sure that the sugar from the sauce doesn’t burn the wings.
More tried and trusted wing recipes
- Chili oil chicken wings
- Smoked buffalo hot wings
- Smoked lemon pepper wings
- Smoked chicken wings with garlic and parmesan
- 3 lb whole chicken wings
- hot sauce enough to coat wings
- 2 tbsp SPG (salt, pepper garlic blend)
- 2 tbsp Pit Masters Pick rub
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- Mango Habanero sauce Use our recipe or store-bought is fine too
- Start by separating the drums and the flats, and discard the tips. See image above.
- Place drums and flats in a bowl and generously season them with SPG Blend, cornstarch and rub.
- Get your smoker set to 225°F and place the chicken wings directly on the grates then close the lid and let them cook for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, increase temp to 400°F and cook your wings for 2-3 mins each side to allow the chicken wings to crisp up.
- Remove your wings from the heat and place them in a large bowl. Pour your mango habanero sauce on top then mix them up so that they are evenly coated.
- Place them back on the grill for 2 minutes each side on high to allow the sauce to caramelize on the wings.
- Once the wings reach an internal temp of 185°F, remove them from the grill and garnish with chives.