You’ve had chicken wings, but have you ever tried turkey wings? They are very similar to chicken wings, but supersized!
You can make these smoked turkey wings on any smoker in just about an hour and a half and the results are tender, smoky wings packed full of barbecue flavor.
They are also a great option for Thanksgiving dinner if you are feeding a smaller crowd or if you just don’t feel like cooking a whole turkey. They don’t dry out nearly as quickly as the whole bird, so you will be left with juicy wings without the hassle.
Where to buy turkey wings
You should be able to find turkey wings wherever you normally purchase your poultry, but they are a lot more popular around the holiday season from October through December.
They generally come in a pack of two or three wings due to their massive size.
If you are cooking for a crowd, plan for one turkey wing per two people after separating the drum and wingette.
How to make Smoked Turkey Wings
Despite their massive size, turkey wings actually do not take that much longer than chicken wings to cook. The entire process, including prepping your wings, will only take about an hour and a half to two hours depending on the size of your wings.
1. Separating the wingette from the drumstick
Just like a chicken wing, a whole turkey wing is comprised of three parts: the wingette (also known as the “flat”), the wing tip, and the drumstick.
The first step is to separate the wingette (or flat) from the drumstick. This ensures all parts cook evenly.
Butchering a turkey wing is exactly the same process as butchering chicken wings. You want to find the joint between the drumstick and the wing with your fingers. Once you have located the joint, just use a sharp knife to cut them apart.
2. Seasoning your turkey wings
It is important to season your turkey wings well. Remember, they are up to 5 times as large as a chicken wing and you need the seasoning to get down into the meat.
You want to try to lift up and pull back the skin to season the meat that is underneath, then replace the skin and season that too. This will ensure your turkey is well-seasoned.
For this recipe, I used our Smoked Turkey Rub. It’s a savory blend of spices that pairs perfectly with smoked turkey.
If you prefer to use a store-bought barbecue rub, look for something that indicates that it is made for chicken or poultry.
3. Smoking your turkey wings
Fire up the smoker to 250°F.
I smoked these on my Masterbuilt Gravity 1050 with B&B Oak Lump Charcoal. I like to use oak when I smoke poultry because it has a lighter flavor profile and does not overpower the meat with too harsh of a smoke flavor.
Other great options would be pecan or applewood.
Once your smoker is preheated, just place your turkey wings directly on the grates of the grill.
Depending on the size of your wings, the time will vary slightly – but you are going to let them smoke for about an hour until they reach 155°F internal temperature.
To test the internal temperature I like to use ThermoWorks ThermoPop for this application. It is an instant read thermometer that takes temperature very quickly and accurately, thus preventing me from overcooking and keeping my smoker open too long.
4. Saucing your turkey wings
When they hit 155°F, you want to start heating up a bit of barbecue sauce on the grill.
I used our Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe. If you prefer to use a store-bought sauce, I recommend something that is not too thick and that has a strong tomato/vinegar flavor profile.
I don’t recommend skipping the heating process with the sauce. Sure, you can slather cold or room-temperature sauce on your wings, but it won’t coat them as evenly and you run the risk of being left with thick, uneven patches of sauce.
I use the Lodge Cast Iron melting pot when I’m heating up sauces on the grill. It is the perfect size for just about any recipe and the durable cast iron is the perfect vessel to place directly onto your grill grates, plus it comes with a basting brush that you can use to brush on your sauce!
After about 10 minutes, your sauce should be heated up. Then just dip your basting brush into the sauce and gently coat all sides of your turkey wings. Be sure to get into the crevices around the wings to make sure you get a punch of barbecue flavor in every bite!
Let them cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Remove from the grill and let them rest for 10 minutes, then they are ready to enjoy!
What to serve with Smoked Turkey Wings
Smoked Turkey Wings are extremely versatile and will pair beautifully with any barbecue side dish that you like!
I like serving them as part of a Thanksgiving spread when I don’t want to do a whole turkey but still want people to have the option. If you are trying to keep one or two ”It’s not Thanksgiving without turkey” people happy, you can also go with our smoked turkey breast.
Here are some great side dishes that would pair perfectly with these Smoked Turkey Wings:
- Bacon-wrapped Carrots with Maple Glaze
- Smoked Sausage Stuffing
- The Best Macaroni Salad for BBQ
- Smoked Baked Beans with Bacon
- Loaded Baked Potato Salad
Smoked Turkey Wings
- Preheat your smoker to 250°F.
- To separate the wingette from the drumstick you want to find the joint between them and using a sharp knife cut them apart.
- Lift up the skin and season the turkey meat with your rub, then replace the skin and season the outside with rub. Make sure your wings are well-coated on all sides.
- Place your turkey wings directly on the grates of your smoker and let them smoke for 1 hour, or until they reach an internal temperature of 155°F.
- In a small pot, heat the bbq sauce on the grates of your grill for 10 minutes.
- When the sauce is heated through, baste the turkey wings thoroughly.
- Let them smoke for another 10 to 15 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Rest for 10 minutes, then they are ready to enjoy!