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Smoked Honey Old Bay Wings are one of my absolute flavors of Buffalo Wings. The perfect balance of smoky, spicy and sweet all in one tasty wing.
Long before the wings hit the smoker you can do a few things to help your wings be crispier. Moisture is the enemy of crispy skin. If possible you want to open the package the night before and pat the wings dry. Next I lay out some paper towels on a sheet pan and lay the wings on top to sit in the fridge overnight uncovered. If you can’t do this overnight a few hours are better than nothing.
The next day while your smoker is preheating you can season the wings and get them ready to smoke. I try to season the wings about 30 minutes before it’s time to smoke them so the rub has a little time to absorb into the meat. No matter what seasoning I’m using I always add a few teaspoons of baking soda to help crisp the skin even further.
Smoked wings can be tricky because we are searching for that perfect balance of smoky flavor and crispy skin. The way most bbq restaurants do it is by pre-smoking the wings and then flash-frying them to order to create super crispy skin. If you have a tabletop fryer it’s a great method but not everyone wants to fry their wings in oil. To achieve crispy wings without frying in oil you're going to need high heat at some point in the cooking process.
Smoking wings at 275 Degrees F for the first hour is a high enough temperature to begin rendering the skin but low enough to impart smoke. After the first hour I spray the wings down with a light coating of avocado oil and raise the temperature to 375 degrees F. From this point you want to cook the wings as long as you can without burning them, or burn them just a little if that’s your thing. The size of the wings will determine how long it takes to fully cook the wings and achieve crispy skin
Technically chicken is safe to consume at an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. However I prefer to cook dark meat poultry to around 185 degrees F. Because dark meat has more fat the chicken won’t dry out like breast meat will. Use a probe thermometer and check the temperature of the biggest wing you see. I also like to test a drumette and a flat so I have a good idea of the true temperature. The color and the texture of the skin will give you a good idea of the fondness of the wings but the temperature is going to tell you exactly how they’re cooked.
It’s really hard to give you an exact time and temperature to cook chicken wings because there is such a difference in size. Jumbo party wings can be as large as 5-6 in a pound or as many as 10-12 wings in a pound. Obviously they are not going to cook in the same amount of time. That’s why checking the internal temperature of the wings throughout the cooking process is so important.
Once you’ve got your smoking crispy wings it's time to sauce them up. You can’t get much easier than a 3 ingredients glaze made with honey, old bay and butter.
All you need to do is heat up a ½ stick of butter with some honey seasoned with Old Bay. I like to toss the wings in the sauce rather than brushing them with the glaze. I feel like it coats the wings better and you don’t lose any of the sauce. You can toss them and then pour the extra sauce over the top.
Don’t serve these amazing Wings with some cheap Bleu cheese and ranch from the Grocery Store. Take the extra 15 minutes and make a batch of my Favorite Five Ingredient Bleu Cheese Dressingand my Hidden Valley Copycat Ranch Dressing. Slice up some celery, carrot sticks and seedless baby Cucumbers and you are ready to watch the game with a spread worthy of World Champions