Home Smoked Chicken Wings with Garlic Sage Butter

Smoked Chicken Wings with Garlic Sage Butter

by Brad Prose
smoked chicken wings with garlic sage butter

Food memories from the grill

Fall reminds me of the smell of roasted chicken in the oven, something on the stove with spices and herbs, and a warm glass of cider. Turning those memories into something I can create on the grill is always a fun challenge. These smoked chicken wings were the perfect vehicle to drench in a warm garlic sage butter, sparking my nostalgia. Also, they taste incredible.

Keeping it simple and savory

As soon as it starts to cool off I’m running to the store to buy fresh sage and sticks of butter. The combination of that crunchy herb adorning anything that’s been touched by butter is just pure magic. Boiling a box of pasta and mixing it with a ridiculous amount of garlic sage butter is not beyond me. It shouldn’t be beyond you either.

Spending time on my website you’ll find that I’m not the biggest sugar-user in barbecue. I do enjoy BBQ rubs and sauces that are sweet, however, my palate keeps pointing me to the savory side. Anything with roasted garlic, charred flavors, or chiles will probably get me excited. Take note of this in case you ever decide to cook for me!

wings and butter with sage
Yeah, you see that butter back there.
pouring butter over the wings
Pour it on! Don’t be shy!

The keys to unlocking the best results

So let’s face it: this recipe is pretty dang easy. You season and smoke wings, you pour butter over them, what makes this worth writing about?

The key is making sure you have two things right: (1) Crispy skin on your chicken, and (2) high-quality butter.

The butter is up to you. I recommend Kerrygold, unsalted, if you need a firm suggestion from me. Please don’t bite your lip when you look at the price tag, it’s absolutely worth it!

The crispy skin however, that’s another trick. The process will completely depend on the type of smoker you are using.

  • Pellet Smoker: The pellets tend to smolder at lower temperatures, creating more smoke which will adhere to the wings. I tend to smoke mine for about 45 minutes at a lower temperature between 200-225°F before increasing the heat to 350°F to crisp up the skin.
  • Kamado & Offset Smokers: These naturally generate more smoke due to their fuel. I would be smoking the wings at 300-325°F the entire way through to ensure having a crispy skin.
crispy sage and butter with wings

We all enjoy a little sweet

These smoked chicken wings with garlic sage butter not just savory! You’ll be happy to know that I add a touch of brown sugar in the BBQ rub recipe below, which helps balance out the flavors.

Don’t want to make your own seasoning? Pick up the High Caliber blend from Reload Rubs & Seasoning. Their smokey chipotle garlic rub is delicious and works well with this recipe.

Maybe this recipe isn’t your thing? Check out: Pumpkin Spice Chile Wings for another Fall-inspired recipe that’s a bit sweeter!

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smoked chicken wings with garlic sage butter

Smoked Chicken Wings with Garlic Sage Butter

  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 34 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Smoking
  • Cuisine: BBQ


These smoked chicken wings are lightly seasoned with a sweet chipotle rub and drenched in a warm garlic sage butter.


  • 2 lb chicken wings
  • 3 to 4 tbsp of Homemade Chipotle Seasoning
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 68 leaves of fresh sage
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Homemade Chipotle Seasoning

  • 1/2 tbsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp chile powder (or cayenne for optional heat)



  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the Homemade Chipotle Seasoning. Taste and adjust.
  2. Take the wings out of the fridge and make sure to pat them dry. Apply the seasoning generously. Place the wings on a baking sheet with a wire rack, and set in the fridge, uncovered for at least 1 hour, up to 4. This allows the seasonings to penetrate and will help create a crispy skin.
  3. Pellet Smoker: Set your temperature for 225°F. Smoke the wings for 45 minutes, then turn the heat up to 325-350°F and cook until the chicken is at least 165°F internal temperature, about another 20-30 minutes.
  4. Offset or Kamado Smoker: Set your temperature to 300-325°F and smoke until the internal temperature is 165°F, approximately 50-70 minutes.
  5. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Smash the garlic gently on your cutting board, and add it into the butter. Take the leaves of sage and drop them in the butter, frying for a couple of minutes on each side until they are crispy. Remove the leaves and set aside. Turn the heat off, and stir in the honey and Worcestershire sauce.
  6. Pour the butter sauce over the wings and top with the crispy sage.


Making the sauce only takes about 5 minutes, so I wouldn’t recommend making it ahead of time. 

Keywords: chicken wings

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