Smoked Buffalo BBQ Wings

Smoked buffalo bbq wings with celery

Roll up your sleeves and get out the stack of napkins. Smoked Buffalo BBQ Wings are the ultimate mashup of sweet and smoky barbecue combined with the sassy and savory bite of buffalo sauce. Getting messy has never tasted so good!

What do you get when you combine the ultimate game-day grub with two bold flavor classics? A winning trifecta that will have you plotting leftover wings for breakfast…if they make it that far. So fire up the smoker and get that pack of wings out of the freezer. You are about to become the MVP of the grill.

Serve these up with a side of homemade blue cheese dressing or BBQ ranch dressing for the ultimate combo.

Why This Recipe Works

Crispy and juicy – The process of smoking the chicken wings at a low temperature allows the meat to remain juicy while gaining that distinct kiss of smoke while the increase of temperature at the final stage of cooking will crisp up the skin.

Accessible ingredients – There is nothing unusual or exotic about any of the ingredients in these smoked hot wings. Not only do you probably have all of the components of the seasoning mix in your spice cabinet, but you also probably have all of the ingredients for the buffalo bbq sauce.

Familiarity of flavors – The flavor profile in these smoked chicken wings isn’t just balanced, it’s also familiar. All of the classic elements of buffalo wings are present in the buffalo bbq sauce, along with the unmistakable elements of barbecue. Why decide between the two when you can have both?

2 pounds of smoked buffalo wings ready to eat

Ingredients You’ll Need

Open up that spice cabinet and get out a mixing bowl. The first part of creating these finger-lickin’ good wings starts with the seasoning mix that will permeate every bite of crispy skin and juicy meat.

  • Chicken Wings – Team drums or team flats? Neither will last long with this recipe.
  • Celery SaltNot only is this the source of salt for the rub, but it also echoes the celery salt in the Buffalo BBQ Sauce. If you’ve ever found yourself licking the rim of a Bloody Mary then you’re familiar with the brightness of celery seed that shines through. Celery and wings just belong together.
  • Black Pepper – Adds a subtle pop of heat without overpowering or competing with anything.
  • Smoked Paprika – There is a mysterious hint of smoke in every component of these smoked hot wings. This adds the first layer to that kiss of smoke.
  • Granulated Garlic – Because there is sweetness in the sweet and spicy buffalo sauce, it’s all about balancing the sweet with savory flavors. This adds an aromatic and sharp kick.
  • Ancho Chile PowderThe earthy ancho with hints of raisin doesn’t compete with the bold flavors of the buffalo sauce, yet stands up on its own.
  • Vegetable Oil – Not only will this help adhere your spice mix to the wings, it will also help you achieve that crispy skin while preventing the wings from sticking to your smoker or grill. 
  • Buffalo BBQ Sauce –  Toss it, dip it, dredge it, swim in it, this sauce is the star of the show. No judgment if you find yourself triple dipping and double-fisting wings into this sauce. Smoky, sweet, spicy, and a little creamy from a kiss of silky butter, Buffalo BBQ Sauce perfectly combines the best of both flavors. Its velvety texture envelops every piece of chicken in a luxurious embrace.
Smoking the seasoned wings indirectly from the coals

How to Cook Smoked Buffalo BBQ Wings

The only thing between you and a gloriously glossy pile of juicy wings are a few simple steps. Get out the tongs and fire up the grill and let’s break it down.

  • STEP 1: Pregame – Combine your spice mix and vegetable oil with your wings, making sure they are fully coated. If you have the time, spread the wings out on a wire rack fitted into a baking sheet and allow your wings to hang out in the fridge for a couple of hours, up to overnight. This will allow the air to circulate around the wings, ensuring you get that crispy bite of skin while also allowing the seasoning to permeate.
  • STEP 2: Kickoff – Preheat your pellet grill or prepare your charcoal grill for two-zone cooking by banking the charcoal to one side. If using a charcoal grill also add a hardwood chunk for an additional layer of smoke flavor. Allow the wings to smoke until they reach an internal temperature of about 165°F.
  • STEP 3: End Zone – Crispy skin is the trademark of the perfect wing. If using a pellet smoker, kick that heat up! You want to cook the wings until they reach an internal temperature of 180-185°F, or until the skin begins to bubble and they’re crispy. If cooking these wings on a charcoal grill, move them directly over the coals. Don’t go for a beer break at this point as they go fast. You will want to continue to flip them and rotate them so they don’t burn.
  • STEP 4: Touchdown –  Add your crispified wings to a bowl and let the sauce pour! Give them a toss to make sure every nook and cranny is draped in the sticky sauce. Whether or not you decide to share is completely up to you.
Searing the smoked chicken wings over the coals

Variations

You can adjust the flavor profiles of these smoked buffalo barbecue wings by adjusting different elements in the buffalo barbecue sauce.

  • Sweeter – You can create a sweeter sauce by adding more brown sugar. Allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes before tasting. Add sugar based on your desired level of sweetness and allow it to simmer to fully dissolve. 
  • Tangier – If you want a little extra pucker and tang, give a tiny splash of apple cider vinegar at the end. Remember it doesn’t take much to make the taste buds tingle.
  • Spicier – You can adjust the heat in both the wings themselves with the rub and also the spice level of the Buffalo BBQ Sauce. Add a pinch of cayenne when creating your spice mix. Want a little extra kick in the sauce? Try adding cayenne or another type of chile powder to the sauce. While ground chipotle is what’s recommended in the sauce for that smoky component, making homemade BBQ sauce allows you to control the ingredients and the ability to customize the flavors.
Pouring the buffalo hot bbq sauce onto smoked wings

Tips for Crispy Wings

Is there anything better than ripping into a chicken wing and getting that ultimate bite of crispy skin and juicy meat?

  • Dry-Brine ahead of time. The step to achieving that is to create a dry wing. Allowing the wings to refrigerate on a rack for a couple of hours or overnight lets air circulate around them while drying them out.
  • Cook the wings for longer. In addition, wings are also a lot more forgiving than other cuts of chicken. Where some cuts of chicken are done at 165°F, chicken wings are better cooked to 180-185°F, especially when smoked. This will give you the benefit of low and slow cooking, allowing the smoke flavor to infuse into the meat and keeping it juicy while allowing you to increase the temperature or cook over direct heat to achieve that crispy skin.

More Chicken Wing Recipes to Love

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Smoked buffalo bbq wings with celery

Smoked Buffalo BBQ Wings

Roll up your sleeves and get out the stack of napkins. Smoked Buffalo BBQ Wings are the ultimate mashup of sweet and smoky barbecue combined with the sassy and savory bite of buffalo sauce. Getting messy has never tasted so good!

  • Total Time: 3 1/2 hours
  • Yield: Serves about 2-3 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup Buffalo BBQ Sauce, room temp

Instructions

  1. Pat the wings dry and place them in a mixing bowl. Combine the spices together in a small bowl. Add the spices and the vegetable oil to the wings, mixing to make sure they are evenly coated. For crispy skin, place the wings on a wire rack with on a baking sheet in the fridge for a few hours uncovered, up to overnight.
  2. Using a smoker. Preheat the smokerto 250°F. Take the wings out of the fridge while you are warming up the grill. Place the wings in the smoker and allow them to cook for about 75-90 minutes, until the internal temperature is about 165°F. 
  3. Using a grill. Preheat the grill to a medium heat using a 2-zone setup with coals to one side of the grill. Allow the grill to warm up with the lid closed, vents open. Add a chunk of hardwood for additional smoke flavor before adding the wings. Take the wings out of the fridge while you are warming up the grill. Place the wings in the smoker and allow them to cook for about 50-75 minutes, until the internal temperature is about 165°F. You may need to rotate the wings around, as the ones closest to the coals will cook faster.
  4. Increase the heat to about 350°F, or grill up the wings directly over the coals. Allow the wings to crisp up more, cooking them until about 180-185°F so they become crispy and tender.
  5. Remove the wings and place them in a bowl. Pour the BBQ sauce over them and shake the bowl to coat them. Serve immediately.

Notes

Prep the wings the night before, dry-brining in the fridge will help the skin crisp up more when it’s time to cook.

  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Marinade Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Category: Chicken & Poultry
  • Method: Smoking
  • Cuisine: Appetizer

Keywords: wings, buffalo, buffalo bbq sauce, bbq sauce, smoked wings, smoked chicken, buffalo wings

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