Make these chicken smoked chicken wings with the help of our step-by-step guide to smoking. Serve with a ranch or blue-cheese dressing for dipping. Also check out more chicken wings recipes such as our BBQ chicken wings, sriracha chicken wings and buffalo wings.


  • 1kg chicken wings, wing tips removed
  • 100ml pressed apple juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • a few handfuls cherry wood chips, (see ‘Which wood?’ box, below)
  • to serve ranch or blue-cheese dressing


  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp onion granules
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • a large pinch cayenne pepper
  • ground to make ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • a large pinch dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes


  • STEP 1

    Combine all the rub ingredients in a large bowl, tip in the chicken and use your hands to mix until all the wings are well coated. Marinate in the fridge, ideally overnight, or for at least 2 hours.

  • STEP 2

    Combine the apple juice and apple cider vinegar, and pour into a small spray bottle or keep to one side in a small container – this will be used to keep the wings moist and help the skin to caramelise when cooking.

  • STEP 3

    To prepare the barbecue, follow the instructions under the heading 'how to prepare a kettle barbecue for hot smoking' here. Cook the wings for 45 minutes, turning and rotating every 15 minutes – give the wings a good spray or drizzle of the apple juice at the same time. If the temperature drops below 120C, lift the lid and fan the coals to get the heat going again.

  • STEP 4

    Lift the lid and move the chicken wings to the other side of the barbecue, above the hot coals, and let the skins crisp up for 5 minutes or until really caramelised and starting to char – keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t darken too much. Once done, remove from the barbecue and serve with a ranch or blue-cheese dressing for dipping, if you like.

*This recipe is gluten free according to industry standards

Which wood to use for smoking?

  • Different woods produce different flavour profiles and, as such, some woods are better suited to particular types of food than others. Some woods, including oak, hickory and mesquite, give off strong, pungent smokes; others, such as beech and alder, provide a much lighter, more delicate smoke; the likes of apple, cherry and maple would be considered medium smoking woods but each has a distinct flavour profile. It’s good to experiment with how different woods go with different foods, particularly meats, but classic combos include hickory with brisket, oak with salmon and apple with cheese. Our two beginner recipes over the page use cherry wood with chicken wings and oak with a rack of pork ribs, but the possible combinations are almost limitless – it’s all about experimenting with what works and discovering your personal favourites. There are plenty of specialist websites that deliver wood chips specifically for smoking, including, and

Check out more of the best chicken wings recipes...

Sticky Chicken Wings with Raspberry Sauce


Adam Bush Chef Portrait
Adam BushDeputy food editor

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