- Chicken is relatively cheap.
- Wings cook up quickly.
- They freeze easily, so you can have them readily on hand.
- Chicken wings can adapt to almost any flavor you desire.
Let’s examine some best practices if you want to smoke up some tasty wings for your next sports celebration.
Storage of Chicken Wings
As I said, chicken wings, if bought in bulk, are relatively cheap. I purchase mine in 20 lb. frozen bags at my local warehouse club. They are already cut into drumettes and wings. Fresh chicken wings at my local supermarket are not cut and I don’t really feel like getting a cleaver out and going crazy cutting through the bone.
I bring home the BIG bag and start dividing for smaller portions – #cookingfortwo
Using my trusty Food Saver, I package up 10-12 wings per bag, leaving plenty of room at the seal of the bag. For easy storage, the wings/drumettes will be in one, flat layer, so I can store them upright in the deep freezer.
This is the basic FoodSaver and comes with a starter roll of bags. An incredible wise investment (under $100) for any family who buys food in bulk or is like me, lives 45 minutes from the nearest grocery store.
Make sure to label and date your packaged food before placing in your deep freezer.
Preparing Chicken Wings
I have found there are two good methods for thawing your chicken wings; both can be done the day you decide to eat them.
- You can submerge your FoodSaver bag, with the wings still sealed inside, in a sink of cool water for about 25-30 minutes. They will be thawed enough for cooking on a grill, Big Green Egg, or Stump Smoker.
- Get a large, rimmed baking sheet; line it with aluminum foil (for easy clean up); top the baking sheet with a wire cooling rack. Making a single layer, spread out the wings on the wire rack. Make sure to leave plenty of room around each wing. Allow to sit at room temp for about 20 minutes, then flip them. After 40-45 minutes, they should be thawed enough for the Egg, smoker, or grill.
Regardless of which thawing method you use, make sure to pat the chicken dry, using paper towels, so your rub will adhere.
Fire Up the Big Green Egg
Fire up the Big Green Egg or whichever cooking device you prefer.
About 15-20 minutes before you are ready to smoke, apply your favorite rub. Because I don’t care for spicy wings, we are using a sweet rub, John Henry’s Sugar Maple Rub.
Use the wire rack/sheet pan set up for applying your rub. Make sure to coat each wing; all over.
Place the wings on a clean grate, over INDIRECT heat; which means installing your Big Green Egg plate-setter, so as to disperse the heat around the edge of the grate. Keep the wings close to the center of the grate.
Control the egg to maintain 350º. Do not leave the wings for an extended amount of time.
After about 20-25 minutes, the wings should be ready to flip over.
Wings are done when they appear to have a dark mahogany color and look crisp.
Verify an internal temperature of at least 170º. Make sure to temp several pieces.
Serving your chicken wings
Now is the time to sauce if you want to sauce your wings. Because we used John Henry’s Sugar Maple Rub, the wings already have a sticky, saucy texture – no additional sauce is necessary.
After you sauce, place the wings back on the wire rack and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
Serve accompanied by celery, blue cheese dressing, and french fries. -YUMMY!
Let us know how you smoke your chicken wings!
Big Green Egg Chicken Wings
- Big Green Egg
For the chicken wing Brine
- 1/4 cup table salt
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 gallon water
For the chicken wings
- 4 Tbsp John Henry's Sugar Maple Rub
For the Brine
- Mix the salt, sugar, and water in a large container. Submerge the wings and allow to brine for at least an hour, but no more than two hours.
For the Big Green Egg
- Set up the egg for indirect cooking.
- Place a wire rack inside a baking sheet. Remove the wings from the brine. Place on the wire rack and allow to sit a room temperature for 45 to 50 minutes, flipping halfway through. Discard the bine.
- Control the heat for the Egg to reach 350º.
- Once at temperature, place the wings on the cooking grate.
- Cook for 20 - 25 minutes and flip the wings over.
- Cook an additional 20 -25 minutes until the wings reach a mahogany color, or reach 165ºF.
- Remove from the egg and place them on a fresh wire rack, sitting inside a baking sheet.
- Apply sauce if desired. Allow wings to rest for 10 minutes after saucing before serving.