Are you time conscious but your deepest darkest desires are telling you to smoke some chicken wings?
Of course, you don’t want to rush things either – so where do you draw a balance to get smokey delicious wings that won’t take hours to prepare and smoke?
To find a time and temp for your smoked wings that suits your schedule, here’s exactly how long chicken wings take to cook at each popular smoking temperature from 225-350°F and how each temperature affects the wings.
It’s funny, every smoked chicken wing recipe you come across seems to scream a different total cooking time at you.
How are you supposed to know how long you should actually smoke your chicken wings?
You see, although the smoking duration of chicken wings can depend on the size and type of the wing (full wings vs. drumettes & wingettes) the main key factor is the smoking temperature.
We used a pellet grill to try to keep the temperature as consistent as possible and tested how long chicken wings (wingettes & drumettes) took to smoke to an internal temperature of 165°F.
Here’s how long it took for each smoking temp and how they turned out.
How Long To Smoke Wings At 225°F
Look, I get it. Your traditional barbecue meats often come out best when they’re smoked at 225°F. This is because in meats like brisket, beef ribs, pork butt, etc. this low temperature allows sufficient time to break down the connective tissue and fat in the meat.
But, when it comes to chicken wings (or poultry in general) they don’t have this connective tissue, so they don’t benefit the same way when smoked at 225°F.
Still, smoking chicken wings at 225°F takes about two and half hours (150 minutes) to reach an internal temperature of 165°F
Although they came out with a nice smokey flavor, the skin came out a bit tough and rubbery as the temperature was too low to crispen up the skin.
How Long To Smoke Wings At 250°F
At 250°F, chicken wings are able to take up a nice amount of smokey flavor, but don’t take nearly as long.
Unfortunately, 250°F is typically still too low to get yourself a nice crispy skin, but it’s much less rubbery than the 225°F smoked wings.
Smoking chicken wings at 250°F takes about two hours (120 minutes). They’ll come out solidly smokey and delicious, but still lacking the crispy skin.
How Long To Smoke Wings At 275°F
Now we’re getting into crispy smoked chicken wing territory.
Personally, 275°F is my favorite smoking temperature for chicken wings. Low enough to develop an oomph of smokiness, but hot enough to get yourself a beautiful crispy skinned chicken wing, and ridiculously juicy meat.
The other good news?
It only takes about an hour and a half (90 minutes) to perfectly smoke your chicken wings to 165°F internal temp.
Crispy, smokey, amazing.
How Long To Smoke Wings At 300°F
Smoking your chicken wings at 300°F is right in that sweet spot. Get yourself enough smokiness but a hot enough temperature to dehydrate and crispen up the chicken skin.
Smoking your chicken wings at 300°F will take about one hour and twenty minutes (80 minutes) to get yourself up to the adequate doneness of 165°F internal.
Although we didn’t experience the same oomph of smokiness that we did at 225°F or 250°F, the chicken wing had a much better bite to it, and a much more delectable skin.
Note: if you’re smoking your chicken wings from frozen, it’s recommended to not smoke them hotter than 300°F as you can quite easily ruin the texture.
How Long To Smoke Wings At 325°F
Smoking your chicken wings at 325°F is still within the recommended 275°F-325°F. Delivering on deliciousness, smokiness, AND crispiness.
Our smoked wings at 325°F only took just over an hour (about 70 minutes) and we couldn’t have been happier with them.
Albeit, it wasn’t loaded with smokiness, it was still much smokier than we expected at 325°F.
How Long To Smoke Wings At 350°F
Smoking wings any 350°F or higher tends to cook them closer to how an oven does them, rather than your typical low and slow smoking.
Still, your chicken wings will be cooked and ready to eat after only about an hour, and they’ll still come out crispy, tender, and juicy.
The only thing they’ll be lacking is that distinct smokiness that you get if you’re smoking your chicken wings at a lower temperature.
Some people prefer them slightly smokey and crispy, some people prefer them full of smoke but with tougher skin.
What’s The Best Temperature For Smoking Chicken Wings?
So, we’ve tested exactly how long it takes to smoke chicken wings at each temperature.
Sure, this helps you choose a smoking temperature that suits your time schedule, but what about if you’ve got all the time in the world?
Well, assuming you’re under no time pressure, we recommend smoking your chicken wings between 275°F-325°F.
Any temperature between 275°F – 325°F will deliver the true essence of smokiness AND allow you to crispen up the skin. We call that the best of both worlds.
What’s more, if you want to prioritize smokiness then 275°F will deliver that extra oomph, but if you want to prioritize texture and crispy skin then 325°F will do it for you.
How Do You Know When Smoked Wings Are Done?
Just like with many traditional barbecue meats, checking the internal temperature will only tell you half the story when it comes to their doneness.
For example, brisket is safe to eat from as low as 150°F internal temperature, but it’s traditionally smoked to at least 195-205°F to allow it to become ridiculously tender, juicy, and to fully develop its bark.
Of course, chicken wings aren’t exactly the same as a brisket. But, before you determine that your chicken wings are done you should:
- Check Their Internal Temperature Is At Least 165°F
- Look For Bubbling Fat
- Check That The Meat Pulls Easily From The Bone
Check Internal Temperature
Before using any other method to check the doneness of your chicken wings, you must first check that the internal temperature has first reached the USDA safe-to-consume temperature of 165°F.
The easiest way to check this is by inserting a probe or instant-read thermometer into your chicken wings at the thickest points, but without touching the bones.
But, just like a lot of other traditional barbecue meats, just because they have reached 165°F doesn’t mean they’re done, it just means they have reached their safe-to-consume temperature.
Even if they read 165°F, you can cook your chicken wings for longer.
This way you can wait until they develop the color, smokiness, or crispiness you’re looking for before taking them off the heat.
Although they don’t have much fat to begin with, a good test of doneness on smoked chicken wings is the visibility of bubbling fat. This bubbling fat can be seen under the skin, but it can often also ooze out of any cracks or breaks in the skin too
Meat Pulls Apart Easily
Another test I like to perform to test the doneness of my chicken wings is to try to pull the meat off the bone.
This is particularly easy on the wingette part of the chicken wing as you can simply start to twist the two bones apart.
If the meat easily pulls away from the bones (and it’s reached an internal temperature of at least 165°F) then we consider it to be perfectly done.
Of course, if you’re cooking hundreds of chicken wings for a crowd then you’re not going to want to pull every wing apart — just try it on one or two or until you’re satisfied
Although the size of the wing is a factor to consider in how long chicken wings take to smoke, the main influence is actually your choice of smoking temperature.
We recommend smoking chicken wings between 275°F – 325°F. Although it takes between 70 and 90 minutes to cook, the result is a much crispier, smokey, and juicy chicken wing.
Still, if you have more or less time up your sleeve you can adjust your smoking temperature to fit your schedule.
Anyone for a wing?