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My secret to the most irresistible Buffalo Smoked Chicken Wings

Carolina Pepper Works Grilled Wings
Crispy Buffalo Smoked Wings Carolina Pepper Works Original

Crispy Buffalo Smoked Chicken Wings

I want to share my smoked wings experience with everyone. It took many trials to make them irresistible using a kamado-type charcoal grill and an air fryer. This method delivers a smoky flavor, crisp skin, and some slightly sweet heat.

About the grilling equipment…

I had gas grills for years then decided one day to buy a charcoal grill – I purchased the Akorn which is a Kamado-type charcoal grill. When smoking meats with a Kamado-type grill, you will need a heat deflector which in effect makes the grill surface above the ceramic piece more or less indirect heat. If you have the Akorn grill, you can readily purchase a thick ceramic piece. A similar piece is available for other brands.

It is best to smoke the chicken wings uncut – with the three sections intact. I find when smoking cut-up chicken wings they tend to dry out. I also smoke them above a water pan, the steam helps cook the wings and allows for moist, juicy wings when finished smoking.

For a water pan, I use a Lodge branded 15” carbon steel pan, I use a stainless steel grate on top of the pan so the steam is directly below the smoking wings. This Lodge pan fits snugly on top of the Akorn grilling surface.

The cooking grate is a Weber stainless steel grate.

Preparing the wings…

I use a simple dry rub for the wings – a 50/50 mix of paprika and brown sugar. I mix it together in a small bowl and be sure the clumps in the brown sugar are broken up into about as fine as the paprika. Then I sprinkle it over the skin side of the chicken as shown to the right.

Spray the grate with cooking spray for easier cleanup. Place the grate on the water pan and place the wings on top of the cooking grate and arrange the pieces such that as much chicken is exposed as possible (see photos).

Cooking the wings…

Start the grill and get the temperature between 250º and 300º F. You can add Applewood, Hickory, or a mix of both to add more smoke flavor. Place on the grill and smoke for 45 minutes to an hour, until the wings are fully cooked internally and have a golden brown color on the skin. Remove them from the grill before they over-cook and become dried out. If you do not plan to eat them right away, you may refrigerate them or freeze them at this time so they are ready to eat later.

Up to this point, the smoking method does not provide crispy skin. To crisp the skin, I use an air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 400º F. Place the smoked wings on the air fryer rack and fry at 400º F for 15-20 minutes, or until the wings are done to your liking. If they are in the fryer for longer periods of time, the internal chicken meat will continue to cook. My wife prefers the wings to be more done, so I cook her wings longer in the air fryer than I do my own.

Finishing the wings…

Once the wings are fried to your liking, take them out and generously coat them with Carolina Pepper Works Original Sauce. You will find the honey and brown sugar in the sauce brings out the smoke flavor of the wings.

Akorn Charcoal Grill
15" Lodge Pan
stainless steel grate
Seasoned Chicken Wings
Carolina Pepper Works Original Cayenne Dipping Sauce