Smoked Turkey Wings is a classic recipe that reminds me of country fairs and large fall festivals! It uses a traditional BBQ rub and is virtually hands-off!
🍽️ Why This Works
Simple – This recipe uses Turkey Wings, a dry rub and olive oil spray, which is used as a binding agent. Once it is on the grill, it is hands-off!
Inexpensive – Turkey Wings are usually inexpensive and I can find them on sale periodically at the grocery store. When I do, I stock up and freeze the ones I am not going to use right away.
Serves a lot – I usually find these in four-packs, which serves our family with enough for leftovers.
📝 Ingredient Notes
Turkey Wings – These usually come trimmed already, but it not, use a heavy duty kitchen knife to cut off the wing tip and separate the wing from the drumette. You may find that a sturdy pair of poultry shears help.
BBQ Rub – Use your favorite poultry rub. There is no need to buy anything special. The smoke will pair with the rub.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Wood Chips – I used Apple Wood Chips for this. It is a mild fruit wood that pairs well with a lot of different foods. Check out my Wood Pairing reference guide or Best Wood for Smoking Turkey for more options
Tip: If you plan to smoke much, look online for larger quantities of wood. The small bags at your local hardware store are much more expensive per pound. As with most things, a larger box of smoking wood is cheaper in the long run.
Poultry Shears – These are heavy duty scissors that are specifically designed for cutting through the cartilage and small bones of chickens and small fowl. They are a life-saver and you only need to buy them once. You’re going to use these a lot once you start Spatchcocking Turkeys, Chickens and Cornish Hens.
Smoking Box – If you have a gas grill, use a smoking box to smoke this recipe. It is a stainless steel hinged box that you can add wood chips. It sits on your burners and provides a wonderful smoke. So, don’t think you need a Traeger or Big Green Egg to get a good smoke.
Step One: If your butcher did not separate the wing tip, drumette and wing, use a sturdy kitchen knife or poultry shears to separate them. Throw out the wing tip. There isn’t enough meat on there to save.
Step Two: Place the pieces in a large Ziploc bag and spray lightly with olive oil. Work the wings around to make sure they are evenly coated.
Step Three: Open the bag and pour in the rub. Work it around for an even coat.
Step Four: Preheat the grill on indirect heat to 250°. If you are using a gas grill, turn off the center burners. For a Big Green Egg, add the plate setter.
Step Five: Place the turkey wings on the grill grate, towards the center. Let them smoke until the internal temperature reaches 165°. This should take between 90 – 120 minutes.
Note: This is a low-and-slow cook. There is no need to turn the wings over, as the indirect heat heats all around the meat, and the smoke will penetrate all sides. It truly is a set-and-forget recipe.
Remove the wings when the internal temperature reaches 165°. Let them rest for ten minutes and serve.
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
I did not include a BBQ sauce, as I loved them with just the dry rub. If you do want a sauce, try the Dr. Pepper Sauce we used with our pork loin, or our homemade Cherry Bourbon BBQ sauce. Be creative if you do use a sauce.
Use a wireless thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the wings. You want to make sure that they reach 165° before you remove them.
Storage and Reheating
These were too large for my traditional Tupperware containers, so I kept leftovers in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag in the refrigerator. They will stay good for about three days.
If you are freezing leftovers, wrap them in Press-n-Seal and then store in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag.
To reheat, place in the microwave until warmed, about one to two minutes.
Additions and Substitutions
Use your favorite rub. I even like a simple poultry seasoning for that classic autumn flavoring.
This process works the same for chicken wings. I wrote about how to smoke chicken wings and you can read how I basted it at the end with a mop of a BBQ sauce.
Note: You do not need to brine these before smoking. I didn’t see much of a difference with either a dry brine or a wet brine. If you are smoking a whole bird or thick piece of meat, it does help, but these wings are pretty thin.
While these are resting, it’s time to grill some fresh veggies to serve with the wings. I recommend some grilled parsnips that only take a few minutes to turn golden brown, and are tangy-delicious!
Since you already have the grill set up for smoking, try some smoked cauliflower. This will take a few extra minutes, but the end result is fantastic and complements the wings perfectly.
Lastly, try some grilled baby potatoes for a fast side dish. They are loaded with garlic and sweet peppers and easy to grab on the skewers.
At 250 degrees, it takes approximately two hours to smoke turkey wings; however, your goal is for the internal temperature to reach 165°.
Yes. The process to cook them is using a smoker. The internal temperature still reached the USDA recommended 165°.
Don’t keep them more than about three days. If you think you need to keep them longer, then store them in the freezer in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag.
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Smoked Turkey Wings
- 6 Turkey Wings
- Olive Oil spray
- ½ cup BBQ Rub
- ½ cup BBQ Sauce (optional)
- Set up your grill for indirect heat and bring the temperature to 250°.
- Add your favorite wood chips. I recommend keeping this on the mild side with a fruitwood or pecan.
- Trim excess fat off of the turkey wings and liberally coat all sides with your favorite dry rub. I used a Ziploc bag with the wings and rub.
- Place the wings on the grill and let them smoke until they reach 165°, which should take close to two hours. Make sure to check them with a temperature probe.
- Optional: If you want to use a BBQ sauce, mop it on the wings about 10 minutes before you are ready to remove them. This will help the sugars caramelize and create that heavenly, sticky mess!
- Remove from the smoker and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.