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 or make your own and store it in a small bowl until it’s time to use it. 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 pellet grill 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. You can use a tablespoon to pour it in batches. Work it around for an even coat. Optionally, let the wings sit in the fridge for one hour to absorb the flavors of the rub.
Step Four: Preheat the grill on indirect heat to 250°F. 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°F. Use a digital meat thermometer for an accurate measurement. This should take 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 degrees F. Let them rest for ten minutes and serve.
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
Be creative if you do use a sauce. There are plenty of options that work well for a smoked turkey wing recipe.
Use a wireless thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the wings. You want to make sure that they reach 165°F 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 warm, about one to two minutes.
Additions and Substitutions
Smoked turkey wings are an incredibly delicious main dish that works for any occasion and would certainly elevate Thanksgiving dinner.
Use your favorite rub and don’t be afraid to experiment with spices. I even like a simple poultry seasoning for that classic autumn flavoring.
Here are some of the most popular ingredients for dry rubs so you can make your own!
- Salt & black pepper – classics that work perfectly even on their own
- Smoked paprika (or regular)
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Brown sugar
- Chili powder
- Dry mustard
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 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.
Tip: Need more options to serve with smoked turkey wings? These chicken wings sides and BBQ chicken sides go well with their turkey counterparts and the same can be said for this comprehensive selection of BBQ sides!
More Grilled And Smoked Turkey Recipes
As long as you follow a few simple steps you can enjoy a variety of grilled and smoked turkey recipes.
Any of the recipes below will be highly appreciated by your guests and make your BBQ cookout a total success.
Smoked Turkey Recipes
- Smoked Turkey Legs – A quick smoker recipe, just like the smoked turkey wings that will have you enjoy delicious smoky meat off the bone!
- Smoked Turkey Breast – Wet brining ensures you’ll get super juicy turkey breast everyone will love.
- Whole Smoked Turkey – Smoking the entire bird has a unique appeal. We used a wet brine to make sure the meat turns out moist and tender. Read our guide on how to thaw a turkey if you purchased a frozen one.
- Smoked Spatchcock Turkey – This special technique flattens the bird making it easier to spread the seasonings and reducing the smoking time!
Grilled Turkey Recipes
- Amazing Grilled Turkey Legs – Grilling gives a milder wood flavor but it’s also fast and delicious. You can never go wrong with grilled turkey legs.
- Whole Grilled Turkey – If you don’t have a smoker, grilling the bird is the next best thing. And much faster too!
- Grilled Spatchcock Turkey – The same method discussed above also works for grilling turkey. The flattened bird will cook faster and more evenly.
- Grilled Turkey Burger – Grilled turkey patties make a fast meal that’s super easy to customize. Once you try this easy recipe, you’ll be craving burgers a lot more often!
At 250 degrees F, it takes approximately two hours to smoke turkey wings; however, your goal is for the internal temperature to reach 165°F.
Yes. The process to cook them is using a smoker. The internal temperature recommended for cooked poultry by the USDA is 165°F.
Don’t keep them for 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.
Microwave the wing for 1-2 minutes or place it in a roasting pan with some liquid and reheat in the oven preheated at 350 degrees F until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
If your turkey wings are rubbery, they were probably cooked for too long at a low heat. Turkey wings are best smoked at 250°F on indirect heat, and your goal needs to be the internal temperature of 165°F, not the total time. Using a digital meat thermometer is the best way to make sure your wings are fully cooked but not overcooked.
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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.
Jason’s been firing up the grill for over 30 years after graduating from the US Coast Guard Academy. His love of finely-grilled steak and chicken led him to buy his first Weber grill to put on his apartment patio in 1992. Each military move led to a new grill (a mixture of gas and charcoal) until he fell in love with the Big Green Egg in 2008. Since then, he has added another 4 grills to the collection. Yes, he has a problem. Jason loves smoking in the ceramic BGE with exotic woods including olive wood from Egypt and hard to find varieties such as sassafras and orange wood. Jason takes the term “foodie” to a whole new level, jumping at the chance to take food tours and cooking classes during foreign travels. These have provided inspiration to incorporate new ideas into recipes when he gets back home. He has been featured in Fox News, Parade, Yahoo News, Kansas City Living and more. After retiring from the military and moving to southwest Florida, he has focused grilling and smoking locally sourced meats and fish (read: he likes to catch his own fish!)