This is the best Chicken Wing Rub for smoking! A handful of simple spices work their magic to infuse savory, smoky, and spicy flavors into chicken wings before they’re smoked to crispy perfection. The BEST way to make flavor-packed chicken wings!
The only way to make game day complete is with a huge platter of appetizers, including smoked chicken wings.
For the best smoked chicken wings, be sure to coat them in this flavorful dry rub beforehand! It’s a simple spice blend that’s the secret to extra delicious wings.
All you need to make this smoked chicken wing rub are a handful of simple spices, brown sugar, and baking powder. The ingredients work together to not only crisp up and caramelize the wings, but also ensure that every bite is jam-packed with smoky, savory flavors.
Best of all, this is a no-fuss recipe that doesn’t involve making a wing sauce from scratch or cleaning up a big mess. Just toss the wings in the spices, smoke them on your grill, and enjoy!
What is a dry rub?
A dry rub, or spice rub, is a mix of dry spices and sugar used to infuse well-balanced layers of heat, smoke, and sweetness on chicken, beef, pork, and seafood. The spices are rubbed on the outside of the meat before cooking to not only give them more flavor but also a caramelized crispy crust.
While chicken wings are a star ingredient in this recipe, they just wouldn’t be as special without being tossed in the dry rub made from these simple spices:
- Brown sugar – Believe it or not, sugar is key in a chicken wing rub. Its sweetness balances out the smoke and spice from the spices as well as forms a caramelized crust around the chicken.
- Baking powder – Baking powder fuses to the outside of the chicken wings as they smoke to form an extra crispy crust. I don’t recommend replacing this with baking soda as it can leave a metallic flavor behind.
- Smoked paprika – Regular paprika will do if that’s what you already have at home, but the wings won’t be as smoky.
- Chili powder and chipotle chili powder – Using both chili powder and chipotle chili powder gives the dry rub deep layers of earthiness, smoke, and spice. While I recommend using both, you can stick to just one if that’s all you have at home.
- Garlic and onion powder – Garlic and onion powder work together to give the rub a distinct savory flavor that compliments the smokiness and subtle spice.
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
How to smoke chicken wings
First, make the dry rub by mixing the sugar and spices together in a bowl or jar. Use it right away or store it for later.
To make the dry rubbed chicken wings, add the wings to a large ziplock bag. Add the baking powder and the spice rub, seal the bag closed, then toss to coat. You can use your hands to massage all of the spices onto the meat as well.
Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees.
Arrange the chicken wings on the smoker grate, close the lid and let cook for 50-70 minutes (until the internal temperature reaches 160-162 degrees.
Remove the wings from the smoker and increase the temperature to it’s highest temperature. Once hot, return the chicken wings the the grate and sear for about one minute per side, until crispy.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, then enjoy!
Tips and tricks
- You can make this recipe with both fresh and frozen chicken wings. Make sure to thaw the wings beforehand, then pat them dry with paper towels.
- Cook the wings as soon as they’re coated in the dry rub or let them rest overnight to give those gorgeous flavors time to soak into the meat.
- Serve the wings with blue cheese dressing, ranch dressing, or any of these 25+ sauces for wings for dipping.
More ways to use chicken wing dry rub
A dry spice rub is an easy way to add layers of flavor to any chicken wing recipe without needing a sauce. However, you aren’t limited to only using the blend on chicken wings! Instead, try rubbing the spices over any of these meats:
- Chicken Legs
- Chicken Breasts
- Whole Roasted Chicken
- Chicken Thighs
- Smoked Pork Belly
- Pork Chops
- Chuck Roast
- Beef Short Ribs
You can mix and match the spices in this recipe when you want to play with the flavor balance, spice level, and more. Use the ideas below to play around with the flavors and find your perfect blend:
- Dried herbs: Oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, or basil.
- Savory: Mustard powder, paprika, turmeric, or cumin.
- Spicy: Cayenne, ancho chili powder, or red pepper flakes.
Coat the wings in the dry rub before cooking. This way, the spices have a chance to work their magic and seep into the meat.
This can happen if the chicken wings weren’t patted dry beforehand. Dry them really well with paper towels before tossing them in the spice rub to help the spices stick.
If they still aren’t sticking, toss the wings in a thin layer of vegetable oil before coating them in the dry rub.
Either smoke the dry rub wings right away or let them remain coated in the dry rub for as little as 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
The dry rub will last for up to 6 months when stored in an airtight container in your pantry or on your spice rack.
More homemade seasoning blends
More chicken wing recipes
More smoked meat recipes
Did you try this chicken wing rub for smoking?
If you loved this smoked chicken wing spice blend, I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
Chicken Wing Rub for Smoking
- Make the dry rub by mixing the sugar, baking powder, and spices together in a bowl or jar. Use it right away or store it for later.
- To make dry rub chicken wings, add the dried wings and drumettes to a large ziplock bag. Add the spice rub, seal the bag closed, then toss to coat. You can use your hands to massage all of the spices onto the meat as well.
- Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees.
- Arrange the chicken wings on the smoker grate, close the lid and let cook for 50-70 minutes (until the internal temperature reaches 160-162 degrees.
- Remove the wings from the smoker and increase the temperature to it's highest temperature. Once hot, return the chicken wings the the grate and sear for about one minute per side, until crispy.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!