Smoked Turkey Wings Recipe: It’s Craving Finger-Lickin’ Good

Are you tired of dry, flavorless smoked turkey wings recipe? I can relate – nobody wants a bland bird on their plate. After countless trials and thorough research, it’s clear that the key lies not only in the selection of seasoning but also in mastering the smoking process itself.

This article will guide you to smoke juicy, flavorful turkey wings with an irresistible crispy skin – transforming from a tedious task to a delightful culinary experience. Intrigued? Let’s get smokin’!

Key Takeaways

  • Smoked turkey wings are a flavorful alternative to chicken wings, with a bigger size and bolder taste.
  • A delicious dry rub made with smoked paprika, dark brown sugar, and ground cumin is essential for seasoning the turkey wings before smoking.
  • Preheating the smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit ensures slow and steady cooking for tender and juicy meat.
  • Smoking time can vary but using a meat thermometer helps ensure the turkey wings reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F for proper doneness.
  • To achieve crispy skin on smoked turkey wings, try drying them thoroughly before seasoning, increasing the heat during the last few minutes of cooking, brushing with oil or melted butter, and allowing them to rest before serving.
  • If you don’t have a smoker, you can oven – bake or grill the seasoned turkey wings for delicious results.
  • Serve smoked turkey wings alongside classic Southern sides like collard greens and cornbread or pair them with other dishes like coleslaw or baked beans. Experimenting with different sauces or seasonings adds variety to your meal.

Ingredients and Preparation

To make these delicious smoked turkey wings recipe, you will need turkey wings and a dry rub made from ingredients such as smoked paprika, dark brown sugar, and ground cumin. Once the wings are seasoned and marinated, they are ready to be cooked in the smoker for an irresistible smoky flavor.

Turkey wings

I love turkey wings; they’re the unsung heroes of the bird, in my opinion. They are packed with flavors and yield a good amount of meat, making them perfect for smoking. If you’ve only ever had chicken wings before, prepare to be surprised! Turkey wings are bigger and bolder in flavor, especially when smoked—they soak up smoke very well due to their size and fat content.

This recipe I’m sharing is one I use often at home: it incorporates a mix of smoked paprika, dark brown sugar, and ground cumin for seasoning – a combination that ensures each bite delivers an explosion of delicious smoky-sweet-earthy taste.

Whether your turkey wings come from Kroger or Walmart or anywhere else doesn’t matter—this recipe works great on any type!

Dry rub ingredients

For the perfect balance of flavor and smokiness, I use a delicious dry rub to season my smoked turkey wings. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Smoked paprika: This adds a rich and smoky flavor to the turkey wings.
  • Dark brown sugar: The sweetness of the brown sugar complements the smokiness and adds a caramelized crust.
  • Ground cumin: Cumin gives an earthy and slightly spicy taste to the wings.
  • Kosher salt: Essential for bringing out the flavors in the rub.
  • Black pepper: Adds a bit of heat and enhances the overall taste.
  • Garlic powder: Infuses a savory note into the seasoning blend.
  • Onion powder: Adds a subtle hint of sweetness and depth of flavor.

Seasoning and marinating

To make these delicious smoked turkey wings, it’s important to season and marinate them properly. Here’s how:

  1. Start by rinsing the turkey wings under cold water and patting them dry with paper towels.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the dry rub ingredients: smoked paprika, dark brown sugar, ground cumin, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Sprinkle the dry rub all over the turkey wings, making sure to coat them evenly on all sides.
  4. Massage the dry rub into the wings, ensuring that it adheres well to the meat.
  5. Once the wings are seasoned, place them in a large Ziploc bag or a covered container for marinating.
  6. Refrigerate the turkey wings for at least 4 hours or overnight to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.
  7. Before smoking the wings, remove them from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Smoking the Turkey Wings

To smoke the turkey wings, preheat the smoker to 250 degrees F and prepare your dry rub by mixing smoked paprika, dark brown sugar, and ground cumin. This smoked turkey wings recipe will leave you amazed!

Preheating the smoker

To ensure the perfect smoky flavor and tender texture in your smoked turkey wings, preheating the smoker is a crucial step. I recommend setting the smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit before you start smoking the wings.

This temperature allows for a slow and steady cooking process, allowing the flavors to meld together beautifully. By preheating the smoker, you create an environment that will evenly distribute heat throughout, resulting in even cooking and deliciously smoky turkey wings.

Remember to keep an eye on your thermometer throughout the smoking process to maintain consistent heat.

Cooking time and temperature

Once the turkey wings are seasoned and marinated, it’s time to fire up the smoker. Preheating the smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended for this recipe. This temperature allows for slow and steady smoking, resulting in tender and juicy meat.

When it comes to cooking time, these smoked turkey wings will need around two and a half to three hours on average. However, it’s important to keep in mind that smoking meat is not an exact science, and cooking times can vary depending on factors like the size of the wings and your specific smoker setup.

To ensure perfectly cooked wings, use a meat thermometer to check their internal temperature. They should reach at least 165°F before you take them off the smoker. This will guarantee that they are fully cooked while remaining moist and flavorful.

Crispy Skin on the Wings

To achieve that irresistible crispy skin on your smoked turkey wings, try using a technique called “flash cooling” before serving. This is the best smoked turkey wings recipe you can ever come across.

Techniques for achieving crispy skin

To achieve that perfect crispy skin on your smoked turkey wings, there are a few techniques you can try. First, make sure to dry the wings thoroughly before seasoning and smoking them.

This will help remove any excess moisture from the surface of the skin and promote better browning.

Next, consider using a higher temperature during the last few minutes of cooking. By increasing the heat slightly, you can enhance the Maillard reaction, which is responsible for creating that delicious golden-brown crust on meats.

Just be careful not to overcook or burn the wings in the process.

Another technique to try is brushing some oil or melted butter onto the skin before smoking. This will help create a barrier between the meat and direct heat, resulting in a crispier texture.

Cooling before serving

Once the turkey wings have finished smoking and reached their desired level of crispiness, it’s important to allow them to cool slightly before serving. This allows the flavors to settle and ensures that you don’t burn your mouth on piping hot meat.

I usually let the smoked turkey wings rest for about 5-10 minutes before digging in. During this time, the juices redistribute throughout the meat, making each bite even more succulent and flavorful.

So be patient, take a moment to admire your perfectly cooked wings, and then enjoy them with your favorite side dishes or as a tasty snack on their own.

Alternative Cooking Methods

If you don’t have a smoker, no worries – there are alternative cooking methods for making delicious smoked turkey wings.

Oven-baking turkey wings

One alternative method for cooking delicious smoked turkey wings recipe is to bake them in the oven. To start, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Place the seasoned turkey wings on the baking sheet, making sure they are spaced apart so they cook evenly.

Bake the turkey wings in the preheated oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C). This will ensure that the meat is cooked through and safe to eat.

While oven-baking lacks the smoky flavor of traditional smoking methods, you can still achieve a crispy exterior by broiling them for a few minutes at high heat after they finish baking.

Simply turn on your oven’s broiler setting and place the wings back in under it for a few minutes until nicely browned.

Grilling turkey wings

To switch things up, grilling turkey wings is another fantastic way to enjoy their smoky and savory flavors. After marinating the wings with your favorite seasonings, preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

Place the wings directly on the hot grill grates and cook for about 15-20 minutes per side or until they reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F. The high heat will create a beautifully charred exterior while keeping the meat tender and juicy inside.

Don’t forget to baste them with your favorite barbecue sauce during the last few minutes of cooking for that extra burst of flavor. Grilled turkey wings make a delicious appetizer or main course option for any summer gathering or backyard barbecue.

Serving Suggestions and Variations

To complement the deliciousness of smoked turkey wings, serve them alongside classic Southern sides like collard greens and cornbread. You can also try pairing them with mac and cheese, baked beans, or coleslaw for a tasty twist.

For those looking to switch things up, consider adding a tangy BBQ sauce drizzle or serving the wings with a spicy dipping sauce on the side. Don’t be afraid to get creative – these flavorful turkey wings can be enjoyed in various ways to suit your taste preferences.

Side dishes that pair well with smoked turkey wings

When it comes to serving smoked turkey wings, there are plenty of delicious side dishes that pair perfectly with their rich and smoky flavor. Here are some great options to consider:

  1. Creamy Coleslaw: The cool and creamy texture of coleslaw complements the smokiness of the turkey wings. Its tangy dressing adds a refreshing contrast to the savory meat.
  2. Baked Beans: A classic barbecue side dish, baked beans are a fantastic choice to serve alongside smoked turkey wings. The sweet and savory flavors of the beans enhance the richness of the meat.
  3. Collard Greens: Another traditional Southern favorite, collard greens provide a satisfying earthiness that complements the smoky flavor of the turkey wings. Cooked with bacon or ham hocks for added depth, these greens are a perfect match.
  4. Cornbread: Soft and crumbly cornbread is an excellent accompaniment to smoked turkey wings. It’s a delightful combination of sweet and savory flavors that will have your taste buds singing.
  5. Macaroni and Cheese: Creamy macaroni and cheese make for a comforting side dish that pairs exceptionally well with smoked turkey wings. Its cheesy goodness provides a delightful contrast to the smoky meat.
  6. Potato Salad: This classic barbecue side dish offers a refreshing balance against the rich flavors of smoked turkey wings. The combination of tender potatoes, creamy dressing, and crunchy vegetables adds variety to your plate.

Substitutions and variations for the recipe

When it comes to the smoked turkey wings recipe, there are plenty of opportunities for substitutions and variations. Here are a few ideas to put a unique twist on this delicious dish:

Sauce Variations

  • Instead of using a BBQ dry rub, try a spicy Cajun seasoning for some extra kick.
  • For a sweet and tangy flavor, swap out the dry rub for a honey glaze mixed with your favorite BBQ sauce.

Wood Chips

  • Experiment with different wood chips for smoking, such as applewood or hickory, to impart distinct flavors to the turkey wings.

Marinade Options

  • If you prefer a marinade over a dry rub, mix together soy sauce, garlic powder, brown sugar, and lime juice for an Asian-inspired twist.
  • For a Caribbean flair, marinate the wings in jerk seasoning mixed with pineapple juice.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve the smoked turkey wings with a side of tangy coleslaw or potato salad to balance out the smoky flavors.
  • Make it into a hearty meal by serving the wings alongside cornbread and collard greens.

Cooking Methods

  • If you don’t have access to a smoker, you can still achieve great results by oven – baking the turkey wings at 350°F until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • For those who love grilling, start by smoking the wings in the smoker first and then finish them off on the grill for some additional charred flavors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about smoked turkey wings recipe. Let’s find out.

1. How long does it take to smoke turkey wings?

The smoking time for turkey wings can vary depending on the size and thickness of the wings, but on average, it takes about 2-3 hours at a temperature of around 225°F to fully smoke turkey wings.

2. What type of wood is best for smoking turkey wings?

When smoking turkey wings, hardwoods like hickory, applewood, or mesquite are great choices as they add a rich and smoky flavor that complements the meat well. Experimenting with different woods can help you find your preferred taste.

3. Should I brine turkey wings before smoking them?

Brining is not necessary for turkey wings because they have less meat compared to whole turkeys or chicken. However, if you prefer a more flavorful and juicy result, you can brine the wings in a mixture of saltwater and seasonings for a few hours before smoking.

4. Can I use an electric smoker to smoke turkey wings?

Yes! An electric smoker is perfectly suitable for smoking turkey wings. Just make sure to adjust the temperature accordingly and follow your smoker’s instructions for optimal results.


In conclusion, this smoked turkey wings recipe is a delicious and smoky way to enjoy this flavorful cut of meat. With the right combination of seasonings and the slow cooking process, the wings turn out tender and juicy every time.

Whether you’re using an electric smoker or your oven, these wings are sure to be a hit at any gathering. So fire up that smoker and get ready for some mouthwatering goodness!

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