These smoked wings are a tasty treat you can enjoy two ways – dry rubbed or finished with a generous coating of barbecue sauce.
Wings are an all-american snack food and so easy to prepare. They don’t require any trimming and have a short cooking time. A few easy steps can really up your wing-game, and brining is one of them. Much like a turkey at Thanksgiving, poultry can be brined in a salty solution to promote moisture retention in the meat. Put simply, brining meat makes it tender and juicy. This brine recipe has crisp pilsner beer and a generous amount of lemon for bright and zingy notes.
Now, if you prefer to skip the brine altogether, no problem! You can easily drop that step and continue on with the seasoning and smoking. This is also a “choose your own adventure” in terms of finished product, too. Prefer a dry rub finish wiht crispier skin? Just take the wings off the smoker when done. Rather a saucy sweet finish? Just brush the wings with your BBQ sauce of choice and give them a few extra minutes for the sauce to gel. Or, just split the difference and do half/half and see which you prefer!
Beer Brined BBQ Wings with Hardcore Carnivore Red
2.5 lb whole chicken wings (about 10)
4–6 tablespoons Hardcore Carnivore Red rub
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (optional)
For the Brine:
24 oz beer
1 cup water
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
5–6 allspice berries
1 lemon, sliced
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp peppercorns
- Start by making the brine. In a saucepan, combine all brine ingredients and heat over medium flame until sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove brine from heat and allow to cool. Place chicken in a large non reactive bowl or zip top bag and pour over room temperature brine. Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
- Preheat a smoker to run at 250f.
- Remove from the brine, discarding the liquid, and rinse under cold water. Pat each wing dry and arrange on a rack or tray. Generously season on both sides with Hardcore Carnivore Red rub.
- Place wings in to the smoker, meat side up. You’ll keep them this way throughout the entire cook – if you turn them you will lose the crust you have been building up. Cook wings until a thermometer registers 165f at the thickest part of the meat.
- At this stage, you have great dry rub smoked wings. To turn them into a sauced wing, simply brush bbq sauce across the top of each wing and continue to smoke for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has set and gelled.