The Meatwave

Super Smokers Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

Super Smokers Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings View Recipe

Time is running out! I said next year I'm going to shape up my eating, but until then, it's strictly no-holds-barred. I need to show out 2010 in style with something that's juicy, fatty, flavorful and just tastes bad for you in general. New Years Eve is the zero hour, and when I think of sitting around a television, downing beers, and gorging, nothing fits the bill quite like wings.

Super Smokers Wings

This past summer I finally perfected getting crispy wings on the grill, but before that, I kept experimenting with different cooking methods and sauces, and these particular wings were one of my fondest memories of those days. They started out with a nice coating of a pepper heavy rub, and let sit in the fridge overnight so those flavor get deeply ingrained in the wing.

Super Smokers Wings

I was on the right track here to perfectly crisp wings when going for a long, indirect cook, with a wood chunk or two thrown in for good measure. The wing has enough fat to withstand the heat from the grill while still remaining incredibly juicy. Since these were only on the road to extreme crispness, they did crisp up, be lacked the crunch I was aspiring to.

Super Smokers Wings

Where the magic really took flight was in the sauce. After the wings were cooked to my liking, they were piled up in a foil pan and then doused in a sticky sweet and spicy sauce of honey, hot barbecue sauce, and apple juice.

Super Smokers Wings

They were then put back on the grill to let the sauce bake in and thicken. This created a beautiful red, shiny coating that would later make a mess of everything in their path.

Super Smokers Wings

Oh man, were these killer! The smokey meat, peppery rub, and a sticky sauce that started sweet and left a pleasing lingering heat made for a wing filled with layers of flavor and texture. A plate of these left my hands and entire bottom portion of my face (thank god I didn't have a beard yet when I made these) completely covered in the remnants of the sticky sauce, but this is something to be worn proudly, as a vestige of the good/bad eating of this past year and all the happiness it brought.

Print Recipe

Super Smokers Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

  • Yield 8-10 servings
  • Prep 20 Minutes
  • Inactive 30 Minutes
  • Cook 45 Minutes
  • Total 1 Hour 35 Minutes


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 5 pounds chicken wings, rinsed and dried
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup hot barbecue sauce (or more to taste; use your favorite and the hottest sauce you can stand)
  • 3 tablespoons apple juice
  • 2 small chunks of apple wood
  • 1 disposable foil pan


  1. Mix together the pepper, onion powder, chili powder, garlic powder, and seasoned salt in a small bowl. Place the chicken wings in a large Ziploc bag. Pour in the dry rub and shake to coat the wings well. Marinate for at least 30 minutes (at room temperature) or as long as 24 hours (in the refrigerator).
  2. Light a chimney 3/4 full of charcoal. When charcoal is fully lit and covered in gray ash, pour coals out and arrange them on either side of the charcoal grate, keeping the middle empty. Add 1 small chunk of apple wood to both piles of charcoal. When the wood is lit and producing smoke, place the wings in the middle of the grill, not over the coals, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Turn the wings and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. While the wings are cooking, mix the honey, barbecue sauce, and apple juice together in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until warmed through. Place the wings in a disposable foil pan and pour the warm sauce over the wings. Toss to coat evenly. Cover and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the glaze is finished the way you like it. Remove from the grill and serve immediately.

Adapted from Peace, Love, & Barbecue by Mike Mills and Amy Mills Tunnicliffe

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  1. Don G To be fair, wings aren't really that bad if you don't fry them (and don't eat too many). I try to eat well, and grilled wings are usually a good indulgence.

    These pictures are terribly tempting. Must. make. wings. this weekend.

  2. Josh @Don G Maybe these aren't so bad, but my normal buffalo wings are soaked in butter, that can't be good for ya :)

    You should try these, they have great flavor and are something different.

  3. Chris Wings aren't bad for you. Relatively speaking.

    Exceptional pictures, Josh!

  4. Josh @Chris Thanks and Happy New Year!

  5. Mark Josh, found your blog via Serious Eats and the piece on wings (obviously).

    Curious, what brand 'Hot' bbq sauce did you use/like?

    Look forward to your reply and following along.

  6. Josh @Mark Welcome to the Meatwave!

    If I'm not using homemade, I like Dino BBQ's Wango Tango sauce. This is their regular sauce with some added cayenne and habaneros, making it a little fruity and nice and spicy.

  7. Mark Josh thanks for the reply!

  8. Mark Took these babies on a horse back adventure they were GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I did add a little to them with 2tlbs smoked paprika and 2 extra tbs of apple juice (need to be healthy) they got a little black I was cooking on a small gas grill and had a horse get loose by the time I got back they were smokin. But that's ok the dipping sauce saved the day. I used tongs and dipped one by one they were a huge hit with everyone that tried them. Thanks for sharing your receipts.


  9. Michael These sound great, What temp would you say you were cooking them at?

  10. Josh @Michael In the 375-400 degree range.

  11. Michael Great, that would give a nice rendering /crisping of the skin.
    Another question, Would coating the wings with oil (veg, canola, or evoo) before you add the rub to marinade overnight allow the spices to better meld with the wings?

  12. Josh @Michael I never do that with my wings. The rendering fat from the wings has always done the trick to help crisp the skin and fuse the rub onto the skin.

  13. Michael Thanks for all the info
    BTW, love your site
    Keep on Smokin!