Smoked Turkey Wings – Bursting with flavor, mouthwatering, and oh-so-tender. And that’s not all! If you’re watching your figure, this delectable recipe might just be the perfect bargain. These smoking-hot turkey wings are sure to be the star of any party.
One of the things I enjoy about the kitchen is putting new twists on traditional foods. So last week, while enjoying some drool-worthy smoked chicken wings, I asked myself, what could possibly make this better?
That’s when I thought, go big or go home! It’s like getting twice the flavor, crunch, and fall-off-the-bone tenderness for the same time and effort. Your family will love you for it, so stick around and indulge.
Turkey Wings vs. Chicken Wings
In American culture, people traditionally save turkey for special occasions such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. And if you’ve ever visited Disneyland or Dollywood, you’ve probably tried their famous smoked turkey legs.
Let’s get real, though; why would anyone ever prefer turkey wings over their more widely enjoyed counterpart?
As with everything in life, it comes down to good “ole” preference. However, smoked turkey wings could be your savior on any given day, and it has to do with calories. Turns out that turkey wings contain significantly fewer calories while packing the same protein content as chicken wings. Go figure…pun intended!
So turkey wings deserve more attention than they get. And today, we’re going to step outside the box and do just that!
- Turkey Wings – Buying just the wings part for this recipe is more convenient and less time-consuming. You can get them with the wingettes and drumettes attached. This way, you save your coins. 😉
- Dry Rub – For a fabulous rub, I use kosher salt, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, dried oregano, sage, freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, and celery seed.
How to Smoke Turkey Wings
Prep the Wings
- Separate Parts – Separate the wingettes and the drumettes with a sharp knife. (Photo 1)
- Dry – Pat the turkey wings dry.
- Preheat Smoker – At this point, you want to preheat your smoker to 225℉/107℃.
Apply the Dry Rub
- Season Turkey Wings – Lightly season your meat with salt. Thoroughly mix spices until blended, then coat the wings with the dry rub mixture. No need to rub in your dry rub; tossing or patting it in is enough. (Photos 2-4)
- Load the Smoker – When ready to smoke, place turkey wings directly on grill plates, wait for the initial blast of smoke to clear (highly recommended), then close the lid.
- Serve – Smoke for 1½-2 hours or until the internal temperature is at least 165°F/75℃. Remove the wings from the smoker and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with BBQ or dipping sauce of choice.
- Spicy – Since we’re already stepping outside the box, why not take this recipe a step further and make them hot? Use your favorite hot sauce as the dipping sauce of choice for some spicy turkey wings.
- Dry Rub Swap – Instead of using the dry rub mixture, add a Caribbean touch and season with jerk seasoning. Make sure to let it marinate for at least 8 hours before smoking.
- Smoked Turkey Legs – This recipe also makes equally delicious smoked turkey legs. Swap out those turkey wings for turkey legs. Kids are sure to love it!
Tips and Tricks
- Use kosher salt if possible because it dissolves better. So it absorbs into the meat without making it too salty, and it’s iodine-free, reducing the chance of bitterness.
- After patting dry, lightly coat the turkey wings with olive oil. This will ensure the dry rub adheres to the wings.
If you want to get ahead, you can prep the turkey wings and apply the dry rub one day in advance.
- Apply the rub.
- Place them in a sheet pan.
- Cover them with plastic wrap (or not, so they dry for crispier skin).
- Store them in your fridge.
This also allows more time for the spices to blend into the wings.
Serving and Storage Instructions
To enjoy these to the max, allow them to rest for ten minutes after removing them from the smoker. As with any wings, these are the best hot. Garnish as desired; a little chopped-up parsley has never steered me wrong ;).
For safe leftover storage, allow the wings to completely cool and refrigerate them in an airtight container for 5 days or freeze them for 4-5 months.
Reheating is easy-peasy! Low and slow in the oven works well (defrost frozen turkey wings in the fridge overnight); you can also pop them in the microwave.
The short answer is no. If the turkey wings have been smoked, they’ve been cooked and can be consumed as they are. However, heating them up makes them more enjoyable.
Yes, you can. Overcooking can result in dry and chewy turkey wings. To prevent this, use an instant-read thermometer and remove the wings when they reach 165°F/75℃.
You have a few options to get that extra crisp. First, rub it with your dry rub and let your wings air dry for 24 hours in the fridge. The dryer the skin, the crispier it gets.
Second, oil or butter not only helps the spices stick better, but it improves the skin’s crispiness.
Third, don’t cover the wings with foil after it finishes smoking so the skin doesn’t steam.
What to Serve With Smoked Turkey Wings
The beauty of these wings is they’re incredibly simple to pair. For dinner, they go great with bacon mac and cheese. Or, if you want to go lighter, avocado corn salad or bacon-wrapped green beans are excellent.
Of course, if you’re entertaining for fun, exciting finger foods like chili-cheese fries or grilled coconut corn. And vegetable sides are always a hit.
More Mouthwatering Main Course Recipes to Try
Impressing your loved ones has never been easier with this recipe for drool-worthy, fall-off-the-bone, delectable turkey wings. Are you planning to make these for your next party? Drop me a comment below!
Smoked Turkey Wings
- 4 pounds turkey wings
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1½ teaspoons sage
- ½ tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds (optional)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (see notes)
- Locate the joint between the drumette and the wingette (the flat part of the wings), place the knife, and cut right through to separate the two pieces.
- Preheat your smoker to 225℉/107℃. Keeping the lid open until the initial blast of smoke has cleared before closing is highly recommended. Always remember that each smoker is different; follow manufacturer instructions for the best results.
- In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, onion, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, sage, ground pepper, cayenne pepper, mustard, paprika, and celery seeds. Add salt if desired.
- Wash turkey wings and thoroughly dry them with a paper towel. Discard the paper towel after use.
- Place the turkey wings in a large plate or bowl, lightly season with salt, then thoroughly cover with the dry rub.
- Place wings directly on grill plates—smoke for 1½-2 hours or until the internal temperature is at least 165°F/75℃.
- Remove the wings from the grill and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve with BBQ sauce on the side or your preferred dipping sauce. Enjoy!
- It’s best to smoke your food between 225-250°F/107-120℃ for best results, especially if you want that deliciously smoky flavor.
- Kosher salt dissolves better, so it absorbs into the meat without making it too salty, and it’s iodine-free, reducing the chance of bitterness.
- Store the extra dry rub in a glass jar for up to six months.
- Please remember that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.