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Buffalo Wings – Smoked & Deep Fried


  • Apply rub to chicken wing pieces.
  • Cook at 225-250°F for 2 hours.
  • Deep-fry at 350°F for 1 minute or crisp wings directly over hot coals.
  • Toss wings in buffalo wing sauce and serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks, and blue cheese dressing.

Buffalo wings served with celery sticks, carrot sticks, and blue cheese dressingBuffalo wings are traditionally deep-fried and then tossed in a mixture of pepper sauce and butter or margarine. With the help of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker, you can add smoky flavor to this popular appetizer.

Here are some photos I took on December 30, 2007 when I prepared these wings.

Select And Prep The Chicken Wings

First and second section chicken wingsPurchase 2-1/2 to 5 pounds of chicken wings. Use a sharp knife to cut off the wing tips and discard. Cut the wing into first and second sections at the joint. Pat dry with paper towels.

The photo above shows 2-1/2 pounds of wings.

You may find “party wings” in the frozen food section at the supermarket. These are already separated into first and second sections, then salted and individually quick frozen. Up to 12% by weight may be water and salt, so fresh wings are the better value.

If using frozen party wings, defrost then rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Since these wings are already salted, reduce the amount of salt in the rub or eliminate it altogether, otherwise the finished product may be too salty.

Apply The Rub

Lightly sprinkle the wings on both sides with your favorite store-bought or homemade rub. I used a store-bought rub on these wings. If you want to make your own, the following recipe would be a good place to start. It’s from the famous barbecue book Smoke & Spice.

Wild Willy’s Number One-derful Rub

  • 6 Tablespoons paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Arrange the wings on the cooking grate so they are close together but not touching. Keep the wings a couple of inches inside the edge of the grate to avoid burning.

Let the wings sit at room temperature as you fire-up your Weber Bullet.

Select The Smoke Wood

Cherry smoke wood chunkUse 1 fist-sized chunk of cherry smoke wood. Apple, oak, or another mild fruit wood can be used instead of cherry. You don’t need any more wood than this. Remember, wings don’t have much meat on the bone, so don’t overpower them with lots of smoke. I used 1 chunk of cherry, shown above.

There is no need to soak the wood or remove the bark before use.

Fire-Up The WSM

Fire-up the cooker using the Minion Method. Fill the charcoal chamber 1/2 full with unlit Kingsford Charcoal Briquets, then use a Weber chimney starter to light 20-40 briquettes and place them on top of the unlit charcoal.

Put the water pan in the cooker and fill it with cold tap water to help with temperature control.

Smoke The Wings

Chicken wings after 2 hours of cookingAssemble the WSM and put the chicken wings into the cooker. About 2-1/2 pounds of wings will fit on each cooking grate.

Set the 3 bottom vents to 100% open. Open the top vent fully and leave it that way throughout the entire cook.

When the cooker reaches about 225°F, set the 3 bottom vents to 25% open so the cooker settles in at 225-250°F measured at the lid. Adjust the 3 bottom vents as necessary to maintain this temperature range throughout the cooking session.

Cook the wings for about 2 hours.

There should be no need to add water to the pan during the cooking session. The wings do not need to be turned or basted, either.

Here’s how the cooker temperatures and vent settings went during my cook:

Time Lid Temp Vent 1 % Vent 2 % Vent 3 %
2:25 pm 100 100 100
2:40 pm 190 100 100 100
2:55 pm 217 100 100 100
3:05 pm 230 25 25 25
3:20 pm 240 25 25 25
3:35 pm 237 25 25 25
4:00 pm 249 25 25 25
4:15 pm 250 25 25 25
4:35 pm 255 25 25 25


Note that the vent percentages represent the way I set the vents at the time indicated.

Deep-Fry The Wings

Buffalo wings are traditionally deep-fried. If you have a deep fryer, use it to crisp the chicken wings before saucing. I used the Waring Pro deep fryer shown here.

Heat 1 gallon of vegetable oil to 350°F. Fry the wings for 1 minute. Fry in small batches, about 9-10 wings at a time. Transfer the wings to a paper towel to drain.

The third photo above shows the wings after frying. The wings are now crispy, smoky, and spicy all at the same time.

No Deep Fryer? Crisp The Wings Over Direct Heat

As an alternative to deep frying, you can crisp the wings directly over the hot coals before saucing them.

  • Remove the lid and set it aside.
  • Carefully lift the middle cooking section off the charcoal bowl and set it aside.
  • Place the cooking grate directly over the hot coals.
  • Grill the wings for just a few minutes on each side. Don’t take your eyes off the cooker! Watch carefully and remove when you have crisp wings.

Sauce & Serve

Buffalo wings served with celery sticks, carrot sticks, and blue cheese dressingThe last step is to coat the chicken in buffalo wing sauce. There are arguments about whether butter or margarine is “authentic”. You can use which ever one you like or have on-hand in the refrigerator.

If using those pre-salted, frozen “party wings” mentioned earlier, consider using unsalted butter in the sauce to avoid overly salty wings.

Buffalo Wing Sauce – Medium Hot

  • 1/2 cup Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

Makes enough sauce for 2-1/2 to 3 pounds of wings; double the recipe for 5 pounds of wings. For mild sauce, use 1/3 cup pepper sauce and 1/3 cup butter. For hot sauce, use 3/4 cup pepper sauce and 1/4 cup butter.

Heat the pepper sauce and butter on the stove top or in the microwave, stirring until the butter is melted and well incorporated into the pepper sauce.

Place the wings in a large mixing bowl, pour some of the sauce over the wings, and toss. Add more sauce, if needed, until coated to your liking.

Close-up of buffalo wingsServe with the traditional accompaniments of celery sticks, carrot sticks, and blue cheese dressing.

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