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How to Make Smoked Turkey Wings

Learn how to make the best smoked turkey wings on ANY grill or smoker, whether its a Traeger or Pit Boss pellet grill, a Masterbuilt propane smoker, or just a simple Weber kettle!

Smoked turkey wings are easy to make and can be served just like giant chicken wings! Best of all…they are delicious!

Let’s get started!

smoked turkey wings on a plate with crispy skin

Turkey wings don’t usually get a lot of love around Thanksgiving time with everyone typically going for the classic breast or thigh meat on the big bird.

However, did you know smoked turkey wings can be prepared in almost the same way as smoked chicken wings?

They’re just bigger, meatier, and of course…delicious!

Now you know we love smoking turkey at Mad Backyard, especially our world famous Pellet Grill Thanksgiving Turkey, our fool proof Spatchocked Turkey, a Cajun Butter Injected Smoked Turkey Breast, caveman inspired Turkey Legs and of course the show stopping Trash Can Turkey!

But for our smoked turkey wings we chose to use a simple dry BBQ rub that lets you really enjoy the flavor of the turkey.

You can definitely add buffalo sauce and ranch dressing, brush on a sweet BBQ sauce, or even serve them with gravy and mashed potatoes!

Let’s go!

 

Preparing the Turkey Wings to be Smoked

raw turkey wings

You’ll need to do a little work on your turkey wings before you put them in the smoker.

A full turkey wing actually has three components:

  • The Drumette
  • The Flat
  • The Wing Tip

Just like with chicken wings, we need to separate the drumette from the flat and discard the wing tip.

Why do we do this?

The flats tend to cook faster than the drumettes so you can remove them from the grill or smoker first if needed.

It also results in a better presentation and makes the turkey wings much easier to serve and eat.

 

How to Separate the Turkey Wing Flats and Drumettes

Give the turkey wings a good rinse and pat them dry with a paper towel and place them on a cutting board.

a raw turkey wing on a cutting board

You’ll need a good sharp knife to cut through the joint.

We used our favorite boning knife from iMarku and it made swift work of our turkey wings.

First, spread the drumette away from the flat to get a sense of where they connect.

spreading apart a raw turkey wing

Next, cut through the skin connecting the two pieces until your knife gets to the joint itself.

separating a raw turkey wing with a knife

Now that the skin is cut you can really pull the two pieces apart and see exactly where they connect at the joint.

pulling apart a turkey wing at the joint

Take your knife and cut right through the joint at about a 45 degree angle to the flat right where the two bones connect.

separating a turkey wing drumette and flat with a knife

It may look like you are cutting off a corner of the flat but that’s ok, that’s where the joint actually is.

a separated turkey wing drumette and flat on a cutting board

If there is a wingtip (ours did not have any wingtips so they are not in the pictures) then cut those off the other end of the flat in the same way.

The wingtips have very little meat and will likely just burn on the smoker and not look very nice.

 

Trimming the Turkey Wings to Smoke

You should now have separated flats and drumettes on your cutting board.

Before you season them you’ll want to take a minute to cut off extra skin on each piece.

This will keep you from having excess skin hanging off the smoked turkey wings that won’t crisp up at the end of the cook.

Start with the drumettes and find any skin that hangs over the edge when you lay the piece flat.

trimming a turkey wing drumette

Trim it off with the your sharp boning knife.

trimming a turkey wing flat

Repeat with the flats and you are ready to season the turkey wings and get started smoking them!

raw turkey wings on a tray

 

How to Make Smoked Pig Shots
How to Make Smoked Pig Shots

Our Favorite Seasonings for Smoked Turkey Wings

Let’s talk about seasoning up these smoked turkey wings!

You can go with any flavors you like but we recommend not using any SUGAR!

We’ll get into cooking temperature later, but for now just know we are going to finish these in “Roasting” territory around 400°F, so any sugar we use in our seasoning is going to burn.

So stay away from any rubs with sugar in them and opt instead for more savory spices like salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder.

You can always brush on a sweet barbecue sauce or honey glaze at the very end without burning the sugar.

If you really want to use an easy off the shelf barbecue rub, we’d suggest our favorite NO-SUGAR store-bought barbecue rub Bad Byron’s Butt Rub.

Bad Byron's butt rub

Its heavy on flavor but unlike most other off the shelf BBQ seasonings, contains no sugar.

We love it on beef roasts and steaks, as it won’t burn at those high roasting and searing temperatures.

It’s also great for anyone watching their sugar intake who loves BBQ!

If you want to make your own quick No-Sugar Savory Smoked Turkey Rub, mix up the following ingredients for about 4 full size Turkey Wings:

  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Dry Mustard
  • 1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper (options for heat)

You can always add more or less salt depending on your preferences.

Don’t use any oil to help the rub adhere as this can keep the skin from getting crispy and rendering correctly later.

The moisture in the skin should be more than enough to help the rub stick.

Make sure to be generous on each side!

 

The Best Woods for Smoking Turkey Wings

pouring apple pellets in a pit boss hopper

For turkey we generally go for a milder smoke flavor by choosing oak or fruitwood pellets.

Pecan, apple, beech and cherry all give great results.

For fun, you can choose your woods seasonally, using beech and cherry in spring and summer and pecan and apple into the fall and winter.

 

Best Times and Temperatures for Smoked Turkey Wings

setting a pit boss pellet grill to 220 225 degrees

Most conventional barbecue like beef brisket and pork shoulder is smoked “low and slow” in the 225-275°F range for the entire cook.

The problem with smoking turkey this way is that while yes, you will get a lot of smoky flavor, your turkey wing skin will still be rubbery and unappetizing when the wings are finished cooking.

In the same way we finish our chicken wings “hot and fast,” we are going to do the same with our smoked turkey wings!

We start them “Low and Slow” at 225°F for about 90 minutes before cranking the heat up to 400°F to finish them off for the last 15 minutes or so.

So first set up your smoker for 225°F with INDIRECT heat.

More on how exactly to do this on various grills and smokers below.

 

How Long Does it Take to Smoke Turkey Wings?

smoking turkey wings in a smoker

For the first 90 to 120 minutes at 225°F, check the smoked turkey wings every 30 minutes or so to make sure they are cooking evenly on the smoker and rotate and flip as necessary if you see certain sides getting darker or looking more done.

setting a pit boss pellet grill to 400 degrees F

After those first 90 to 120 minutes, once the internal temperature of the turkey wings has reached about 140°F internally, you can crank the heat up to 400°F and they will take about another 15-20 minutes to finish cooking.

Make sure during this phase to turn, flip, and rotate them frequently so that all the skin gets nice and rendered and crispy.

smoked turkey wings on a grill

You may find your smoked turkey wings only need an additional 10 minutes depending how fast your grill to smoker increases in temperature.

For example, a gas or charcoal grill will rise in temperature MUCH faster than a pellet grill like a Traeger or Pit Boss.

 

Target Internal Temperature for Smoked Turkey Wings

You HAVE to use a good instant read meat thermometer to know where the internal temperature is of your smoked turkey wings.

If you don’t yet own an instant read thermometer, ThermoPro makes a good one.

an instant read thermometer showing 165 degrees on smoked turkey wings

We are going to bring the internal temperature of our smoked turkey wings up to at least 165°F.

So once they hit about 140-145°F internally during the first “smoking” phase you can crank the heat and then continue cooking hot and fast until they reach 165°F.

 

Setting up your Grill or Smoker for Smoked Turkey Wings

You’ll need to set up your grill or smoker a little different depending on whether you are using a grill, smoker, or a pellet grill like a Traeger or Pit Boss.

Here are the best instructions for setting up different types of grills and smokers to make smoked turkey wings so go ahead and skip down to the type you are using!

 

Smoked Turkey Wings in a Vertical or Offset Charcoal Smoker

Weber 22-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker

Weber Smokey Mountain on Amazon

Fill your firebox or lower charcoal basin with about a chimney’s worth of unlit charcoal and create a small hollowed out depression in the center where you can add your lit briquets.

If your smoker comes with a water pan, like the Weber Smokey Mountain, don’t bother with filling it.

Light a charcoal chimney with just a handful of briquets and wait about 15 minutes for them to fully ignite.

Oil the racks of the smoker with a paper towel to keep the turkey wings from sticking later.

Once lit, add the briquets to the center depression you created.

Keep the dampers about 1/2 way to 3/4 open until the temperature is in the 200°F range.

Add 1 chunk of smoking wood once the smoker is up to temperature, put the seasoned turkey wings on the oiled racks.

Then slowly close down the top and bottom dampers to about 1/3-1/4 open until you are maintaining a temperature of about 225°F.

After 90 minutes, or when the internal temperature of the turkey wings is 140°F, fully open the vents up on the top and bottom of the smoker.

Use a fireplace poker to stir the charcoal around and get more oxygen flow to the briquets.

Watch as the temperature rises to around 350-375°F and then start closing the vents down again back to 1/2 way open (or os open as needed) until maintaining a temperature of 400°F in the smoker.

Continue cooking the turkey wings as described above until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

Want to see a list of our FAVORITE Vertical Smokers for 2022?  Check it out here!

 

Smoked Turkey Wings in Propane and Electric Smokers

a masterbuilt electric smoker with the door closed full of smoke and a pork butt

Masterbuilt Electric Smoker on Amazon

Propane and electric options are some of the easiest smokers for beginners to start with.

Debating whether to buy a propane or electric smoker?  Check out our COMPLETE Comparison Guide HERE.

 

For Propane: Open your gas valve and light the bottom burner. Adjust it to keep the temperature constant at 225° F.

Oil up the racks with a paper towel to keep the turkey wings from sticking.

Add wood chips to your smoking wood tray and once the smoker is up to temperature, put the seasoned turkey wings in.

Adjust the propane valve to continue maintaining a temperature of about 225°F.

After 90 minutes, or when the internal temperature of the turkey wings is 140°F, open up the propane valve and increase the temperature to 400°F, or as high as your propane smoker will go if it will not go that high.

Finish the smoked turkey wings as described above.

Need a refresher? Check our our Complete Guide to How to Use a Propane Smoker HERE.

 

For Electric:  Unfortunately, most electric smokers such as Masterbuilts will not go higher than about 275°F so it will be difficult to perform the second stage of high heat smoking in the electric smoker itself.

a masterbuilt electric smoker set to 275 degrees

However, you can certainly start the turkey wings out in the electric smoker at 225°F for the first 90 minutes and then move them to a preheated oven set to 400°F just to finish them off.

They will still have the same smoky flavor and be delicious.

Plug your electric smoker in, open the vents, and turn the temperature to 225° F.

While it comes up to temperature, add smoking wood chips, not pellets, to the smoking wood tray.

Oil the grates of the electric smoker with a paper towel.

Place your seasoned turkey wings in the electric smoker and close the door.

You will need to refill the wood chips every 30 minutes or so as they smolder out in the chip loader, which will end up being about 3-4 times during the first phase of the cook.

Refilling wood chips is one of the major drawbacks, besides cooking area and temperature range, of electric smokers compared to pellet grills like Traegers and Pit Bosses.

However, we recently found a great solution.

If you are tired of having to reload fresh wood chips into your electric smoker, especially on longer cooks like pork butt and brisket, then check out this Masterbuilt Automatic Slow Smoker Attachment.

It basically burns new fresh wood chips at a constant rate, much like how a pellet grill works, freeing you up to do other things while getting your food nice and smokey!

 

Smoked Turkey Wings on a Pellet Grill

a pit boss pellet grill smoking with white smoke

Fill the pellet hopper with your choice of smoking wood pellets.

Plug in the pellet grill, let it run through its start up process, and then turn the temperature to 225°F.

(Don’t worry if your model, like our Pit Boss only adjusts in 10°F increments, 220°F or 230°F is fine.)

setting a pit boss pellet grill to 220 225 degrees

Make sure you have the flame broiler CLOSED so that the pellet grill is set up for INDIRECT cooking.

For instance, on Pit Boss and Camp Chef pellet grills there is a special lever to pull to switch from DIRECT to INDIRECT heat.

the flame broiler adjustment handle for direct or indirect heat

You want the flame broiler CLOSED for INDIRECT heat.

Go ahead and oil the grates so the turkey wings do not stick later.

When the pellet grill has come up to temperature, place your seasoned turkey wings in the cooking chamber and close the lid.

Flip and rotate the smoked turkey wings for even cooking minutes every 30 minutes or so as described above for 90 minutes and then turn the temperature up to 400°F.

setting a pit boss pellet grill to 400 degrees F

It may take 10-15 minutes for the pellet grill to rise in temperature this much.

Cook at the 400°F level for 15-20 minutes as described above, continuing to flip and rotate the smoked turkey wings frequently now, until the internal temperature of each wing has reached 165°F.

Never used a pellet grill before?  Read our Ultimate Guide to Pellet Grills to learn why they are so easy and how to set one up for success every time.

Here is also a list of our Favorite Pellet Grills Priced UNDER $500

 

Smoked Turkey Wings on a Gas Grill

Weber 45010001 Spirit II E-310 3-Burner Liquid Propane Grill, Black

Check out this Weber Grill on Amazon

On a gas grill you will likely need to use a smoker box filled with wood chips, or a pellet tube smoker filled with wood pellets.

Think you need a fancy smoker to smoke food at home? 

Think again.

Great smoked food can be made right on your current gas grill.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Smoking on a Gas Grill HERE.

If you are unfamiliar with these gas grill smoking devices mentioned above, no worries, we have you covered!

Read Everything You Need to Know about how to use Smoker Boxes here, and see a selection of our Favorite Pellet Tube Smokers here.

Or check out this handy comparison between smoker boxes and pellet tube smokers if you can’t decide which is right for you.

In the case of smoked turkey wings, we would opt for the pellet smoker tube since we need longer than the 30 minutes one batch of wood chips in a smoker box will last us.

This will save you the hassle of having to refill the smoker box multiple times while smoking the turkey wings.

Light up the end of your pellet smoker tube filled with pellets with a good butane torch (you can’t use a regular lighter for pellets) and place it in the grill as well to add smoky flavor while the turkey wings cook.

lighting a pellet smoker tube with a butane torch

Let the pellets ignite for about 5 minutes than blow out the flame and lay the pellet tube smoker down on the grates next to the turkey wings and close the lid.

Then set up your gas grill for indirect cooking with a single burner lit on one side and plan for your turkey wings to be on the other side.

Light just one burner so the temperature stays low in the 225°F range.

Remember, we are smoking the turkey wings INDIRECTLY, like an oven, not DIRECTLY over the burners.

Once the temperature is up to 225°F, smoke your turkey wings as described above for about 90 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 140°F.

Then after that, turn up the currently lit far burner to HIGH and begin lighting and turning up additional burners as necessary to bring the temperature up to 400°F.

After about 15-20 minutes, or once the the smoked turkey wings have crisped up and reached 165°F internally, remove them from the gas grill

 

Smoked Turkey Wings on a Charcoal Grill

Set up your charcoal grill for indirect cooking with a mound of unlit briquets on one side and plan for your smoked turkey wings to be on the other side.

Make a small depression in the mound of unlit briquets where you will dump the lit ones along with the smoking wood.

a charcoal grill set up for indirect smoking

Remember, we are smoking the turkey wings INDIRECTLY, like an oven, not DIRECTLY over the coals.

Light a charcoal chimney with just a handful of briquets and wait about 15 minutes for them to fully ignite.

Once lit, add the briquets to the center depression you created, replace the grill grates and oil them up with a paper towel..

Keep the dampers about 1/2 way to 3/4 open until the temperature is in the 200°F range.

Add 1 chunk of smoking wood once the grill is up to temperature, put the turkey wings on the grill grates opposite of the charcoal.

Then slowly close down the top and bottom dampers to about 1/3-1/4 open until you are maintaining a temperature of 225-250°F.

After about 90 minutes, or when the internal temperature of the smoked turkey wings has reached 140°F, fully open the vents up on the top and bottom of the smoker.

Use a fireplace poker to stir the charcoal around and get more oxygen flow to the briquets.

Watch as the temperature rises to around 350-375°F and then start closing the vents down again back to 1/2 way open (or os open as needed) until maintaining a temperature of 400°F in the smoker.

Flip and rotate the smoked turkey wings with tongs frequently and after about 15-20 minutes, or once the internal temperature of the wigs has reached 165°F, remove them from the grill.

Pro Tip: You CAN move the smoked turkey wings over the direct heat of the coals for this phase but DO NOT leave them UNATTENDED! They will crisp up and cook very fast and it’s a fine line between brown and crispy and burnt and crunchy.

 

Serving Smoked Turkey Wings

smoked turkey wings on a plate with crispy skin

Serving smoked turkey wings is pretty easy because, like chicken wings, they are ready to eat when you take them off the grill or smoker!

No carving or utensils necessary!

You can serve them simply with the dry rub or Bad Byron’s Butt Rub, or glaze them towards the end of the cook with a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce.

Alternatively, you can go the buffalo wing route by tossing the smoked turkey wings in a good buffalo dressing and then serve them with ranch or blue cheese just like traditional hot wings!

 

What Other Foods Can I Smoke?

sweet potatoes smoking in a smoker
Sticky Smoked Sweet Potatoes go GREAT with Smoked Turkey Wings!

Looking for some more inspiration for things to smoke?

Our Sticky Smoked Sweet Potatoes go GREAT with Smoked Turkey Wings!

And for dessert, don’t forget the smoked peach cobbler or smoked chocolate chip cookies!

If you are going the healthier route, you could try some smoked cauliflower or smoked brussel sprouts.

You can serve them on the side for a real low carb barbecue feast!

Check out some of our favorite recipes below that can easily be modified to be done on any grill or smoker.

Pork

 

Beef

 

Seafood

 

Poultry

 

Lamb

 

Sides and Desserts

smoked turkey wings on a plate with crispy skin

Smoked Turkey Wings

Learn how to make the best smoked turkey wings, with crispy skin, on ANY grill or smoker, whether its a Traeger or Pit Boss pellet grill, a Masterbuilt propane smoker, or just a simple Weber kettle!
First we trim, season, and slow smoke the turkey wings for maximum flavor, then raise the temperature and finish them hot and fast to get the skin nice and crispy.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine American, Australian, barbecue, BBQ, Holiday, Keto, Smoked, Thanksgiving
Servings 4 servings
Calories 500 kcal

Equipment

  • Gas Grill, Pellet Grill, or Smoker
  • Wood pellets, chunks, or a pellet tube smoker with pellets or a smoker box with wood chips preferably a fruitwood like apple
  • Paper Towels
  • Cutting Board
  • Boning Knife
  • Aluminum Tray or Baking Dish
  • Small Mixing Bowl
  • Instant Read and/or Leave in Probe Thermometer
  • Grilling Tongs

Ingredients
  

  • 4 Large Raw Turkey Wings 4 intact including both the drumette and flat, or 8 separate drumettes and flats
  • A sugar free BBQ rub like Bad Byron's Butt Rub -OR - our sugar free Savory BBQ Turkey Rub Below. sugar free so that the rub will not burn

Savory Smoked Turkey Rub

  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Dry Mustard
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper optional for heat

Instructions
 

Rinsing, Separating, and Trimming the Turkey Wings

  • Remove the turkey wings their packaging and rinse under cold running water.
    4 Large Raw Turkey Wings
    raw turkey wings
  • Pat the turkey wings dry with paper towels, and place them on a cutting board.
    raw turkey wings
  • Spread the drumette away from the flat to get a sense of where they connect.
    spreading apart a raw turkey wing
  • Next, slice through the skin connecting the two pieces with a sharp boning knife until the knife gets to the joint itself.
    separating a raw turkey wing with a knife
  • Now pull the two pieces apart to see exactly where they connect at the joint.
    pulling apart a turkey wing at the joint
  • Take your knife and cut right through the joint at about a 45 degree angle to the flat.
    separating a turkey wing drumette and flat with a knife
  • If there is also a wingtip on each wing, then cut those off the other end of each flat.
    a separated turkey wing drumette and flat on a cutting board
  • Trim any excess skin hanging off the sides of each turkey wing drumette and flat.
    trimming a turkey wing flat

Season the Turkey Wings

  • Gather your favorite 'no-sugar" BBQ rub or mix together the ingredients to the Savory Smoked Turkey Rub above in a small mixing bowl.
    A sugar free BBQ rub like Bad Byron's Butt Rub -OR - our sugar free Savory BBQ Turkey Rub Below., 1 Tbsp Chili Powder, 1 Tbsp Paprika, 2 tsp Salt, 1 tsp Black Pepper, 1 tsp Onion Powder, 1 tsp Garlic Powder, ½ tsp Dry Mustard, ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
    Bad Byron's butt rub
  • Generously sprinkle the BBQ rub all over the turkey wings on each side. Do not use oil to help the rub adhere.
    seasoned turkey wings on a tray

Set up your Grill or Smoker

  • Light or turn on your smoker, grill or pellet grill and set up the temperature to 225°F. If using a grill, only light a small amount of charcoal or light a single burner on one side for indirect cooking
    setting a pit boss pellet grill to 220 225 degrees
  • Add your wood chunks directly to the firebox of a smoker, or use chips in a smoker box, or pellets in a tube smoker or pellet grill.
  • Oil the grates well with canola or vegetable oil using a paper towel
  • Once smoke is being produced and the grill or smoker is at 225°F, put your turkey wings on the indirect side and close the lid.
    smoking turkey wings in a smoker

Smoking the Turkey Wings

  • Rotate and flip the turkey wings as needed, maybe every 20-30 minutes for about 90-120 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the wings has reached 140°F.
    turkey wings smoking in a smoker
  • Then increase the heat of your grill or smoker to 400° and continue cooking INDIRECTLY.
    setting a pit boss pellet grill to 400 degrees F
  • Continue to flip and rotate the smoked turkey wings every 5-10 minutes and cook at this temperature for about 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature has reached 165°F.
    an instant read thermometer showing 165 degrees on smoked turkey wings
  • Remove the smoked turkey wings from the smoker and place on a wire rack or cutting board to cool.
    smoked turkey wings on a plate with crispy skin

Serving the Smoked Turkey Wings

  • Let the smoked turkey wings cool for about 5 minutes.
  • You can serve the smoked turkey wings immediately or toss them in a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce or even a buffalo sauce and serve with ranch dressing or blue cheese. Enjoy!
    smoked turkey wings on a plate with crispy skin

Nutrition

Calories: 500kcal
Keyword crispy smoked turkey wings, grilled turkey wings, Masterbuilt, Pit Boss, pit boss turkey wings, poultry, smoked turkey, smoked turkey wings, thanksgiving, traeger, traeger turkey wings, turkey wings in a smoker, turkey wings on the grill, Weber
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