How to Smoke Chicken Wings on Pit Boss? No Need to Wing It

September 27, 2023
Edited by John Smits

Smoking chicken wings on a Pit Boss is a piece of cake: dry brine the wings overnight, then set up your smoker to 350°F, and cook for about 40 minutes until the internal temperature reads 165°F with an instant-read thermometer. Voila! Finger-licking wing perfection awaits you.

I have been smoking chicken wings on Pit Boss pellet grill for as long as I can remember. Of course, being the perfectionist that I am, I had to experiment with various flavors, temperatures, and timings. Now, I have the best-ever recipe to share with you!

I’m dropping all my favorite tips and tricks for next-level wings. They’re smoky. Juicy. They’ll disappear from the plate, I promise! Ready to get cooking? Let’s go!

Chicken wings on Pit Boss

How to Smoke Chicken Wings on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill?

Let me cover the basics of how to smoke chicken wings on your Pit Boss pellet grill.

Before you do anything else, make sure that there are enough wood pellets in the hopper. This will ensure your cook will continue uninterrupted and at a consistent temperature.

Once you have done that, plug in your pellet grill and use the Smoke setting. Power it up and let it preheat for 10 minutes with the lid open. 

On a Pit Boss grill, the Smoke setting has a temperature range of 180 to 200°F. I like to smoke wings at 350°F – once the grill has preheated on the Smoke setting, I bump the temperature up.

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Should You Dry Brine Chicken Wings Before Smoking?

I dry brine almost all my meats before smoking or cooking them, including chicken wings. Dry brining locks in juices and adds flavor to meat.

One of the trickiest elements of smoking chicken wings is getting crispy skin. Smoke at 225°F, and you’ll get flabby skin. No bueno!

The key to crispy skin is two-fold – smoking at 350°F and dry brining.

Grilled Chicken Wings with BBQ Sauce

Now, there are two ways that you can go about dry brining. The first is to season the chicken wings with only kosher salt and then leave them overnight. Stick the wings, uncovered, in the fridge. The rub is applied later, just before the wings are smoked. If you choose to do this, make sure to leave salt out of your dry rub.

Your other option involves applying the whole dry rub (salt and all) to the chicken wings and then letting the wings dry brine in the fridge overnight.

I usually add all the rub ingredients, including salt, and dry brine overnight. Experiment and find what works best for you.

How to Dry Brine Chicken Wings?

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire rack on top of this. Then, arrange the wings on the rack.

The reason that you do this is so that air can circulate all over the wings. This helps to dry out the skin and ensure that it is as crispy as possible.

Sprinkle the chicken wings with the kosher salt or the dry rub. Press into the skin. Then, flip them over and repeat the action. Use ½ teaspoon of kosher salt per pound or ¼ teaspoon of table salt.

Place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

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Smoked Crispy Chicken Wings Recipe


  • 4 lbs of chicken wings
  • 1.5 tbsp. of chili powder
  • 1.5 tbsp. of smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. of black pepper
  • 2 tsp. of kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. of onion powder
  • 1 tsp. of cayenne pepper
Smoked Juicy and Crispy Chicken Wings on the Black Plate


Step 1

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients of the dry rub and mix well.

Pat the chicken wings dry with some paper towels.

Line a baking tray with foil. Place a wire rack on top. Arrange chicken wings on top.

Sprinkle the dry rub and press into the skin. Flip the wings over and repeat.

Place in the refrigerator uncovered for 1 to 4 hours or overnight.

Step 2

Preheat the pellet smoker to 350°F.

Step 3

Arrange the chicken wings on the Pit Boss pellet grill grates, making sure to leave a little bit of space between each chicken wing.

Close the lid and smoke. Flip the wings after 20 minutes. Cook another 20 minutes or so, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. 

Step 4 (Optional – For Even Crispier Skin)

Remove the wings from the smoker when they hit 160°F

Turn the heat on the Pit Boss pellet grill up to 450°F.

Close the lid and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, flipping the wings after a minute or two. It should take under 5 minutes total.

Take off the heat and serve.

Choosing Your Chicken Wings

The best-smoked wings start with good chicken. I like Miller Poultry products. Costco is also known for its good wings. Shop around and find some good wings, and they’ll fly off the plate (pun intended).

Wings don’t have much meat on the bone to begin with. This is why I would pay close attention to what you are buying. For the best and juiciest smoked chicken wings, look for larger and plumper wings.

I would argue that freshness is key here as well.

Another thing – always buy wings with the skin on. Not only do they get wonderfully crispy during the smoking process, but they also help to maintain moisture. If you want, you can remove the skin after cooking the wings on a Pit Boss, but not before.

Various Parts of Chicken Grilling on the Hot Grill

Should You Cut the Wing Tips?

I leave the wing tips on. I would argue that this decision should depend on two things. First, do you like extra crispy bits on your wings? Second, what temperature are you smoking the wings at?

The main reason that people trim the wing tips is because there is virtually no meat in this section. So, it cooks faster, often burning before the rest of the wing is cooked through.

If you don’t like crispy or slightly burned sections, then you should definitely trim these off beforehand.

Prior to doing this, though, you should consider the temperature at which you will be smoking your wings. If you will be sticking to 350°F on the temperature dial as I have, then there is a chance that the tips will become overly crispy or charred. I like the char, so this isn’t an issue for me.

Can Baking Powder Give You Crispy Skin?

Yes, baking powder can make the skin crispier, but I don’t use it. I think the combo of dry brining and smoking at 350° make the wings plenty crispy. Turning the pellet grill heat up to a higher temperature at the end of cook also works wonders for producing crispy smoked chicken wings.

You may have heard of a trick where baking powder is combined with the seasonings and applied to the surface of the chicken. This is meant to give you crispy chicken wings. Is this a trick that you should try?

You can certainly try the baking powder method for yourself. Just remember to use baking powder and NOT baking soda for this recipe. The two are not interchangeable here.

Try adding about 2 tablespoons of baking powder per 4 lbs of smoked chicken wings

What are the Best Wood Pellets?

I think that the choice of wood species is overrated in the BBQ world. It’s more important that your grill or smoker produces good, thin strands of blue or white smoke than what type of wood you use. Billowy plumes of smoke make for acrid BBQ.

That said, I like to use pecan wood for chicken wings. It adds a touch of sweetness that balances out the spices in the rub. Oak and hickory are great, classic options, too.

Of course, you may have your personal favorite to use with your pellet grill, and I would certainly tell you to use that. 

Feel free to blend different woods together – the sky is the limit!

Bunch of Wood briquettes

Choosing Your Pellet Grill Smoking Temperature

I like to smoke wings at 350°F because it makes the skin crispy. I also think that chicken absorbs smoke more readily than other meats because it has a mild flavor. So no need to go too low and slow in my opinion.

If you have checked out various recipes for smoked chicken wings, then you will have undoubtedly discovered that each one has a different temperature recommendation. These can start at 225°F and go all the way up to 350 °F! Now, what is the temperature that you should be going with?

Again, I like 350°F when making wings on a Pit Boss.

But it’s a free country. Feel free to experiment with lower grill temperatures and see what you prefer! Just be prepared for a longer cook at the lower temperatures.

Arranging the Wings on the Grill

If you want your wings to cook evenly then it is important to arrange them in a single layer. A lot of people imagine that because wings don’t take long to cook they can be piled up on top of one another haphazardly. However, this isn’t the case at all.

The other thing that you should do is to leave a little bit of space between each chicken wing. This way, the heat can properly circulate, cooking the entire wing at the same time.

If you are cooking for a crowd, then make sure to smoke the wings in batches. This means that you will need to start smoking earlier than anticipated. Stick cooked wings in the oven at the lowest temperature it goes (175°F usually) in a disposable tray covered with foil.

Smoking According to Internal Temperature

It doesn’t matter what you are preparing on a pellet grill – always track the internal temp via a meat thermometer. This piece of advice is especially important to follow when making smoked chicken wings. Undercooked wings don’t taste good, and you risk food-borne illness if you don’t cook them to temp.

According to the USDA, only once chicken wings reach 165°F are they safe to eat.

When checking the temperature of the wings, make sure to insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat. It should not touch the bone as this area tends to get hotter faster and will provide a false reading. Check the temp on multiple wings – larger ones will cook more slowly.

Make sure to raise the temperature of the Pit Boss once the wings hit 160°F (if you’re following the optional step 4 in my recipe). And, even while searing, keep watch over the temperature and take them off the heat the moment they are done.

Should You Flip the Wings?

I flip wings after they’ve been on the smoker for 20 minutes, but this is optional. When you grill wings over direct heat, you are pretty used to flipping the meat every so often to ensure that each side is cooked properly.

Now, with smoking, this isn’t as necessary since you’re cooking over indirect heat. You are cooking the meat from all sides at once.

The only time that you will absolutely need to start flipping is when searing the wings. I would suggest doing this every two minutes until they have reached the appropriate internal temperature or when you are satisfied with the grill marks on each side.

Delicious Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

Resting Your Smoked Wings

No, you don’t need to rest the smoked wings before serving them. But if you bite into one now, it’ll be piping hot. Let the wings sit for 5 minutes or so before digging in.

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Adding Sauce to Your Wings – Yay or Nay?

As you will have noticed, I haven’t mentioned anything about sauce in this recipe – this is because these smoked crispy chicken wings don’t need any. They are perfect and delicious just the way that they are!

Of course, you are free to drizzle on your favorite sauce or some hot sauce on them. Before you do, though, I would suggest taking a bite first. You may find that you like these wings just the way they are!

If you are serving a crowd, don’t toss the wings in any sauce, either. Instead, offer a homemade option that people can add if they wish to.

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Wrapping It Up

If you were trying to figure out how to make Pit Boss chicken wings, you now have a complete guide! For supremely crispy skin, dry brine the wings first. Then, fire up the smoker to 350°F and cook until the wings are 165°F. Or, pull the wings at 160°F and finish them over high temps for even crispier skin! They’re done once they read 165°F internal temp.

Use this info and the recipe to turn out the best-ever smoked chicken wings. Remember, the sauce is optional. Go on and give it a try!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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