Ultimate Traeger Wings with Crispy Skin (Easy Pellet Grill Recipe)

Is there anything better than a perfectly-cooked wing? Juicy, smokey, crispy, and perfectly seasoned, these smoked chicken wings are the ULTIMATE game day snack. Traeger wings are so simple that you can make them as a camping snack, for a party, or just because… WINGS! You can use any kind of pellet grill or smoker to make these mouth watering wings.

Key Ingredients

4 Pounds of Chicken Wings: I prefer split wings for this chicken wings recipe- choose what works best for you or what is available at the store. I like to stock up on family packs while they are on sale and simply pop them in the freezer until I am ready to use them.

Baking Powder: I chose to use baking powder but you can also use corn starch. Be careful not to use baking soda because the flavour can ruin your wings in large amounts.

Brine (water, sugar, salt, garlic): Optional but I highly recommended if you have the time (2-24 hours) See my Simple Chicken Brine recipe for a quick tutorial.

Dry Rub of Choice: This Ultimate Traeger Wing recipe is the base for many different flavours! Skip to the
“Variations” section to choose and customize your wings!

Equipment

  • Traeger Ironwood 885 or another brand of pellet grill including Pit Boss, Green Mountain Grill, Rec Tec, etc… We love our Traeger Portable Tailgater grill as well- it is the perfect size to throw in our camper!!
  • Wood Chips or Pellets. My new favourite for chicken is Pecan.
  • Trusty smoking companion

Tips and Tricks

How to avoid the dreaded rubbery skin when smoking chicken:

Is there anything worse than leathery chicken skin when you are expecting crispy and juicy? I think not! You have a few options here.

1. Brine: Brining adds more flavour and moisture, and the sugar will help to crisp up the chicken skin.

2. Cook at a higher temperature to render fat and provide more moisture under the skin.

3. Make sure your wings are super dry before smoking them- This will ensure the smoke sticks to the meat and will help your skin get crispy.

4. Baking Powder Rub: the alkalinity of the baking powder raises the PH of the chicken skin, which breaks down the peptide bonds allowing your chicken skin to brown and crisp faster! Generally 1 part baking powder to 3 parts salt will yield great results. Some people use baking soda to get crispy chicken skin but the flavour of baking soda can be very unpleasant so I recommend baking powder instead.

5. Corn starch is popular in many fried chicken recipes, but did you know it can be used to crisp your smoked chicken as well? Similar to baking powder or soda, corn starch raises the PH of the chicken skin, crisping, browning, and drying it out faster. This helps to give a crunch rather than rubbery texture.

Corn Starch vs Baking Powder: Which is better for Crispy chicken skin?

I tested both corn starch and baking powder separately to see which would yield crispier skin. The difference was very slight but I have to say that the baking powder beat the corn starch! Use what you have on hand. Both change the PH in the skin, allowing it to break down and crisp up more easily.

Brine Time:

Brine raw chicken wings for 2-4 hours. The longer you leave the wings in the brine, the more tender they will get, the more salt they will absorb. I recommend pulling them out of the brine and patting them dry before the 24 hour mark or you run the risk of overly salty, spongy chicken. You must rinse your wings after they are brined!

Best Type of Chicken Wings for Smoking:

I opt to buy split wings when smoking. When wings are split, the drums and flats are cut apart and the tip is not included; making them easier to eat and enjoy in smaller portions. There is no right or wrong answer- they can be smoked whole or separated. If left whole, the chicken wings will likely take longer to come to temperature.

Best Type of Wood Pellets for Traeger Wings:

When smoking any kind of poultry, apple, cherry, maple, and pecan flavours are mild and enhance the chicken rather than overpower it.

Flavour Variations

Garlic and Parmesan
Salt and Pepper
Buffalo wings

Batch + Storage

On average, there are about 10 wings per pound of chicken wings.

Cooked wings can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Cooked wings can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 6 months! If you are pressed for time or want to be extra prepared for your next game day or party, simply cook a large batch of Traeger wings, season or sauce (I love buffalo sauce), and pop in the freezer. To thaw and warm to their original glory, check out my guide How to Reheat Chicken Wings (3 Ways) including information on reheating in the oven, air fryer, and microwave.

How to Make Ultimate Traeger Smoked Wings

Step 1: This step is optional but will take your wings from good to great! Prepare the brine by combining the brown sugar, salt, and water in a large bowl or pot. Mix well until sugar and salt are well dissolved. Place your wings in the brine and stow them in the fridge for at least two hours (2-24hrs recommended). See Simple Chicken Brine With Brown Sugar for the recipe. Rinse your wings after they have finished brining.

Step 2: Preheat your Traeger or pellet grill to 250°F. While the smoker is preheating, pat your wings dry and then place them in a ziplock bag with baking powder mixture. Shake well to make sure that the chicken is evenly coated.

Step 3. Place your wings on the grill for 30 minutes.

Step 4. Blast the wings on high heat 450°F for 30 minutes or once the internal temperature has reached at least 175° or your desired doneness. This will help to reinforce the crispy chicken skin that everyone yearns for! Different sized wings will need slightly different cooking times- adjust accordingly.

Step 5. Sauce or season with your favourite chicken rub depending on your flavour preference. See the “Variations” section explore how I make salt and pepper wings, buffalo, and garlic parmesan wings.

Step 6. Serve warm with your favourite dipping sauce and some cold veggies!

Printable Recipe Card

A brined chicken wing with crispy skin being held up over a pellet grill.

Ultimate Traeger Wings with Crispy Skin (Easy Pellet Grill Recipe)

Juicy, smokey, crispy, and perfectly seasoned, these wings are the ULTIMATE game day snack. Traeger wings are so simple that you can make them as a camping snack, for a party, or just because.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Brine Ti,e 4 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs 15 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 5 people
Calories 380 kcal

Equipment

  • pellet grill *Can also adapt for the bbq or oven.

Ingredients
  

  • 4 lb split wings (brined)
  • 2 tbsp baking powder

Brine

  • 2 litres water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic optional
  • 1/2 tablespoon peppercorns optional

Instructions
 

  • Optional. Prepare the brine, let wings sit in the brine for at least two hours (I recommend 4). Rinse well after. See Simple Chicken Brine With Brown Sugar for the recipe.
  • Preheat your Traeger or pellet grill to 250°F.
  • Rinse the brine off of your wings. Pat them dry and then place them in a ziplock bag with 2 tablespoons of baking powder. Shake well to make sure that the chicken is evenly coated.
  • Place your wings on the grill for 30 minutes.
  • Flip the wings. Turn up the heat to 450°F for 30 minutes or once the internal temperature has reached at least 175° or your desired doneness.
  • Season with salt and pepper or your favourite wing sauce.

Video

Keyword brined wings, traeger, Traeger wings

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