Brined Applewood Smoked Chicken Wings {Naked Wings!

Brined Applewood Smoked Chicken Wings {Naked Wings!

One wingy dingy… Two wingy dingy… A gracious hello!

Oh, never mind me, I’m just sitting here counting my applewood smoked chicken wing bones in my best impersonation of Ernestine The Telephone Operator. This character was played by the funny as hell, Lily Tomlin on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

Why? I have no clue, but it always makes David laugh when I talk about wings like that. He’s probably right, I am crazy, but only because he made me that way!

a platter of wings with the mountains in the background

No, really. I’m sitting here sniffing my fingers because I just polished off the last of the brined applewood smoked chicken wings. David and I smoked the wings last weekend and I am wishing I had more. I can’t even believe I’m saying this because I didn’t even eat chicken wings three years ago. I never really cared for chicken wings, until I learned better ways to make them. There are much better methods than dropping them into hot grease and drenching them in extremely salty sauces.

chicken wings on the grill

What I love most about these applewood smoked chicken wings is that they are “Naked Wings”, or what I like to call: “Naked Wangs” (in a much stronger southern accent than I already have). The term “Naked” meaning they have no sauce and no rub. Just really nice smoked chicken wing skin and meat. The wings take on some flavor from a brine solution made using natural ingredients such as kosher salt (of course), apple juice, maple syrup for a little sweetness, and spices then softly smoked with applewood.

David and I were inspired by wings we ordered from a local pub recently. They had a similar wing on their menu. They referred to them as “Naked Wings”. David and I took one bite into the smoky wings, and we knew we would have to replicate them at home. We already had the perfect brine recipe for them; the same combination of ingredients we used to brine the hickory smoked pork loin a couple of weeks prior.

a pile of raw chicken wings

How to Make Brined Applewood Smoked Chicken Wings

If buying whole wings, cut the wings into drumettes and wingettes. Place the drumettes and wingettes into a gallon size zip-top bag.

Reserve the wing tips for making broth.

Combine the brine solution, in a large bowl. Whisk the solution until the salt has dissolved. Pour the brine solution into the zip-top bag with covering the chicken wings. Seal the bag squeezing as much air out of the bag as possible. Place the bag inside a bowl (to ensure no messy leaks inside the refrigerator). Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

raw chicken wings in a zip-top bag of brine solution

Set up the grill or smoker for indirect heat using the three-zone split fire method. Preheat to 250 degrees F and add some apple wood to the hot coals.

When the smoker or grill is the ideal temperature range, you are ready to smoke, place the chicken wings in the center (indirect) portion of the grill. Add more applewood to the coals, if needed, and cover the grill.

David's hand dropping chicken wings on the grill with tongs

Smoke the wings for about 2 to 2 ½ hours at 250 degrees F. During this time, monitor the temperature and only open the grill or smoker to add more applewood. You can tell when more wood is needed when there is very little smoke coming out of the grill vent. There is no need to turn the wings when using indirect heat.

slightly browned chicken wings on the grill about halfway through cooking

The chicken wings are ready when they are a rich reddish brown color and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the grill or smoker and serve warm.

How To Serve the Wings:

We served the wings naked with some blue cheese dressing, but feel free to brush the wings with your favorite barbecue sauce the wings during the last 10 to 15 minutes of smoking if desired.

Sauces and Dressings For Serving:

SPECIAL NOTE: Just remember, these wings are supposed to be “Naked Wangs”, so please don’t go crazy with the sauces and the dressing. Really taste these bad boys and appreciate with a little brine and wood smoke can do!

David's hand holding up a chicken wing over a pile of chicken wings on a plate in front of the mountain backdrop

I hope these wings make it to your super bowl party this weekend.

Who are you pulling for?

Enjoy the wings!

Applewood smoked chicken wings take on flavor from a nice smoke over applewood coals brined in all natural ingredients. Tons of flavor in these Naked Wings!
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5 from 1 vote

Brined Applewood Smoked Chicken Wings

Applewood Smoked Chicken wings take on flavor from a nice smoke over applewood coals brined in all natural ingredients. Tons of flavor in these Naked Wings!
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American, BBQ
Keyword applewood, Brine Solution, Chicken Wings, smoked
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Brining Time 8 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 401kcal
Author Debbie & David Spivey

Ingredients

  • 4 ½ to 5 pounds chicken wings cut into drumettes and wingettes
  • Applewood chunks for smoking
  • Brine Solution (recipe to follow)
  • BBQ Sauce or Dressing for serving (optional)

Brine Solution:

  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

Instructions

  • If buying whole wings, cut the wings into drumettes and wingettes. Reserve the tips for making broth; set aside. Place the drumettes and wingettes into a gallon size zip-top bag.
  • Combine the brine solution, in a large bowl. Whisk the solution until the salt has dissolved. Pour the brine solution into the zip-top bag with covering the chicken wings. Seal the bag squeezing as much air out of the bag as possible. Place the bag inside a bowl (to ensure no messy leaks inside the refrigerator). Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
  • Set up the grill or smoker for indirect heat using the three-zone split fire method. Preheat to 250 degrees F and add some apple wood to the hot coals.
  • When the smoker or grill is the ideal temperature range, you are ready to smoke, place the chicken wings in the center (indirect) portion of the grill. Add more applewood to the coals, if needed, and cover the grill.
  • Smoke for about 2 to 2 ½ hours at 250 degrees F. During this time, monitor the temperature and only open the grill or smoker to add more applewood. You can tell when more wood is needed when there is very little smoke coming out of the grill vent. There is no need to turn the wings when using indirect heat.
  • The chicken wings are ready when they are a rich reddish brown color and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the grill or smoker and serve warm.

Video

Notes

We served the wings naked with some homemade blue cheese dressing, but feel free to sauce the wings during the last 10 to 15 minutes of smoking if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 3674mg | Potassium: 332mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 10.4% | Vitamin C: 1.9% | Calcium: 4.6% | Iron: 9.9%
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