Today we are going to a Christmas party. We were asked to bring some sort of appetizer, and that’s a great reason to do some of Masterbuilt‘s John McLemore’s sweet and spicy chicken wings!

The video inspiration follows, and below that you’ll find my adjustments.

I’m usually pretty true to John’s recipe when I do these, but I tend to tone back the pepper when I’m doing them for a group where I may not know how much spice everyone is going to like. So my ingredients are mostly the same but I don’t use a hot barbecue sauce and again, I use about 1/2 the black pepper.

The ingredients


I buy whole chicken wings, and cut them myself. So do so, discarding the wing tips.

  • About 15 whole chicken wings

For the rub:

  • 1 1/4 tbsp, ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp, garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp, dark chili powder
  • 1 tbsp, seasoned salt

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup, honey
  • 1/2 cup, KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce
  • 3 tbsp, apple juice
  • tobasco (optional)

The prep

  1. Preheat your smoker to 235° F and let it get to temp.
  2. Place your water bowl in and fill it with 10 oz of apple juice.
  3. While the smoker heats up, place the cut wings in a 1 gallon size zipper bag and pour the seasoning over them in about 3 applications, after placing 1/3 at a time in the bag.
  4. Combine all the ingredients for the rub into a small bowl (for spicier rub, use 2 1/2 tbsp of ground black pepper).
  5. img_6215Zip the bag, squeezing the air out and then massage the rub into the wings as evenly as you can.
  6. Put a handful of your favorite wood chips (I’m using peach today) into the smoker as instructed based on your model.
  7. Lay the wings on two of your smoker’s racks, evenly spaced, about 16 will fit per rack so that they are not touching.

The cook

  1. Put the wings in your smoker and smoke for 30 minutes.
  2. Turn over all the wings, moving as quickly as possible so all the heat doesn’t disappear from the smoker, close the door, add another handful of wood chips, and smoke for another 30 minutes.
  3. img_6219While that happens, prepare your sauce by combining the honey, barbecue sauce and apple juice into a small sauce pan over medium heat until warm and evenly mixed stirring constantly at a regular pace with a heat-safe spatula. Cover, and move off the heat. For a little extra kick in the sauce, add a few dashes of tobasco to taste.
  4. After the second 30 minute smoke session, pull the wings off the racks and put them into a disposable aluminum pan.
  5. Pour the sauce over the wings and give them a good toss.
  6. Place the pan into the smoker and let them go for another 30 minutes. No need to add more chips, the smoking is all set.

The eat

  1. At the end of the last 30 minutes, take the wings out, give them a good toss, serve immediately and enjoy. The chicken should register at 165° F or higher.

To serve later, cover the aluminum pan with 2 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. If you’re serving the next day, put them in the fridge until you are ready to go, but if it’s just a few hours out, go and place them into a cooler that has been cleaned well, and primed with hot water. About 30 minutes before you want to eat them, place into a pre-heated oven and warm until the wings register at least 165° F.