Smoky Chicken Wings

September 24, 2015
12 Bones Smokehouse in Asheville, North Carolina isn't exactly a wing place, but people still love the restaurant's take on wings. The secret is the cooking process, a multistep method. The wings are first smoked, cooled off, and then fried, so they get nice and crispy on the outside. Even after all that frying, they’re permeated with a deep smokehouse flavor their customers have come to expect. That multistep process also means that these wings are great for tailgating, since you can smoke them ahead of time and fry them when it’s time to serve. (It’s OK to finish them on the grill, too, just as long as you get the grill hot enough to sear a thick crust on the surface of the wing).


For the wings:
  • 5 pounds jumbo chicken wings
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 quarts frying oil
  • Spicy Thai Chicken Wing Sauce (optional)
For the Spicy Thai Chicken Wing Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil


Dry off the wings with a paper towel, and then toss them with brown sugar and salt. Prepare a grill or smoker for indirect heat at 275°F by pushing lit coals to one side or only turning on one side of your gas grill (see page 13 for a more thorough smoking explanation). Soak some light-flavored wood chips in room-temperature water for at least 30 minutes (wood details on page 18). Smoke the wings for 30 minutes, cool them on a drying rack and refrigerate until ready to fry and serve. Or, if you’re ready to eat, go ahead and preheat the frying oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until it reaches 375°F. 

Carefully fry wings in the oil until they are crispy, drain on a paper towel, and then serve, tossed in your choice of sauce (or keep it on the side). Though you can use any variety of sauce to coat these wings, our Spicy Thai Chicken Wing Sauce (recipe below) is a big hit at the restaurant.

Spicy Thai Chicken Wing Sauce

We use this for wing sauce, but it can also be used to baste baked chicken.

3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 shallot, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 can coconut water (11.8 ounces)
2 limes, zest and juice (preferably unwaxed)
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (optional)

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat for 30 seconds. Next, add the shallot, garlic, and ginger, and then stir the sauce constantly for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, then stir in the coconut milk, peanut butter, and dark brown sugar. Transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor. Add the coconut water, the lime zest and juice, the Sriracha, soy sauce, and cilantro, and pulse until smooth.

Yield: 8–10 servings

Excerpted from 12 Bones Smokehouse: A Mountain BBQ CookbookCopyright Voyageur Press, 2015.