The best and easiest way to make golden brown, crispy wings at home is by using your smoker and a vortex! After you have vortex chicken wings you’ll never want to mess with a fryer again!
**Post written by The BBQ Brothers. For all meat prep, grill set up, temperature and humidity control, recommended tools, and techniques for The BBQ Brothers recipes, check out The BBQ Brothers Beginner’s Guide To Grilling first, then get to cookin!
When it comes to game day who doesn’t like wings?! I mean really…chicken wings are the holy grail of game day food. Whether that game is football, basketball, baseball, hockey, or even water polo, I think we can all agree that hot wings and a cold beer are the best duo!
Now I’m sure a lot of you have tried to make wings at home in the oven and the skin is not quite right, or you have gone and busted out your deep fryer and made a mess of your kitchen. Some of you may have even tried smoking the wings just to find that you have a smoke-flavored gummy-tasting chicken wing.
What if I told you that you can have it all? That’s right–you can have the smoke flavor of the smoker, the crispiness of the deep fryer, and the convenience of using only one item to make them!
Today is your lucky day because we are going to make some smoky, crispy wings right out of your kettle grill.
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VORTEX CHICKEN WINGS
So let’s get into the prep. I like buying the whole wings as I can get them fresh and not frozen. And using fresh wings makes all the difference. We are going to begin by separating 10 wings so we have the traditional “flat” and “drum.” For this step make sure you have a very sharp knife just like we used for our chicken lollipops. Once the wings are separated, lay them on a baking sheet and sprinkle some wing seasoning on them. We used the Owens buffalo wing seasoning that came with our vortex but you can use any kind you want (or even our all purpose BBQ rub.) Next, throw them in the fridge for at least 2-3 hrs, but ideally overnight. The reason we do this is because we want the salt from the seasoning to pull the moisture out of the skin. The reason we want less moisture is because we want that crispy skin that we all love from our favorite wing place.Now we get to play with our new toy! The vortex! We will place the vortex directly in the center of our grill. The set up shown above is for indirect, even high heat cooking. You can use this same set up for direct, high heat searing, or you can turn it upside down for indirect low and slow cooking or for infrared cooking such as doing a rotisseree style chicken.
Next. we want to start a half chimney full of hot coals and once hot, we will place them inside the vortex. What you will have is a hot coal volcano that will make the temp of your grill extremely high (mine went to over 550 degrees). Once your grill is hot, place the wings around the vortex in a circle, throw a chunk of hickory wood on top of the open vortex and close the lid for 30 min. Flip the wings and then close the lid for another 25-30 min. Boom, after about an hour you’re done! The wings should have an internal temp of about 175. Take them off and you will have some golden brown, crispy wings ready to be tossed in your favorite sauce! Speaking of sauces we have a couple sauce reviews for you.Zach’s Wing Sauce “Sweet Heat”
I don’t know Zach personally, but the man is a genius. First thing you will notice is the bottle. It is a spray bottle! I am not sure why nobody else is doing this, but it is great as it gives you complete control to season a couple wings with a simple spray.
Now for the more important part: the taste. It is more sweet than hot which makes it great for people who do not like the more traditional “hot” wings. But the aftertaste leaves you with a smokey hot taste very similar to a Nashville chicken taste.
Humble House Ancho & Morita “Smokey Tamarind Sauce”
I’ll be honest I am a huge fanboy of First We Feast so I got this after I saw a few episodes where the contestants always seem to be a fan of the taste. I am glad I listened to them because this sauce packs a big punch. Just a small dab on the wing and you get a huuuuuuuge smoke taste that finishes a little hot. However, it is nothing too hot where you will find it overwhelming. I highly recommend this sauce not just for wings but I have a feeling it would be great on tacos (perhaps our pork butt tacos!)
BBQ ESSENTIALS (Vortex Chicken Wings Edition)
Meat Used: 10 whole wings, cut into flats and drums with a sharp knife
Wood Used: One chunk of hickory wood
Grill Temperature: Vortex will create intense heat, over 550 degrees
Meat Temperature: 175 F
Smoke time: About 1 hour
- Season the wings then refrigerate overnight or at least 2-3 hours (this will allow the salt to pull moisture out of the skin, creating a crispier wing)
- Start a half chimney full of hot coals and once hot, place them inside the vortex
- Once your grill is hot, place the wings around the vortex in a circle, throw a chunk of wood on top of the open vortex and close the lid for 30 min. Flip the wings and then close the lid for another 25-30 min
- Season with any sauces you prefer and enjoy!
So let us know what you think….did this recipe smoke the competition or go up in flames?