BBQ Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

We celebrated my favorite niece Joy’s 8th birthday this weekend.  She’s a big fan of BBQ and loves to eat chicken wings.  She asked me to make a tray of chicken wings for her birthday party to share with her friends. I happily accepted her request and was very excited to cook and contribute food for her fun Teen Titan Go themed birthday party.

I found fresh large-sized chicken wings at Sprouts Market.  I was very pleased with the freshnes, quality, and size of the chicken wings.  I hate it when the chicken wings are too small.  Unfortunately, I feel like most stores carry the small and sad size wings.  I also feel that small chicken wings are drier and less tasty and meaty than larger chicken wings. These wings from Sprouts Market were perfect.

For Joy’s birthday party, I decided to smoke some zesty lemon pepper wings. I smoked all the chicken wings in my Weber Smokey Mountain smoker.  I got the smoker to 350 degrees and cooked it for about 1 1/2 hours, flipping the wings at about an hour into cooking.  To get the skin crispy, the trick is to coat the chicken wings with oil before cooking and cook on high temperature over indirect heat. All the fat from the skin will melt away and skin will get crispy.  After the chicken finished cooking, I tossed it in a lemon pepper butter mixture for extra richness and and tastiness, a technique I learned from frying chicken wings.

These wings were such a hit at Joy’s birthday party.  Unfortunately, I was only able to eat one chicken wing. It is pretty easy to make so I’ll be making these again soon!

Ingredients:
5 pounds chicken wings, drumettes and wingettes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 tablespoons lemon pepper, or more to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 ounces Apple wood chunks, for smoking

Steps:
Dry Brine Chicken – In a large mixing bowl, season chicken wings with salt and granulated garlic. Mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Prepare Chicken Wings – Add vegetable oil and one tablespoon of lemon pepper seasoning.  Mix well.

Smoke Chicken Wings -Setup up Grill/Smoker for indirect cooking.  Bring the grill to 325-350 degrees.  Add 2-4 ounces of Apple Wood chunks to charcoal.  Add seasoned chicken wings to indirect side of Grill/Smoker.  Cook chicken wings over indirect heat for an hour.  Open the Grill/Smoker and flip the chicken wings and continue cooking for another half hour or until the internal temperature of the chicken wings reach 175 degrees.

Finish Chicken Wings – In a large mixing bowl, add melted unsalted butter, one tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning, half teaspoon black pepper, and juice of half lemon and mix well.  Add chicken wings to the large mixing bowl and toss until chicken wings are evenly coated with butter sauce.

Tips:

  • This recipe works with other bone-in chicken pieces
  • I like to use apple wood when bbqing chicken, but other fruity wood chunks work great as well
  • Whenever possible, I love to dry brine my chicken the night before I BBQ or smoke it because the salt penetrates through the meat and makes it juicier and more flavorful
  • Lemon Pepper seasoning has a lot of salt in it so you can add more or less depending on how much you like

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