RecipesCooking Techniques

Hill Country Smoked Chicken Wings with Texas Ranch Dressing

Hill Country Smoked Chicken Wings with Texas Ranch Dressing

Rubbing chicken wings with a variety of sweet and spicy seasonings before smoking gives them a double dose of delicious flavor.


  • 1/4 cup unrefined cane sugar, such as turbinado
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 18 whole chicken wings
  • 2 cups hardwood chips, such as hickory or applewood, soaked in water for 1 hour and drained
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon packed torn basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon packed parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pickled jalapeño with seeds, minced
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper


Smoke the wings
  1. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients except the chicken wings and hardwood chips and pulse until well blended. In a large bowl, toss the wings with the spice rub until well coated. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Set up a grill for indirect cooking, then heat to 425° and oil the grate. Wrap the wood chips in a double layer of heavy-duty foil and poke holes in the top. Place the packet directly on the flames of the grill. When the chips are smoking, add the chicken wings to the grill, cover and smoke the wings, turning occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a wing registers 165°, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the dressing
  1. In a food processor, combine the first 7 ingredients and puree until nearly smooth. Add the jalapeño, garlic and onion and pulse to mix; it will still be slightly chunky. Scrape into a bowl and season the dressing with salt and pepper.
  2. Transfer the chicken wings to a platter and serve with the ranch dressing.

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