Bourbon-brined Smoked Wings

These juicy, flavorful wings are brined in bourbon and brown sugar, then smoked to perfection. Increasing the heat briefly at the end of cooking delivers a deliciously crispy skin.

Serves: 4Prep: 5 minutesCook: 1 hour 5 minutesTotal: 1 hour 10 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 4


  • 1⁄4 cup bourbon
  • 1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1⁄4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1⁄4 cup salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 1⁄2 pounds chicken wings


  • In a large, nonmetal mixing bowl or food storage container, whisk together bourbon, vinegar, brown sugar, salt and water until salt and sugar dissolve.
  • Add chicken wings to the brine mixture. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
  • Heat pellet smoker to 250°F.
  • Remove wings from the brine and pat dry. Place on smoker and cook 60-90 minutes, flipping once, or until internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove from the smoker.
  • Increase the temperature to 450°F. Return the wings and cook for an additional 2-5 minutes, turning occasionally until skin is crisped and golden.
  • Refrigerate leftovers.
  • Tip: Wings can also be crisped over a hot grill or under a broiler.