Celebrity chef, culinary entrepreneur, cookbook author, and “Winningest Woman in Barbecue” Melissa Cookston shares her recipe for Smokin’ Hot Wings just in time for your next barbecue. The recipe is adapted from one that appears in one of her cookbooks, Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room: Southern Recipes from the Winningest Woman in Barbecue (Melissa Cookston). The zesty barbecue sauce is spiked with TABASCO® Chipotle Sauce to round out the slow-smoked flavor with a little heat.
“I like to use whole wings when I’m smoking them, for a simple reason – they don’t fall through the grates!” said Cookston. “These wings have a nice spicy flavor but aren’t thermonuclear hot.”
For those who like to crank up the heat on their wings, Cookston advises increasing the amount of cayenne pepper or dicing up a habanero pepper to mix in with the sauce while cooking.
“People can do wings all kinds of ways, but in the Mississippi Delta, we love them smoked,” Cookston said. “This way, you can visit with friends and family while the wings smoke for two hours till they’re just perfectly done.”
- 1 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp finely diced onions
- 1 tbsp canola or peanut oil
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 tbsp TABASCO Chipotle Sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tbsp granulated garlic
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt, to taste
- 1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- 2 pounds whole jumbo chicken wings
- 1/2 cup hot sauce
- 2 tbsp Ultimate BBQ Run
- 2 tsp cayenne
- Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing for serving
In a sauce pan, add the oil and onions and cook until the onions are softened and beginning to get translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.
Simmer over low heat 20-30 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Allow to cool.
Sauce may be kept refrigerated for up to a month.
Rinse the wings and allow to dry. In a large mixing bowl, toss the wings with the hot sauce, rub and cayenne.
Prepare a smoker to cook at 275F. For spicy foods, I usually prefer using a couple of chunks of cherry wood as my smoking agent, but just about any wood will do for this recipe.
Place the wings in the smoker and cook for 2 hours or until the skin is crispy and the middle joint will separate from the drummie easily.
Place the wings in a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup of Chipotle BBQ Sauce, and toss until coated. Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing.
About Melissa Cookston:
Melissa Cookston was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta and is a trailblazing female food entrepreneur smoking the competition. Cookston is a 7-time world barbecue champion; owner of restaurants Steak by Melissa, a successful steak house in Southaven, Mississippi and Memphis BBQ Company, a successful barbecue restaurant with locations in Horn Lake, Mississippi, Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Dunwoody, Georgia; an author of two cookbooks, “Smokin in the Boy’s Room” and “Smokin’ Hot in the South;” and a celebrated southern Delta chef.
Recognized nationally from many appearances on national news and talks shows as well as cooking shows and Food Network, Cookston served as a judge on season 4 of Destination America’s “BBQ Pitmasters,” and was named one of America’s most influential BBQ Pitmasters and personalities by Fox News in 2015. Cookston is a Smithfield Brand Ambassador and is a frequent contributor to Smithfield communications and marketing efforts.
Please note that there is an affiliate link in this post. If you purchase her book, we’ll receive a tiny bit of commission.