NO SMOKER? No problem! We include alternate tasty options in the notes for making delicious smoked chicken wings recipe with dried ranch dressing.
Many people count chicken wings among their game day favorite snacks. And this smoked chicken wing recipe seasoned with dried ranch is a great flavor to add to your lineup.
And why not? Dry rub wings are simple to eat with your fingers, have deliciously crunchy skin, and provide the perfect delivery for your favorite sauce or dry seasoning.
While many favor a spicy “Buffalo wing sauce” or tangy barbecue sauce, you might encounter a bit of inconvenience—they can be messy to eat.
You can solve that problem by switching up wet sauces for dry seasoning options. Don’t worry, you will not sacrifice great flavor. This dry ranch dressing provides flavor without the mess.
Smoked Chicken Wings With Dried Ranch Dressing Recipe — Flavor without the mess!
Smoked Chicken Wings Versus Deep-fried Wings
Our family fell in love with smoked chicken wings–it was love at first bite.
The smoking process adds a delicious, delicate, smoky flavor to the humble chicken wing. You bite through a pleasantly crisped skin, full of the tangy ranch flavor, find a beautiful smoke ring just under the skin, then get to the bite of chicken.
You will love that combination.
Besides the excellent flavor, remember that deep-frying always adds fat to your diet. The deep-frying process involves vegetable oil. The high heat also sears the skin quickly, trapping all fat inside the chicken, as well.
However, the smoker allows small amounts of fat to cook out of the chicken wings in the earliest cooking stages, making it leaner. The skin crisps up during the long, slow smoking process. The outcome is a delight–crispy smoked chicken wings with bold, smoked flavor.
So if you try to make healthy food choices, then smoked chicken wings are an excellent option.
Poultry Handling Tips
Before we get to the smoked chicken wings recipe, let’s go over a few hints for safe handling of all poultry products.
If you are an experienced cook, this serves as a reminder. But if you are a novice, these hints are essential to ensure safe food consumption.
Safe Preparation of Ranch Chicken Wings
According to the National Chicken Council, you should do these things when you prep your smoked chicken wings:
- CLEANING: Scrub your hands in hot water and soap before handling food. Wash your hands, kitchen surfaces, sink, and cutting boards after handling poultry. Also, wash between handling different kinds of foods.
- THAW MEAT CORRECTLY: Thaw wings in the refrigerator, not on the countertop or by soaking in water.
- KEEP SEPARATE: Keep the wings separated from all other foods.
- DON’T WASH THE CHICKEN WINGS: Contrary to some opinions, you gain no benefit from pre-washing the chicken wings. In fact, the National Chicken Council warns that you could inadvertently spread bacteria to multiple surfaces.
- COOK TO 165°: Never serve any poultry undercooked!
America’s Love Affair With Chicken Wings
Eating chicken wings is not a new concept. Resourceful and thrifty people always found a way to use every part of the bird.
But restaurants traditionally removed the wings and added them to stock for soups and did not serve them to guests until the middle of the 1960s.
In 1964, Teressa Bellissimo, the owner of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, closed up her kitchen one night when her son and some friends popped in for a snack.
She had nothing to cook for them, except some chicken wings she had sat aside in the fridge for the next day’s soup.
She heated the deep-fryer, dropped in the wings for a few minutes, and dressed them in a hot sauce she had on hand.
Her son and his friends declared this late-night snack the best treat they’d ever eaten. Teressa put them as a special on her menu the next day to test the market. Much to her surprise, they were an instant hit with her customers.
The Buffalo Wing was born.
From there, enterprising restauranteurs developed a wide range of rubs, marinades, and sauces–an entire industry grew from that late-night treat.
How to Make Ranch Smoked Chicken Wings
This ranch chicken wings recipe starts by making the dry seasoning. You might consider them Hidden Valley Ranch wings for the familiar dressing from a packet.
However, you will make your ranch dressing spice blend directly from your pantry. This cuts down on the preservatives which are present in the commercial products.
Here is how you can make this ranch seasoning:
This homemade ranch dressing seasoning mix recipe empowers you to enjoy your favorite dressing without the guilt. A preservative-free way to enjoy ranch. Recipe includes directions on how to make classic buttermilk ranch and fat-free ranch dressings.
- 3 Tablespoons of dried parsley
- 1 Tablespoon of dried dill weed
- 1 1/4 Tablespoon of garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 Tablespoon of onion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper
Liquid Ingredients for Ranch Dressing
- 1/4 cup Buttermilk
- 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
- Put the parsley and dill weed in the cup of a food processor. These two herbs are "larger" than the other ingredients, so they need a few quick whirls to make them a little bit smaller. Five or six pulses should do it!
- Add in the other seasonings. Give the food processor two zaps to blend everything evenly.
- Place the seasonings into a tightly covered containers for storage. It can last for months—if it lasts that long!
- This makes just over 7 Tablespoons of seasoning mix for 7 cups of salad dressing.
To Mix Buttermilk Ranch Dressing:
Mix one tablespoon of homemade ranch dressing seasoning mix to ¼ cup of buttermilk and ⅓ cup of your favorite mayonnaise. Mix well and refrigerate until you're ready to use it.
To Mix Fat-Free Ranch Dressing:
Mix one tablespoon of this ranch seasoning mix with ¼ cup of fat-free milk and ⅓ cup of nonfat Greek yogurt. Of course, this version also requires refrigeration until you are ready to use it.
How to Make Buttermilk
If you don't have buttermilk any of these options will make a good buttermilk substitute, so choose whichever one you have the ingredients for. We prefer using the lemon juice first choice or cream of tartar, on the rare occasions that we don't have any.
- 1 Tbsp. Lemon juice to 1 cup milk
- 1 ¾ tsp. Cream of Tartar to 1 cup of milk
- 1 Tbsp. White Vinegar to 1 cup milk
Makes Enough Dry Ranch Mix for 7 Cups of Salad Dressing!
This dried ranch seasoning recipe makes about 7 ½ Tablespoons of herb mix, which will make about 7 cups of salad dressing, so the equivalent of 3.5 16 oz bottles of ranch salad dressing.
Serving Size2 Tbsp.
Amount Per Serving Calories 76Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 4mgSodium 606mgCarbohydrates 3gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 1g
Nutrition information is approximate. This is based on 2 Tbsp. per serving of mixed ranch dressing.
Once you prepare the dressing, cover it and set it aside.
You’ll next prepare the chicken wings for cooking.
Inspect each piece of chicken, pluck any feathers the processors missed (it happens more often than you think). Use a clean paper towel to pat them dry. Spread them out on a baking sheet or a large platter.
Using the “dry hand, wet hand” method you use for breading, sprinkle the seasoning on each wing with one hand and press it into the skin with the other. Flip the wings and repeat on the opposite side.
The prepared, ready-to-cook chicken wings will look like this:
You are ready to make smoked chicken wings.
Enjoy delicious chicken wings with crispy skin, a smoky flavor, and a tangy dry ranch rub.
- 12 chicken wings
- 2 tablespoons of Ranch dressing spice mix
- Prep the chicken wings by patting them dry and patting in the Ranch seasoning rub onto both sides. Place on a large platter or baking sheet.
- Place on a preheated smoker, set to a low or "smoking" temperature of around 180°.
- Smoke for 60 minutes. Turn up the heat until you reach 425° to 450° or a "grilling" heat.
- Once the smoker reaches the grilling temperature, grill the wings for 5 to 6 minutes per side. The skin will become golden brown and crispy.
- Check the internal temperature of the chicken wings to ensure they reach 165° before you remove them.
- Serve them plain or with a side of ranch dressing or any other favorite dipping sauce.
I cooked these on the Traeger wood pellet electric grill. I switched from a wood-burning, manual smoker a couple of years ago due to the control over the heat. Switching temperatures is more challenging with a manual unit. But either way, the outcome is delicious!
Don’t Have a Smoker? No Problem! #options!
Ranch Chicken Wings in the Air Fryer
We previously shared a recipe for air fryer chicken wings. If you do not own a smoker, you can achieve a similar finished product by following the instructions for prepping the wings, then following those air frying instructions.
Smoked Chicken Wings Flavor Variations
Once you taste the wonderful flavor of smoked chicken wings, you’ll want to make them all the time!
Here are some fun flavor variations you can try as a dry rub or seasoning instead of the ranch:
- ASIAN-INSPIRED: Season the poultry with an Asian five-spice blend, a flavor-packed blend of star anise, fennel seed, pepper, cinnamon, and cloves.
- TEXAS BBQ RUB: Use the rib rub or bbq blend rub seasoning from your pantry to create a savory dry wing.
- LEMON-PEPPER SEASONING: If you prefer mild flavors, your pantry staple lemon-pepper seasoning works wonderfully and tastes fantastic. The bright lemony flavor provides the perfect balance to the black pepper. Yum!
- CAJUN SEASONED: If you love the Creole and Cajun flavors of New Orleans, add some Cajun spices to the meat before you smoke it. Think smoked paprika, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, celery seed, and a kiss of cayenne pepper.
- ITALIAN SEASONING: Another fun way to season smoked chicken wings is using your favorite Italian Seasonings, like dried basil, rosemary, oregano, and onion powder.
- OLD BAY: To keep things really simple but still savory, grab the can of Old Bay Seasoning and sprinkle it across your wings before you smoke them.
Whether you want to cut the fat from your favorite game-day snack food or want to dry rubs to cut down on the messiness of eating them, this smoked chicken wings recipe will become a go-to method to you will truly enjoy.