Keto as a Way of Life
Keto Jack Black Pepper Wings Recipe
UPDATE: This recipe was originally intended to be cooked on a smoker. However, I’ve talked with a few of our readers and have come to realize that not everyone has a smoker (even though I think they should!)
Since folks have requested an oven-friendly version of this recipe, I did some oven testing to get the times and temps right and included that information in this post.
I think you will be happy with either version you go with. The flavor of these wings is fantastic!
This is the part in my post where I usually talk about some of the unique ingredients I may use in the recipe. However, there really aren’t any crazy ingredients in this one. They’re pretty straight forward.
- Chicken Wings (get some nice, meaty ones!)
- Jack Daniels Tennessee Mm Mm Good Whiskey!
- Olive Oil: NOT the extra virgin stuff. Regular Olive Oil can stand up to the heat better in this recipe.
- Butter: Kerry Gold, please!
- Spices: Black Pepper, Paprika, Sea salt and Ceyanne pepper.
We get the family pack at Sam’s when we’re shopping last minute. Though it’s cheaper that way, it’s a little extra work because you have to cut them up. I have a good sharp knife, so it’s worth it to me. You can always cook these whole if you don’t want to bother cutting them up. They turn out just as good!
When we’re able to plan ahead a little, we order from Butcher Box because of the quality meat, and the free bacon!
A Nashville-based business that sources their meat from select local farmers.
They process all their products themselves and sell those products online to make great meat available nationwide.
We were attracted to them at first because they're local to us.
We continue to support Porter Road because their service and products are amazing!
Tools & Equipment
This recipe doesn’t require a lot of special equipment, unless, of course, you’re going to smoke your wings. Then you need a smoker. See below!
To get them prepared, though, all you need is:
- A sharp knife (if you’re cutting them up)
- A large bowl
- A couple zip lock bags (optional)
- Some paper towels
- A large sheet pan (cookie sheet)
- A good pair of cooking tongs
- A basting brush
- Smoker (optional)
- A digital, instant read thermometer
Instant Read Thermometer
Stop trying to guess when your meat is done. When you learn to cook by temperature, you’ll never go back.
An instant read thermometer isn’t just for the grill. I use this one all the time in the kitchen.
Traeger Pellet Grill
The smoker/grill I use is the Traeger Texas Elite 34 pellet grill. I can’t tell you enough how much we love this bad boy!
I've cooked everything from cake to ribs on mine. Yes... I said cake! (keto cake, of course)
It makes smoking meats easy, and gets hot enough to grill as well. It's been well worth every penny for us.
You NEED one of these in your backyard.
Directions and Tips
Brine the Wings
You may be tempted to skip this step. Don’t! I can’t stress to you the importance brine plays in creating a good, juicy, wing. It helps keep the wings from drying out in the smoker as well as the heat of the oven.
Always, always, ALWAYS brine your chicken!
Brining is simple. It just takes time, so you have to plan ahead a little bit.
A simple brine is just 1 tablespoon of salt per cup of cold water. Get those mixed together in a bowl before putting your wings in.
Cover them and let them hang out in the fridge for 2-4 hours. Don’t go too far past 4 hours, though, because they’re get a bit too salty.
Don’t skip this step either. After taking the wings out of the brine, rinse them thoroughly with cold water, otherwise they’ll be too salty to eat.
Why bother with a brine if you’re just going to rinse the salt off?
Without getting into too much of the science, just know that the salt creates a sort of barrier around the outside of the chicken. It will help make the skin crispier after it’s cooker, while keeping the moisture of the chicken inside the meat while it’s cooking.
Marinate the Wings
Add your rinsed wings to a heavy, zip lock bag.
Add in just enough olive oil to coat the wings, and then pour in an equal portion of whiskey.
Seal the bag and squish the wings around until they are throughly coated with oil and whiskey.
Now add the spices and repeat the seal and squish process until everything is nice and coated.
Make sure all the air is out of the baggy and that it’s sealed tight.
Let your wings rest in the fridge for at least a couple hours; preferably over night.
I know these last two steps consist of a lot of waiting, but to quote Alton Brown, “Your patience will be rewarded.”
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Lay your wings out onto a foil-lined sheet pan.
Bake for 15 minutes. Take them out and give them a half turn on the pan to ensure even cooking, then bake for another 15 minutes.
Check them with an instant read thermometer. They should be approaching 155-160 degrees.
Remove them from the oven.
I LOVE smoked wings! This is my favorite way to cook these.
Bring your smoker up to 225 degrees F.
Good woods to use for chicken are Pecan, Mesquite, Apple, Cherry, and Hickory. Amazon has some good selections of pellets in those wood types.
Natural Hardwood Pellets for the Traeger Pellet Grill
Amazon has several types of Traeger pellets, so check them all out; Alder, Apple, Cherry, Hickory, Maple, Mesquite, Oak, Pecan, Texas Beef Blend, and Turkey.
They're conveniently all listed on this one page on Amazon.
There's nothing like the flavor that hardwood smoke adds to food. They all have their own character, and I love every. single. one.
Line the smoker grate with wings, close the lid and leave it closed!
I typically start checking the temp on these at an hour and a half. Depending on the ambient temperature of the day, it sometimes takes as long as 2 hours for these to reach 155-160. At that point, pull ’em off the smoker.
Broil the Wings
This step is the same whether you baked or smoked your wings.
Turn the broiler on high.
Brush the wings liberally with melted butter and put them under the broiler.
Let them broil for 2-3 minutes per side, until they look crispy and done.
NOTE: Watch them carefully! Under a high broiler, food can go from golden brown and delicious to charred-burnt in less than a minute. If they start looking darker than you think you might like, pull ’em out!
Check again with your thermometer. They are good to eat when they are over 165 degrees.
This is my favorite part of any recipe. These are really good by themselves, or paired with our Keto Ranch or Keto Blue Cheese Dressings. Check out these recipes here.
Thanks for Reading
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Keto Jack Black Pepper Wings Recipe
These Jack Daniels wings have smoky/peppery combination that make them addictive. They are low carb, but if you're on Keto, you will need to be careful with your protein macro. You'll overdo it with these. When you taste them, though, you'll probably think it's worth the sacrifice!
Cut up chicken wings, discarding tips
Mix olive oil and whiskey.
Coat wings with the liquid
Mix all spices together
Add to wings and mix to coat thoroughly with spices
Let wings sit at room temp. up to an hour while you prepare smoker
Prepare smoker to 225 degrees
Smoke wings for 1.5 hours, until they reach 160F degrees. (They may need to go a bit longer, depending on your smoker, ambient temp, etc)
Remove from smoker and brush both sides of wings with melted butter
Broil wings on each side: 3 minutes per side. Some broilers get hotter than others, so keep a close eye on them so they won't burn.
Note: Good woods to use if you smoke your wings - Pecan, Mesquite, Cherry, Apple, Hickory
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