Dry Rubbed Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Wings done in the air fryer
This recipe has you make a basic (but delicious) brown sugar based dry rub, coat the bacon strips in it, wrap the bacon on the wing sections, pin it in place with water soaked wooden toothpicks and cook in the air fryer to perfection.
This recipe is optimized for a 5.8 qt air fryer.
Happy International Bacon Day!
- 12 wing sections (thawed)
- 12 pieces thin cut bacon
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- wooden toothpicks (briefly soaked in water)
Place fresh (thawed) wing sections on a plate, pat dry if you’d like.
Set bacon on a plate and peel apart the strips so they’re all separate.
Take the dry ingredients and whisk together in a bowl.
Put at least 12 toothpicks in a small bowl and soak in water while you’re doing this next bit. I used more because I have flat toothpicks, and they’re not as strong as round so some of them would bend when inserting through bacon. Soak them in water so they don’t char or burn in the air fryer.
Put the dry rub in a gallon sized ziplock bag, dump in the loose bacon and shake vigorously, working that brown sugar and seasonings into the bacon. Pull bacon out of the bag and dump onto a plate.
Now, one at a time, grab a wing section, start a piece of bacon at one end, and wrap around to the other end overlapping by however much you need to get the bacon to the end. Try to overlap if you can to help the bacon placed at the start stay in place.
Pin the bacon in place at the end with a wet toothpick and place on a baking sheet (or other convenient easy-to-clean flat surface).
Set your air fryer to preheat at 400 F for 5 minutes. I preheated this because you want that bacon on the bottom of the basket to start sizzling right away. You want to waste NO time getting that bacon going.
Once the air fryer is done preheating, place your wings carefully in the basket, trying very hard not to overcrowd. With this recipe, air flow is extremely important top and bottom. I’ve only got 12 wing sections in this batch because there just wasn’t quite enough room for the usual 14 once the bacon was on them.
Cook the wings for 25 minutes at 380 F.
In this batch I did NOT flip them at all. Usually I would flip wings halfway through.
My concern was, I’ve noticed that flipping over wings done with a dry rub can take a crispy top and, by flipping it to the bottom, cause juices to soak into and soften it. I wanted the bacon good and tight on top so I left it unflipped.
Once cooked, I did notice the top was perfectly well done and crispy. The color might be darker than you first expect because of the caramelization of the brown sugar dry rub.
The very bottoms were a little softer/wetter, but were NOT underdone, rubbery or at all bad. Just a touch softer and juicier. In the end, you can try flipping but if you do, I’d go a quarter turn instead of all the way over. Give the juices a chance to drain straight down without wetting the crispy side.
Pull out the toothpicks and plate.
My wife would like to make it clear that she thinks this whole recipe is just ridiculous for one person to eat for lunch.
I would like to make it clear that this was freaking delicious.