Chefs across the country are elevating the chicken wing, that staple of all-you-can-eat orders in you've-had-too-much-to-drink bars, to fiery new heights with lusty sauces, esoteric ingredients, and innovative cooking techniques. It's a movement and we're big supporters, which is why we went out in search of America's best new wings. What we found was both surprising and filling.
Here are the 10 standouts.
10. Yusho: Chicago, Las Vegas
At these Japanese-inspired yakitori dens, chef Matthias Merges grills wings over hissing flames, then adds honey, Thai chili, bonito salt, and fresh lime juice. With wings this good, you don’t need to embellish the no-frills name.
9. Federal Donuts, Philadelphia
Whole Fried Chicken Wings
Chef Michael Solomonov doesn’t just make cake doughnuts—he also creates killer Korean-style, twice-fried whole uncut wings in five flavors. (Go for the chili-garlic glaze.)
8. Husk, Charleston, SC; Nashville
Wings of the Day
The menu is ever-changing at chef Sean Brock’s hot spots, but there’s always room for wings, ranging from wood-fired and glazed with mesquite barbecue sauce and Virginia spiced peanuts to hot honey barbecue.
7. Roast, Detroit
Smoked Chicken Wings
After curing in a mixture of paprika, coriander, and cumin, chef Michael Symon’s wings are cooked in pork fat, deep-fried, and drowned in a spicy Jim Beam barbecue sauce, then mated with creamy, celery-salt-flecked coleslaw.
6. Anchor Bar, Buffalo
Original Buffalo Chicken Wings: It’s been 50 years since TeressaBellissimo accidentally invented the hallowed Buffalo wing here. Deep-fried until crispy-skinned, they’re simply tossed in a mouthwatering mix of melted butter and Frank’s RedHot sauce.
5. Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, Nashville
Whole Hot Chicken Wings
These cayenne-spiced “hot chicken” standouts are bathed in a buttermilk–hot-sauce batter before their deep-fryer dip, then brushed with chili oil infused with secret spices and served with sliced white bread and pickles.
4. The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland
Crispy Chicken Wings Confit
Chef Jonathon Sawyer’s super-juicy wings are cured for 36 hours, cooked on low heat in beef, chicken, and duck fat, and then air-dried for 24 hours—giving the skin an extra crunch when it’s deep-fried. Then they’re finished with charred jalapeño, house-made wheat beer vinegar, chopped raw garlic, and scallions.
3. Talde, New York City
Kung Pao Chicken Wings
Former Top Chef contestant Dale Talde reinvents the Chinese takeout standby as a sticky-sweet, stoner-friendly triumph slathered with homemade kung pao sauce and finished with crispy peanuts, fragrant cilantro, and sliced scallions.
2. Mission Chinese Food, San Francisco
Chongqing Chicken Wings
Grab a cold beer before tackling chef Danny Bowien’s incendiary tongue torchers. You’re going to need it to chase the dry heat that builds with every bite of these ultra-crispy wings loaded with cayenne, ground Szechuan peppercorns, cardamom, and fennel seed.
1. Pok Pok, Portland, OR; New York City
Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings
Marinated in garlic, sugar, and fish sauce, chef Andy Ricker’s mind-blowing masterpieces are deep-fried to golden perfection, then tossed in fish sauce, sugar, and chili paste before they’re stippled with crispy garlic and served with cooling cucumbers, pickled vegetables, and herbs. PokPok: the greatest thing to happen to wings since feathers?