This Is the One Chicken Wing Chain That Chefs Actually Rave About
Wings, and how they should be prepared and served, can be pretty polarizing. Should you stick with Buffalo style—which was created in the New York city in 1964—or branch out with sweeter sauces or even sauce combos? Should they be served with creamy blue cheese or cooling ranch? Plus, most people are very particular about where they get their favorite chicken wings, and that includes chefs.
No surprise, just like you, they have some clear favorites, but there was only one chicken wing chain that most of the chefs raved about.
A strong standout with national chains among the chefs and food professionals we spoke with was Wingstop.
David "Chef Fig" Figueroa, of Melinda's Hot Sauce, (the sauces are excellent for homemade wings), tells us, "Ideally, I like to make my own wings but when I'm feeling lazy, I go with Wing Stop because they allow me to order extra crispy/well done on Door Dash because I cannot stand a wing with flabby skin, yuck!"
"I LOVE WINGS!!!," says Diana Manalang, chef and owner of Little Chef, Little Café in NYC. "One place I do find myself fancying for take-out when I am craving just wings is Wingstop. We have one in Astoria and it's a godsend on days when I want some fried saucy goodness. What I like about Wingstop is the array of flavors they offer. There's 12 flavors and I love mixing and matching to create flavor explosions."
Another Wingstop fan, Clinton Hall and Slate Executive Chef Darryl Harmon, tells us, "My favorite national wing spot is Wingstop. They make their wings fresh to order and are consistent every time. They have a variety of sauces and they allow you to choose up to two different sauces with their combo meals starting from the six-count and up."
Jakob Miller of Barbeque Pals is also firmly on team Wingstop, saying, "The wings are always cooked to perfection, with a crispy exterior and juicy interior. Plus, the generous portion sizes make these wings a great value for the price. Overall, these wings are consistently delicious and always satisfy my craving for a tasty snack."
If you haven't tried Korean fried chicken, Chef and author Allen Bixby suggests you get yourself to fried chicken chain Bonchon for their spicy and sticky wings, telling us, "If you think Korean barbecue is awesome (it is!) wait until you try their Korean fried chicken. And their wings! Only two sauces, soy garlic and spicy, but each is amazing with great Asian flavor influences on a perfectly cooked crunchy wing."
Manalang, of Little Chef, Little Café loves the pizza chain in a pinch, saying, "Late at night when nothing else is open, Domino's wings definitely hit the spot. I request them fried well done because each time, they are delivered so hot and saucy. They have five flavors and also offer plain wings. Sometimes I ask for my sauce on the side so I can dip as I please."
The Smoke Shop BBQ
Jason Santos, the owner of Buttermilk & Bourbon, Nash Bar, and Citrus & Salt in Boston, shared that he loves the wings at this regional New England BBQ chain, telling us, "I love the Smoke Shop's Famous Wings. Chef Andy Husbands has a couple Smoke Shop locations in Massachusetts, and they are honestly delicious. They are tossed with Andy's BBQ pit spices and so crispy and so addictive. The dry rub he puts on them is the perfect combination of smoke and spice. I could eat a whole bucket of them. He is known for his BBQ skills and they definitely translate through his wings."
Many of the chefs we spoke with shared their love of their local corner pub or easy stop for wings, and honestly, who doesn't love getting wings at a local bar while watching a ball game.
"My favorite place to get chicken wings is PJ's Pub & Grill," says Chef Robert Sisca, of The Banks Fish House in Boston. "They serve their wings with Buffacue sauce, a mix of buffalo and barbecue that is perfectly spicy and sweet. I'm working on replicating it at home for my twin boys."
Arya Alexander, of Wellingtons LA, says, "My favorite chicken wings are from Night Market Song in Silverlake. They're always perfectly crispy, glazed, and the right amount of spicy. I could take down 20 of them in one sitting they're THAT good."