Chicken wings are one of my favorite food groups. While I understand its not a part of the actual food groups published by the USDA, I think it should be. You get protein in a chicken wing and sometimes grain if they are breaded and floured. When you factor in the ranch or blue cheese dressing that usually accompanies wings, you can check off the daily dairy serving. Vegetables? Check. Celery and carrot planks on your plate, and you have a complete meal deal hitting on all the food groups.
Wings can be very personal. Are you a plank or drummy fan? Do you eat around the wing, or can you shove a whole plank in your mouth and clean it to the bones in one bite? Do you consider cauliflower bites dressed up in buffalo sauce a welcome addition to the wing genre, or are you offended that someone is trying to pass off hunks of white cauliflower as your beloved chicken wing? There are so many questions to ponder when you think about chicken wings.
Here are a few of my favorite chicken wings in the Twin Cities, in no particular order. This list does not include the D-Spot that I have heard has amazing wings, as I have never been there. Also, not on this list is the OG of Wings, Runyon’s, still kicking it after all these years and Serums in Anoka, which Jason and I both love but have talked about a lot.
Saint Paul stalwart is known for their outstanding stuffed “Juicy Lucy” burgers but do not overlook the Pot O’Gold chicken wings. Voted Best Wings by MSP Magazine, you can order 8, 12, or 20 and have them sauced in any of 8 sauces. The wings are meaty, tender, and when ordered Minnesota Wild, they are dry rubbed and glazed with a spice combination that is a little bit sweet and spicy. Feeling Brave? Try their Hot Damn Wings Challenge where you eat 20 wings in 20 minutes covered in their habanero “Hot Damn Sauce” with no drink and no dipping, and you get a free t-shirt for $18.95.
Rubbed Wings. These are meaty and crispy, and besides the delicious spice rub, they are showered with lemon zest, which amps up the flavor. Red Cow’s thick homemade Ranch dipping sauce is also on point.
Rubbed with spice and Tempura fried with Thai Basil leaves and finished with jalapeno slices and lime wedges make these the perfect dry rubbed wings. They are so flavorful and crispy and need no additional dipping sauce – they are perfect as is.
I love the hickory-smoked whole wings here, but I also love the dry-rubbed and buffalo style wings that are drummies and planks. These wings are tender, simple, and perfectly executed bar wings and a great deal at $7.50 for a plate of 8 wings. Go big and add fries for an additional $2.
These wings are roasted over an open flame with and herb and spice rub until they fall off the bone. These are some of my favorite smoked wings in town.
I love the smoked wings at Famous Dave’s. I eat these in place of the ribs and often make a specific take out order of only wings. These wings are smaller, making them the perfect wing to eat in one bite. You can get them tossed in any of the Famous Dave’s BBQ Sauces like Rich and Sassy, Devils Spit or Wilbur’s Revenge, or traditional Buffalo. I like them sweet and sticky with the mild original Rich and Sassy BBQ sauce.
These are my favorite dry-rubbed wings in the Twin Cities. They are called “Beijing Style” and are dry, crispy, and perfectly flavored with over 18 spices, including cinnamon, red pepper, paprika, and cumin. I love that they are meaty and not sloppy. An order of wings with fries at Monte Carlo is a perfect Friday Night.
The King of Wings, the famous seasoning found on chicken wings and sold by the bag full, bar to bar in the ’70s are found at Bunny’s Bar and Grill. A little butter, thyme, curry, and red pepper make these wings a legend in the Twin Cities, and Bunny’s has brought them back in addition to their solid original, buttery Buffalo wings.