Chicken wings have been a part of my culinary DNA since I can first remember.
In fact, I named my catering company, House of Gristle, after the crunchy gristle–the best part of the chicken wing to enjoy.
Every year around the Super Bowl and March Madness, wing enthusiasts reignite a timeless debate:
Who has the best chicken wings in the Twin Cities?
As we find ourselves in the Blackest month of the year, my heart is tickled with joy as my most favorite things become the center piece of American culture.
In order for me to advise you on where to enjoy the best wings in the Twin Cities, one must understand the art of the wing first. I will not bore you with the countless ways we can debate what makes the best wing. For the sake of this list, I focused on: value, size, balance of flavor and originality. I am not a traditional woman so I tend to shy away from ordering the classic buffalo wing. There are so many hidden gems out there and flavors to explore.
Here are my top 5 chicken wings in the Twin Cities today:
1. A + J's Fish and Chicken
3 whole wings, Fries, Cole Slaw, bread
If you are looking for a starting point in your journey to find the best chicken wing. Start here. This is a no frills kind of place. There is usually always somewhere to park because this counter service spot kicks out piping hot chicken wings to you within 6 minutes. Their whole wings are battered and fried. The outer coating surprisingly effervescent and lightly seasoned. A+J’s Fish and Chicken is serving you a lesson in craftsmanship.
2. Soul Lao
6 OG wings
Soul Lao is one of the treasures of the Twin Cities.
Their OG oyster wings are named after and inspired by co-owner Eric Phothisanh’s grandmother. OG wings are crunchy, twice-fried, and glazed with a slightly sweet and salty oyster sauce.
Stop by Blackstack Brewing for Wing Wednesdays and enjoy the best wing deal in town: 5 wings and a beer for $10!
8 smoked wings
If you are intentionally out searching for a properly smoked wing, this is the spot for you. Even if you are not into smoked wings, come here anyway.
First the wings are smoked and then they are flashed fried. When I tell you the skin on this chicken is snatched? The skin of the wings stretches tightly around the meat and when you bite into it, it snaps like a crowd at a poetry slam. This keeps the inside meat buttery and juicy. The glaze is smokey with chipotle and slightly sweet forward from the apricot.
If there was such a thing as a chicken wing therapist, Chef Mik German would be your guy. He has heard your chicken wing cries and has produced some original spice blends and unique sauce combinations. The hot maple should be our state chicken wing flavor. The sticky maple has been blended with our very own Cry Baby Craig’s Hot sauce.
The dry rub is out of this world.
5. Doolittle's Woodfire Grill
6 full wings
These reminds me of summer backyard cook outs. These wings are served whole and glazed in a mild buffalo sauce. I especially like the slight charring around the outer edges and one of the best ranch dressings in town.