We consume them in cascading mountains. The stats from the National Chicken Council read like satire: The NCC’s 2017 Wing Report (Americans are so batshit about chicken wings that the National Chicken Council does a Wing Report annually) projected 1.33 billion wings would be eaten on Super Bowl Sunday earlier this year, which is enough to stretch from Massachusetts to Georgia 80 times. That's roughly 83,125 tons of chicken wings eaten on one day.
So, in one of the most football-crazed cities in the world, no one should be surprised that there are dozens of ways to eat lightning-hot chicken wings. There are the right-as-rain Sysco wings in the cherry baskets, doused in chemical hot sauce and butter, fried, served with heart-stopping blue cheese sauce. Then there are careful, Thai-inspired options, glazed in garlic sauce. Some arrive in parchment, elevated with herbs. Some will hit your lips like napalm — meant to wound your insides with capsaicin extract.
These are the wings of Dallas that are show-stoppers. They are the wings that need no Super Bowl (although, they’re perfect with a cold beer and a TV that’s playing any sporting event whatsoever).
The Scorching Hot Wings at Lakewood Landing (20 for $10.95)
The heat is real. If you’re needing a dim bar, cold whatever-beer, flat screen, and a powerful, scream-for-a-while-then-cry heat, Lakewood Landing is your next step. They drop their wings into the fry-oil until they crisp into a dark, molasses brown. The ranch is made in house, which is the only thing that comes close to fire-hosing your brain down. Get extras, and be thankful for the dim, dive bar lights: No one looks sexy eating these wings.
5818 Live Oak St.
The Thai Chicken Wings (Peek Gai Nam Daeng) at Malai Kitchen $6
They arrive as a tangle of sticky, sweet bird wings. They marinate in fish sauce and chili powder for a couple of hours. They’re painted, in all the nooks and crannies, with a Thai chili, paprika, lemongrass and cider vinegar-spiked sauce that’s punctuated with coins of jalapeño and cilantro. The skin is so deeply, satisfyingly crunchy that our ancestors would be proud of the way you’ll clean and gnaw the bones. These are, at minimum, one of the two best wing dishes in the city. Get them spicy — they’re manageable — and start with the wings studded with sesame seeds. And extra napkins.
3699 McKinney Avenue, #319
The Darkwing Drums at Armoury D.E. (Five for $12)
Deep Ellum has changed. It wasn’t long ago that an appetizer of duck hearts, two handfuls of them tumbling around in pesto, was not likely to be found on Elm Street. Now, we have Armoury D.E., which has conquered the duck — you'll find hearts and fried wings for the devouring. For a few bucks more than the average hot wing order, you get five duck wings that get deep fried and tossed around with a mango meets peach chili sauce. They’re fruity, warming, and — eat your heart out, Col. Sanders — damn finger-licking good.
2714 Elm St.
The “Fat Chicken Wings” at Fat Chicken (6 for $12)
This Trinity Groves chicken-indulgence spot does wings a little differently. They dry-rubs the bird arms, give them a 24-hour buttermilk bath of French herbs that rivals any spa treatment you’ll find in the city and coat the wings in flour, “secret spices,” and fry everything until it’s copper-gold. Encircle yourself with dipping sauces — the ranch one, oh yes — like a moat around your plate, and dip accordingly.
3011 Gulden Lane #104
The Stuffed Chicken Wings at Sakhuu Thai (Two big wings for $8)
One of the most innovative poultry experiences in Dallas is the porchetta of hot wings. They debone the marinated chicken wings, very neatly, stuffing them with rice, green onions, a Thai spice blend that includes garlic powder and allspice. They're seared on the grill and then fried crispy. "The wings are definitely a labor of love," says Angel Young of Sakhuu. It’s a knife and fork wing that’ll change the way you look at bird flappers. Bonus: You can find these stuffed wings at the State Fair, in the Tower Building food court.
4801 Bryan St #100
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The “Wings” at Ten Bells Tavern ($11)
One of the best bar snacks in the city is the sauced wings at Oak Cliff's tin tavern. Crags of blue cheese top their wall-to-wall sauced wings. They arrive the hue of a camp fire that’s smoldering, a top secret sauce of garlic, beer, brown sugar and a hammer or two of Frank's Red Hot. "We had a rival restaurant once try to poach our kitchen staff to find out how we make these," says owner Meri Dahlke. Fine dices of green onions and celery cut through the richness. These are real, pre-football-tasting tavern wings (they're drumsticks that behave like wings) On Tuesdays, you can get wings and a beer for 10 bucks.
232 W. 7th St.
The Angry Dog Chicken Wings at Angry Dog (10 wings for $7.95; 20 wings for $15.95)
When all you need in the world is deep-fried chicken wings, soaked in beautiful, cherry-red hot sauce, glacier cold beer and ranch dressing, then Angry Dog is a classic. For nearly 28 years this bar has been serving up frills-free hangover cures, and their wings are a consistent joy. Saddle up to the bar with a local beer (you’ll need a couple if you get the “super hot” sauce), and down this thought-free food.
2726 Commerce St.
Runners-up: You’ll never be without good chicken wings in this city. The above are, in our opinion, the best, but there are a few that’ll still blow your hair back: The Japanese-style wings at Victor Tangos (for $12) are sticky and delicious. Bryan Street Tavern offers nuclear wings that’ll make you sweat volcano tears. For solid delivery wings, Greenville Avenue Pizza Co. has some safe bets that’ll light up your brain like a Christmas tree.