1. Signature Hot Wings – Bird’s Nest
Sometimes it truly is a classic that keeps us captivated, and that’s the case with the best wings in Chicago. With their wings recently ranked among the Top 25 in America, it’s no wonder why Bird’s Nest has changed its reputation from neighborhood dive bar to reputable wing joint over the past few years. What makes these wings so noticeable, though? Well, to start with, every single batch of wings is looked over thoroughly to make sure they’re consistent. If they’re not, it’s back to the drawing board. They never use frozen chicken, and they refuse to let the chicken dry out. While they smell a little stingy at first, these wings are able to keep their spiciness without sacrificing flavor nor drying out, and that something few can say. Dip them in the in-house ranch that they make every day, and you’ll find yourself in wing heaven. Oh, and if you want to match your wings with a beer, ask Devin. He always knows exactly what beer to compliment every flavor of wings.
2. Sassy Wings – Crisp
How do you create wings that addictive, yet original? Well, it all starts with a little Korean zing. There’s a noticeable difference between these wings and anything else you’ll find in Chicago, and it all boils down to the fact that they’re not going for shock value nor simplicity, but, rather, they’re looking to provide a complex eating experience with something as simple as chicken wings. The “Sassy” Wings aren’t actually spicy at all, but their flavor has a familiar Asian sweetness to it that you just can’t get enough of. Marinate it with a little bit of Buddha Sauce for an experience like nothing else. Oh, and everything is made in-house, and the chicken’s never frozen, Now that’s some fresh chicken.
3. Smoky Wings – Barn & Company
Preparation is everything at Barn & Company. No, not like an hour of preparation. We’re talking about right around nineteen hours of preparation that goes into every wing that goes out on their tables. To get things started, they let their wings rest in a Buttermilk Brine overnight before cooking. This gives the wings a distinct juiciness that can’t be matched. In the morning, they apply an in-house dry rub before smoking them for two hours. Before serving, they flash-fry the chicken for sixties seconds and then apply one of their rubs or sauces before serving. So, pretty much, they’re dedicated to the craft. A lot of smokehouses get lazy with chicken, but that’s far from the case here. We’d recommend a rub or sauce, but you have to try every one of them. Every. Single. One.
4. House Special Buffalo Wings – Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap
Does size really matter? In the case of wings, yes. Let’s face it, no one has to gnaw away at a bone from the get-go. Luckily, this place just gets that. No, their wings aren’t from a mutated giant chicken, but they’re big enough to make us take notice, and that’s something to appreciate. That goes without saying that the flavor isn’t over-powering, and still allows you to enjoy the taste of the chicken without sacrificing the effect of the sauce. Succulent, juicy, and large… what else can you ask for from wings?
5. Creole Wings – Local Option
When you first hear that they only have one flavor of wings, you’re not quite sure what to think, but you soon find out that one flavor is all they need. The Creole Wings from Local Option have remnants of what you expect from Cajun wings, but there’s something a little sweeter than normal. While the people behind the scenes aren’t going to give up the secret recipe any time soon, we have no problem in coming back time and time again, especially considering their solid craft beer selection. The strange thing is that these wings seem to complement every beer that you’ll get there. Maybe that’s the reason behind having one beer? When you have a wing that matches well with everything, why make anything else?
6. Spicy BBQ Wings – High Dive
Sometimes the sauce makes the wing, and that’s definitely the case here. These wings are loaded with flavor and it all starts with the preparation of each individual wing. To High Dive, it has to be an art form when it comes to their wings. This just goes to show that not all dive bars are created equal, and that some take quality seriously. The best news is that you don’t even have to be schwasted to enjoy them. The Spicy BBQ stick out in particular for its unique blend of tangy and spicy flavors. Sure’ they’re a little messy, but no one’s going to judge you for going to town on these delicious wings.
7. Spicy Buffalo Chicken – Duffy’s
Ah, the classy buffalo wings… well, they’re almost classics. Instead of sticking with the foundation that’s already been laid, the Spicy Wings at Duffy’s kick things up a notch in the spice department, and the results are nothing short of fantastic. While they won’t give up the secret spice recipe they use in their wings, you should at least prepare to drink one full beer with an order of these. They won’t punish your insides as much as they will your mouth. Their scorching effects will leave your lips and mouth tingling for a bit, but it’s a punishment you’ll enjoy.
8. “Unbearabull” Wings – Bull & Bear
Sometimes you don’t want tame wings. Sometimes you really just want to punish your tastes buds with some of the hottest wings you can find, and the “Unbearabull” Wings from Bull & Bear will provide that and more. Sure, they’ll give you plenty of ranch or bleu cheese to try to mellow the burn, but nothing is going to save you from the signature sting that they never fail to supply. Not only is the hotness spectacular, but so is the fact that these wings are both Free Range and organic. So, you can at least rest assured that there’s also some ethics behind the wings they supply. Gotta love a place that cares about the chicken they serve.
9. Smoked Pepper Wings – Tavern at the Park
If you’re looking for something unique on your quest for the perfect wing, look no further than the Smoked Pepper Wings at Tavern in the Park. While sometimes you should proceed with caution when ordering wings that aren’t traditional, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll get both complexity and brilliant tastes from this combination. Smoked over Fruitwood and rubbed in Caribbean Jerk Rub, a flavorful experience awaits before you even add the sauce. They have a BBQ Sauce infused with Traverse City Cherry Cola. Yeah, you read that correctly. It’s sweetness makes for an experience like you’ve never had when eating wings. You’re welcome.
Did we leave out your favorite local wings? Too bad! Just kidding. Show them some love in the comment box below. We’re sure they’ll appreciate it.