Chicken wings are often spicy, and widely loved bits of chicken fried or BBQ'd up at sordid dumps (and the occasional quality restaurant!) around the nation, you can also make them yourself. They come in many varieties, the most common being Buffalo style (commonly dubbed "hot wings", although there are plenty of other varieties of spicy wings that fit the bill) and BBQ. They're also naturally a Super Bowl staple.
Wings come in the bone-in form and boneless (which are not technically wings). Historically, chicken wings (as in the actual part of the chicken) were dirt cheap compared to the meat of the chicken, running less than 25% the cost of breast meat in the mid 1990s. By 2010, the wholesale cost of wings had jumped to 140% the price of boneless, skinless breast meat, not only causing a price inversion, but making it much more cost effective to push boneless "wings" cut out of breast meat.
The best place for getting wings that are high quality, local, and cruelty/cage free is Nugget! They offer a rocky Jr wings that are billed as "fryer wings" but are perfect for grilling. It's also entirely the first cut and not the 2nd (1st cut is basically shoulder to elbow, 2nd is elbow to hand someone correct me if I'm wrong) they make a solid base to start from when you are going to BBQ Daubert
Should you feel bad about eating chicken wings? Maybe. Check out the Ethical Eating page and decide for yourself.
Davis (and Nearby) Restaurants Serving Wings
Applebee's - A dozen boneless or 10 bone-in wings for $8.99. They have Classic Buffalo, Hot Buffalo, Honey BBQ, Southern BBQ, and Sweet & Spicy sauces to choose from.
- 7/10 - Cheap and surprisingly delicious. The Hot Buffalo isn't particularly hot—pretty average buffalo wings, meaning the classic would probably be a bit on the mild side. The sauce is delicious, though. More peppery than most. Wings came out just slightly on the greasy-looking side, but it didn't detract from the taste or the texture.
- Cornish Kitchen and Catering
Domino's Pizza - $5.99/10pcs. Available in Buffalo, hot Buffalo, and BBQ, both bone-in and boneless. Hot Buffalo is your typical hot wings. Domino's delivers, of course, with a delivery fee of $1.99.
- 4/10 - These wings are greasy and have very little sauce. The sauce itself is decent, and the price is pretty low, but unless you don't like wings enough to care, it's not worth it. Good amount of meat. —TomGarberson
The Graduate - The hot wings are nice and spicy, and quite tasty. It's a fairly standard Buffalo style sauce. They run about $9/dozen. They also have BBQ wings... anyone who's tried them want to comment?
6-7.5/10 - The sauce is a little thin but tastes great; texture isn't quite as good as Sudwerk, but still very respectable. Decent amount of meat on the bones; more than you'll get from the store-bought party wings, but not as much as some of the primo places like Sudwerk.
- June 2010 update: the last two times I got these, they had a lot less hot sauce than usual and weren't nearly as spicy. Last week, I didn't even get the usual cup of blue cheese dressing with my order. Not sure if there's a new chef, if they're just off their game, or if they're getting stingier with the sauces. I'd drop the rating to 6.5 or 7 if the last couple of times become the standard. —TomGarberson
- 6-7.5/10 - The sauce is a little thin but tastes great; texture isn't quite as good as Sudwerk, but still very respectable. Decent amount of meat on the bones; more than you'll get from the store-bought party wings, but not as much as some of the primo places like Sudwerk.
Lamppost Pizza - They sell both "Buffalo Wings" and "Barbeque Wings," that come with ranch sauce. 6 wings is a half order, 12 is a full order ($11), and they also do 20 wings for sharing.
- 6-8/10 - Variable quality, ranging from good to great hot wings. I got a dozen to go during the world cup. Huge amount of meat on the wings—a dozen easily filled me up. They don't come heavily sauced, but they include plenty of sauce on the side (buffalo and ranch were both included, and I didn't even have to ask). Price is reasonable, slightly below average in town. They were very slightly greasy looking, but that may have been because they were cooked and sat in foil for 15 or 20 minutes before I partook. I want to try them there next time, fresh out of the fryer. They might well bump up to 9/10. Update: on subsequent visits they haven't been as good. Consistently a little on the greasy side. Still very tasty sauce with decent meat on the bones. Even fresh out of the fryer, they aren't quite as crispy as I'd like. Still reasonably good, just not all I'd hoped for. —TomGarberson
9/10 - Have gotten wings twice from here recently. As noted above, there is much sauce on the wings themselves, but there is a lot of sauce on the side. The skin is slightly crispy. One of the times the wings were sort of small but they through in a few extras, so no complaints here. - mikey crews
- Little update: the next time I tried them, they really weren't that good. Not much sauce and still greasy, even fresh from the oven. Second try earns them a 6. I'll have to give them a few more chances to see how things average out. —tg
- Little Caesars - $5 for 8 wings.
- Original Steve's - $7.99 for a dozen.
- Plainfield Station - $5.35 for a "small" order of hot wings as of 2007.
Pyramid Alehouse - Not in Davis, but it was a great destination for interesting hot wings. (Now departed from Sacramento, Berkeley, and Walnut Creek)
- 10/10 - truly the best hot wings I've ever had. They're atypical: they have a nice, crispy crust after being fried, and aren't sauced. Instead, they're served with a habanero hot sauce on the side. Massive amounts of meat on the bone, and if I recall correctly, they're all drumettes. The crispy coating is some sort of breading, and it gives a great texture. It also means that the meat stays incredibly moist. Be warned, though: the crust traps the heat inside, as well as the moisture, so they stay extremely hot. It's easy to burn your tongue before you even get to the deliciously spicy hot sauce. —TomGarberson
- As of May 2011, Pyramid's wings are available tossed or sauce on the side. Tossed gets you slightly less crispy but oh-so-delicious wings as the breading soaks up a ton of that yummy habanero sauce. They also apparently have a "house Louisiana-style sauce" as an alternative to the habanero sauce. Haven't tried it out yet. —tg
Sudwerk - Another Buffalo style sauce. You can get the wings by the half-dozen or dozen as an appetizer ($6.25 for 6, $11.25 for 12), or get the hot wings entree which lands you a plate of a dozen wings, a pile of their thick fries, and a big heap of onion rings, for $12.75. You can also substitute in a fruit cup or cole slaw or whatever, if you happen not to hate your arteries.
- 9/10 - quite possibly the best wings in Davis. Great sauce, nice and thick, good breading, tons of meat on the bones! —TomGarberson
Thai Canteen - $5 for 1/2 dozen at happy hour.
- 4/10 - Not much flavor here. The wings have little or no seasoning and no sauce when they come out. There's a mild, sweet and sour-type dipping sauce on the side. The wings are well cooked and have a little bit of crispiness, which is nice, but they just aren't very interesting.
Tommy J's, the kitchen in Froggy's - $5.75 1/2 dozen, $10.25 dozen for hot wings.
- 7/10 - They use Frank's Red Hot with a decent ratio of Frank's to butter. Not super spicy, but there's a good bit of zing to them. Average amount of meat on the bones (more than you get if you buy wings at the supermarket, but less than, e.g., Lamppost, Pyramid, or Sudwerk). Good price and quick service certainly don't hurt. You might try a half dozen with one of their tasty burgers.
Uncle Vito's Slice of N.Y. - They have wings in Buffalo (traditional hot wing), BBQ, and Thai Chili sauces. A "Small" order is 1 pound of wings, 8-10 pcs., for (I think) $7.95; a "Large" is 2 pounds, 16-20 pcs., for $13.95.
- 6/10 - Very crispy skin, which I like a lot. The buffalo sauce isn't that spicy, though, nor is it that flavorful. A "large" order still left me a bit hungry; there's really not all that much meat on the bones, despite getting 16-20 pieces (I'd guess no more than 16). While the buffalo sauce isn't particularly inspiring, the great crispiness would probably lend itself well to any sauce, so if they have a good BBQ or Thai sauce, I'll bet it'd be delicious. Not bad, but if you're looking for good wings, there's better available in town. —TomGarberson
Village Pizza & Grill - $7.79 for 1/2 dozen; $12.79 for 1 dozen.
- 7/10 - The wings were pricey, but quite good. Smallish wings, but very tasty sauce. It's fairly spicy and a bit sweet. Great color - a few shades darker than the usual Buffalo sauce. The gorgonzola sauce that comes with the wings is not good. I don't know what's in it, but it looked and tasted like a sub-par buttermilk ranch dressing or something of that sort. Since I don't dip my wings it wasn't really an issue, but if you are a dipper, look elsewhere. Presentation of the wings was really nice - the dark sauce was very pretty, and they were laid out on two very fresh leaves of butter lettuce. If they weren't so expensive and if the wings themselves were a little larger, they'd be 8/10. —TomGarberson
- Wingstop - wings, sides, drinks, combo meals and family packs. Bone-in and bone-less, with "all drums" and "flats" options. Very customizable, and you can order online.
- Woodstock's Pizza - Half(6) for $5.29, full(12) for $7.99, and platter(18) for $11.99.
3rd & U Cafe - Happy hour price half for $3.25
- 8/10 - Got 'em at happy hour and super cheap! Lots of sauce, decent spice level (I love spicy foods, though, so it might come off as quite a bit spicier to others). Decent sized, not very crunchy but again, it's because they are well-drenched in the sauce. Came with a side of what looks like ranch with bits of blue cheese in it? The half order, with the happy hour fries, comes out to a pretty good meal at under $5. So, with taste, size and cost playing a huge factor, an 8. May be different had they not been happy hour priced! —HannahToru
Hot wings are typically served with some celery and either ranch or bleu cheese dressing. With good wings, though, none of that is remotely necessary. Live the heat, love the heat!
- Davis has an extraordinary selection of hot sauces. If the selection on the hot sauce entry spins your head, just try Frank's Red Hot for a start. It is one of the more common sauces with a classic Buffalo taste. Mix with melted butter for a basic Buffalo sauce.
- Sweet Baby Ray's is fantastic --and gluten-free--, but there are countless options in your local grocery store. You can also make your own!
* Stubbs can give sweet baby rays a run for it's money and is also pretty good * Wing-Time Buffalo sauce was created in Davis, it's good and has roughly 5 levels of spice * Everett and Jones BBQ sauce is a bay area tradition sine the 60's The yellow lid medium spice is great * Roadhouse thick & chunky can be order online (used to be able to get it at savemart) get the spicy
Have a look around for recipes. Allrecipes is a great resource with a huge number of recipes and reviews. There are some great sauces out there, and they don't have to be associated with wings. Spicy Thai and Caribbean sauces go great. You can even do teriyaki and other mild, sweet sauces. Wing purists will likely mock you for it, but that's OK. Have a little self-esteem and do it your way. Who cares what anyone else thinks? They're your wings!
Other Ways to Get Your Fix
- Frozen - Supermarkets typically have a few different sorts of bagged wings in the frozen foods aisles. Safeway has TGI Friday's wings as well as a couple of other options. These aren't nearly as good as fresh wings, and they aren't that much cheaper. Don't settle! Costco has some very good frozen wings for a good price.
- Deli wings - Safeway sometimes (always?) has wings in the deli section. Not sure on the price.
Do It Yourself!
There's a reason wings are often found at fairly basic eateries: they're easy to make. Raw wings are available any place with a butcher (except the Meat Lab, which rarely does chicken breasts, and has whole chickens once per year). They're pretty cheap - typically $2/lb. or under. You can get the whole wings and break them down yourself; you can have the butcher cut them up; or you can often find packs that are already cut into "drumettes" and "wings". If you're breaking them down yourself, you may want to discard the tips, as there's very little meat on them. The wings you get in at the store tend to have a little less meat on them than the restaurant wings. Presumably the stores simply sell a slightly lower grade of bird, as with beef. Alternatively, the restaurants may be selling wings from larger/older birds.
Flour: tossing the wings in seasoned flour gives you the crispy crust after cooking. Use all-purpose flour, bread flour, whatever you prefer. For seasonings, throw in a little of whatever you like. Paprika, cayenne, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried leaf herbs, and so on are all fair game. Any good dry rub for grilling will go great, too.
Refrigerate: it's tempting to skip this step, since it adds a fair amount of time. Don't. Refrigerating after tossing the wings in the flour will give you the great texture you know and love at the restaurants. If you don't do this, chances are you're going to wind up with a gummy mess on the outside of the wings.
Cook: 10-15 minutes in 375 degree oil will do the trick, or ~40 minutes in the oven at 375F. Naturally, always check for doneness (165F). When you pull them out, drain any excess grease and toss them into your sauce!
Sauce: There are a lot of pre-mixed sauces out there that have everything you need. Likewise, you can use BBQ sauces as-is. If you get the bottles of Frank's hot sauce and you don't want to go too spicy, mix it with some melted butter. Check out the extensive entry about hot sauce here on the wiki for a wide range of flavor and heat options.
Marinate (Optional): Just about anything works. If you want to go quick and easy, just toss them in a little Italian dressing and soy sauce and let them sit for a while.
Grill: Medium heat, 20ish minutes, make sure you don't burn them.
Sauce: After they cool for a few minutes, you can just toss them in a large zip-lock bag with your sauce, seal, and shake to coat beautifully. Alternatively you can sauce them for the last 5 minutes they are on the grill, It's recommended to do 2-3 solid coats with no turning once sauced.
2010-01-28 09:43:05 Any other wing fans out there interested in going around and sampling the wings at the various places offering them? It'd be fun to put together some reviews and rankings. And my wife has a much lower threshold for that delicious burning, so I don't think she's in. —TomGarberson
2011-06-21 19:57:32 Ding How has the best, their not on the menu. I think they still might make them, it has been awhile since i've been there, their called Sauteed chicken wings. And their killer, let me know. —Theangrydiner
2011-12-16 10:34:55 Ex-Buffalonian here...nothing is even close to back home. I've tried a bunch in Davis and Sac. Looks like I'll have to invest in a deep fryer :) —sba
2012-11-20 01:07:25 If you're in Sacramento, Wingstop is quite good, if a little greasy. It's a chain, so don't expect an immaculate dining experience. But if you're deciding to eat wings you probably don't care about that anyway. —CecilioPadilla
And here to the content discussion: http://daviswiki.org/Chicken_Wings/Talk
2013-02-07 16:49:17 Could someone do a review of the wings at 3rd and U? :D —HannahToru
- Nevermind, did it myself xD -ht
2013-03-04 09:37:41 Growing up in Buffalo I came to think that wings were as ubiquitous as burgers, fries and pizza. In fact every pizza place in the Buffalo/Rochester area has wings on the menu as do the bars with a kitchen. Leaving Buffalo made me appreciate how good those chicken wings were. There are places that serve pretty bad wings there but on the whole most are pretty good. Here in the Davis/Sacramento area there are fewer places to get decent wings but there is one place in Sacramento that is as close to the average Buffalo NY wing place as you’ll get anywhere called Sam’s Sub shop on Fulton Ave. They are just called wings here as they should be and come in 4 different heats and sizes from 8 to a bucket of 50. This is the norm back home. Here in Davis I will usually make my own (I’d put my sauce recipe against the best anywhere) but if I go out I go to Sudwerk. Not great but will do if I need a quick fix. —pedalpower
2013-03-09 12:06:11 PYRAMID ALEHOUSE HAS CLOSED MARCH 4, 2013 :(((((( —HannahToru
- As of January 2016, there are no Pyramid Alehouse brewpubs in California. You'll have to travel to Seattle or Portland.