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Apr 12, 2009 07:29 AM

Who has the spiciest and/or best chicken hot wings in northern virginia or DC area?

I've been watching Man vs Food on the travel channel, and it got me craving some spicy wings. Does anyone know of some famously hot wings in the area? I live in northern Virginia, but would be interested in wings anywhere within the metro area. Thanks.

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  1. You might find a Cluck-U chicken nearby they are a chain. I know there are some in Annapolis. They have some famously hot wings. I like the hot wings at Nando's Peri Peri.

    1. Bungalow Billiards has the best tasting near-traditional style in the area, imo - but you have to get the 3 mile island sauce.

      1. That's hard one, Jgaff. I went to college near Buffalo, NY and those folks just naturally make great wings. Down this way, we seem to really screw it up. In fact, I know of no single place in this area (and I've been searching for over 20 years since college).

        A real Buffalo wing is so easy to make, too. No spices, no marinating, no breading, no special oil. You just deep fry the wing sections until they reach a crispy medium-to-dark brown. Then, you drain them quickly, dump them into a container with a lid, pour over a couple of ladles of wing sauce, close it and shake for about 20 seconds. Celery sticks and bleu cheese dressing are mandatory.

        The classic Buffalo wing sauce is nothing. You melt some butter (but, most places just use margarine), add some unremarkable hot sauce (most people in central NY seemed to use Crystal, or Red Hot - nothing more expensive), and maybe a bit of tomato paste to thicken the sauce so it clings. But, that's about it. They add heat to the sauce with various amounts of unremarkable dry spices (i.e., black pepper, red pepper, cayenne pepper, etc.)

        A friend of mine from up there once said that you know when you are out of upstate NY when the "Buffalo wings" start containing things like breading, honey, habanero peppers, teriyaki, etc.

        To tell you the truth, the closest, consistent product that I've found (on a mass scale) down this way comes from Hooters. If you get their "naked" (unbreaded) wings, you get a close approximation. They also have some sauces that range from the mild to the insane.

        13 Replies
        1. re: Sean D

          Sean - if you ever make it out to Jimmy's in Herndon, let me know your thoughts. Jimmy is from Buffalo and proud of it. His wings are pretty good - though I still give the edge overall to Bungalow. Bungalow (esp. with the sauce) is their interpretation, but they are good.

          1. re: Dennis S

            Thanks Dennis. I'll try both. From the sounds of it, Jimmy's at least has the heritage for making the genuine article. lol

            1. re: Sean D

              in dc (adams morgan) , asylum on 18th st has surprisingly good wings

          2. re: Sean D

            The issue that most places run into is that they don't fry their wings long enough at a high enough temperature, leading to flabby skin and really greasy meat (instead of just sort of greasy meat).

            The sauce is easy - if you mess up the sauce you have no right to be in the kitchen.

            I have not found a place around here that makes a respectable wing, but perhaps asking the kitchen to fry them "hard" would help.

            1. re: Sean D

              I grew up in Buffalo, and live in Richmond VA now, and we also think that Hooters naked wings with hot sauce comes the closest to what I grew up with. Looking forward to trying Jimmy's in Herndon on my next trip up 95.

              1. re: jeanmarieok

                If you time the visit with a televised Buffalo sporting event, you'll have lots of comrades.

              2. re: Sean D

                Here's a funny/real reply to your post.

                True, this area's wings pretty much suck.

                The thing is that in this area, there's so much more variety in food that no one establishments cares to replicate the wings that you will find at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo.

                They include crabcakes, oysters, crabs, burgers, asian, french, etc. In upstate NY, you'll be hard pressed to find anything better than what this area has to offer besides wings. I know, b/c I went to school in upstate NY. The only exception may be the Tom Wahl bleu cheese burger or Wahlburger.


                And, to take this conversation home, many from upstate NY swear by Weggies (aka Wegmans), a supermarket with a huge, almost ridiculous, following that originated in Rochester, NY.

                Guess what? Their wings suck too!!! Imagine that!

                I do have a suggestion though.

                Anyone who wants a Buffalo Chicken Melt that is truely awesome and comes close to great Buffalo Wings, I recommend the Buffalo Chicken Melt Sandwich at the Silver Diner. Two huge freshly deep fried chicken tenders with plenty of bleu cheese, melted mozz, and ask for extra "Anchor Bar" Sauce. The bread is toasted with butter.

                1. re: Chownut

                  Uhh...I'd also like to point out that Buffalo is a city of 300,000 (in the summer) with a metro area less than 1 million. It's also as blue collar as you get - you can't compare Buffalo to DC any more than you can compare DC to NYC.

                  And going to college in "upstate" - an area the size of NY excluding NYC is hardly a good basis for comparrison.

                  1. re: reiflame

                    Reiflame, I can see where you're coming from...but, I have to respectfully disagree. I actually agree with the comments from Chownut...and do many of my pals from NY.

                    I'm a D.C. native, but I've spent lots of time all over NY state and now have connections everywhere in it. I did my undergrad at a SUNY school in the Rochester/Buffalo area. The "upstate" / "downstate" thing is a real cultural measuring stick for those folks. Upstate is anything outside the greater NYC area....which is prettymuch 95% of the state. Sounds crazy, but its the way they see themselves. (Though, some will differentiate "Western NY", "Central NY", "the Adirondacks", etc.)

                    The language even differs. Upstaters drink "pop" and eat "pizza". Downstaters drink "soda" and eat "pie". (And, never they twain shall meet.) In Binghampton, "speedie" means a really nice kabob-like sandwich with great sauce. In Manhattan, they think you're talking about a Mexican mouse.

                    The big point to be made here is that good Buffalo wings must be FRESH and simple. (This is the reason that Wegman wings really DO suck.) They are that way up there because they cook so many of them and everyone seems to eat them. School systems serve them for lunch (or, at least they used to.) Families cook them for dinner. Churches and clubs used to have 10 cent wing nights when I was up there. (Hope they still do.)

                    That's just not the case down here. Wings tend to appear mostly on appetizer menus, bar menus, or as a side offering in some pizzerias. I've been waiting for over 20 years (since moving back here) and I've yet to see the wing culture appear.

                    1. re: Sean D

                      I'm not sure what you're disagreeing with. For the record, I lived in Buffalo for 20 years. I know a good wing when I see it, and I've never had Wegmans wings because I always got my wings from Jacos or John's. We also never call it "upstate" in Buffalo, it's always "WNY".

                      My point is still this - comparing Buffalo to a big city is silly, just like all the arguements that pop up about DC vs. NYC.

                      1. re: reiflame

                        Just as silly as comparing wings from Upstate NY to the quality of wings down here in the WMA.

                        It's silly to compare, and Weggies, of all places, should be representing upstate NY with the wings, but they don't.

                        They even charged me for bleu cheese!

                        1. re: Chownut

                          I just got back from Buffalo and had possibly the best wings I've ever had at Hacienda Pizzeria in Niagara Falls. Crispy, not at all greasy and exactly the level of spiciness I like. Also, the blue cheese was room temp, which I love.

                          Not that this has anything to do with finding wings in DC, I just thought I'd share. I miss Buffalo sometimes, but I think I gained 8 pounds in the last 2 days.

                2. re: Sean D

                  i am a HUGE fan of good buffalo wings, and i want to try your recipe. how much butter would you use if you were making a pound of wings? and how much hot sauce? or is it more of a "to taste" deal? very interested in trying this out and can't wait for your reply!

                3. Bombay Curry Company's Tandoori charcoal broiled spicy wings are absolutely amazing. In the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria:

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: crackers

                    I agree, they are fabulous, but maybe not what the OP has in mind. Also Johnny's Half Shell has some wood grilled wings that are over-the-top delicious.

                      1. re: maoj

                        The tandoori wings are frickin' amazing, and that yogurty-green-tangy sauce that they're served with is out of this world! I think I need some tonight!

                        1. re: aburkavage

                          Anybody ever try the Chicken Lollipops at Masala Wok? They're pretty good.


                    1. I hail from Scranton, PA, and they take their wings almost as seriously as Buffalo does. Honestly, I've yet to find a place that actually manages to fry the wings long enough (kudos on the observation, reiflame) and use a decent sauce (couldn't agree more, Sean D).

                      I've found that the only way to get a taste of home is to make them myself. If you've got a deep fryer, then it's extra simple - just fry plain, unbreaded wings for about 3 minutes longer than you think you should, or until ridiculously golden brown. If, like me, you don't have a deep fryer you can use the oven with great success. I crank it up to 450 and spread the wings (unbreaded, seasoned with salt and pepper) on a cookie sheet lined with a rack. After 30-40 minutes, I flip them and cook them for another half hour or so. As is the case with the deep fryer, you really need to cook them about 10% longer than you think to ensure that the wings stay crispy after being sauced.

                      For the sauce, I dump a small can of Hunt's tomato sauce, a whole bottle of Red Hot, a few pats of butter, a splash of white vinegar, a pinch of salt, ground black pepper, cayenne and pepper flakes to taste into a pan and bring it up to heat. Toss with the hot crispy wings immediately and serve with bluech and celery. You'll be loffin!

                      16 Replies
                      1. re: aburkavage

                        Aburkavage, I had no idea that Scranton was a wing place. It definitely sounds like you know how to whip up a batch of good ones! Your sauce sounds excellent.

                        1. re: Sean D

                          Scranton is very big on wings, and Scrantonians tend to be ridiculously loyal to one place over pretty much everywhere else - I'm sure Buffalo is similar in that regard. My favorite wings come from a place called The Windsor Inn, and their sauce tends to be a little more tomatoey than the rest - hence my recipe.

                        2. re: aburkavage

                          Aburkavage-very interesting sauce! I also appreciate your method for oven-roasting. I have a fryer, but most times do not want to deal with the oil etc.

                          1. re: monavano

                            The sauce is money - give it a try. The only issue I ever have with oven-roasting my wings is that they can dry out if they're on the small side. That said, I still prefer a slightly drier wing that's crispy to one that's soggy and slimy.

                            1. re: aburkavage

                              I know how you feel about the oil, Monavano. I have lots of friends and family that outrightly rejected deep-fried foods. I've found that you can bake, broil, or grill wings and coat them with a typical Buffalo-style sauce. The result isn't terrible, but it just won't be a real wing (in the Buffalo/Scranton sense).

                              My biggest issue with the baking is flabby skin, which I find unappetizing.

                              1. re: Sean D

                                If you bake a wing in a 450 degree oven for over an hour, I promise you won't have to worry about ANY flabby skin.

                                Aburkavage, The Windsor is very good but I think I might prefer a health inspector's nightmare known as The Donkey.

                                1. re: gregb

                                  450 for over an hour? is there any meat left -- forget about flabby skin?! i think my smoke alarm would be going off, no?

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    I was doubtful about the time but I actually ended up cooking them for about 65-70 minutes. What I'm about to say may be sacrilegious, but I think that I actually prefer them baked (and I LOVE fried foods)-the skin came out very crisp. My smoke alarm did go off but that has more to do with my lack of a hood which vents outside.

                                    1. re: Jule

                                      Jule, I think I agree with you! I'm a huge fan of the oven roasted wings.

                                      1. re: aburkavage

                                        You can also throw the naked wings in a skillet and fry them at medium heat for about 20-30 minutes. They fry up nice and crisp without adding any fat whatever. I like 'em done that way with Crystal sauce added at the end

                                      2. re: Jule

                                        I can now weigh on this with first hand experience - it works and works very well. I was also doubtful of the time at that temp - especially after seeing other baking recipes call for 30 mins at 350 - which must turn out soft and flabby and gross.

                                        I pulled two wings at 35 minutes, 2 at 45 and the other 4 at around an hour. Definite difference between all three sets. I also like that the fat cooks off. I had them directly on a corning ware dish, so I need a good rack they won't stick to, and I wonder about finishing them off after saucing under a broiler.

                                        I'm trying to achieve the way the wings come out at Bungalow - the sauce sort of soaks into the wing, leaving them pretty dry after a couple of minutes of them being on the table (which helps make the side of 3 mile island even better).

                                        Edit: Just tried a couple of other things. The last quick broil after saucing worked, but so did saucing and then NOT letting them sit in sauce - even on the final plate. So, basically I submerged them into the sauce and let them sit there for 30-60 seconds, pulled them out, and found that it was best to rest them not on top of each other, but around a plate, and actually flipping them a couple of minutes afterwards gave the best texture all around.

                                        FWIW I used the BYFO sauce from CJ's in Columbia, MO. Missouri Tigers (my alma mater) and my Dad-in-Laws alma mater (Navy) are playing this Friday in a bowl game, so we're bringing representative foods to the "table". My other main contribution will be blue chips cheese bread - cut up shrimp and blue cheese on otherwise normal garlic cheese bread. Oh, and toasted ravioli.

                                        1. re: Dennis S

                                          Damn - that method keeps on giving. I kept a couple around and 3 hours later the skin is still crispy. So glad you posted this info, aburkavage!

                                          1. re: Dennis S

                                            One question I ended up having - the sauce - aburkavage talks about a sauce, but it still leans on Red Hot. Is there any more generic source that could be used (aka he mentions tomato sauce, not Hunts). Is there an equivalent? I'd like to work on my own variation but don't want to rely on any other underlying brand.

                                      3. re: alkapal

                                        On Good Eats, Alton Brown steams then bakes wings. I haven't tried then that way - almost always grill them.

                                        I like the chili lime wings at Hard Times, especially when they're half price during happy hour.

                              2. re: aburkavage


                                I agree about cooking them ridiculously long. Eight minutes will give you a medium wing, about 10 minutes will give you a nice well-done wing. I never use a deep fryer, tho. Any old deep pot will do. Use peanut oil if you want 'em to smell especially good. You can get a massive bottle of vegetable-peanut oil blended oil at H-Mart for about 5 bucks and make multiple batches of wings from it.

                                I use Franks + butter + minced garlic for my sauce. I might have to drop in some tomato sauce to thicken it up.

                                I have yet to eat a better wing in this area than my own. :) Though I still will go out and try! And always ask "Well done/fry them hard, please."

                                That being said, Bill Bateman's wings aren't too bad. But I think we just have them in the Balto area, not DC.

                                1. re: venera

                                  The only ones I've had in Balto were from Kisslings and they were good. In fact, your recipe reminds me the wings from Kisslings which come speckled with more garlic than you'd care to eat in a week! Neverthess, they seem to cook them long enough and their sauce, while a little different, is pretty tasty.