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Searching for decent wings in Birmingham

curej Jun 28, 2009 08:36 AM

Where do Birminghamites go for excellent chicken wings? I've tried the chains: Buffalo Wild Wings (embarrassed tiny little things maybe from a cornish game hen, nyeh), Baumhower's (awful...the sauces seem to consistently evade the meat and wind up in a puddle beneath the pale, bland wings), Exotic Wings (only had them in bulk-serving-style from a pan at a group dinner, but they may be the best I've had in Bham)...

Jim N Nicks wings aren't bad, but there is no flavor variety there, only "heat levels".

I'm not a "deep-fried" Buffalo style purist....I really loved the (?baked) wings at Wild Wing Cafe in various locations east of here (but in our latitudes). If they'd come to Bham I'd be there regularly....but alas...I'd also love to find a place that did great Chinese Wings (crispy five-spice style or the sticky honey/garlic/chili pepper style like those I used to mow through in a little Chinese joint across the street from the old MUSC in Charleston). I'd really enjoy being able to grab some of the delicious smoked wings like I had at Dinosaur Barbecue in Syracuse, NY, if someone around here made them.

'Course it goes without saying, but I'd like the place to also have a great selection of ice cold beer, and to not charge extra for extra ranch or bleu cheese dressing (what an abomination).

Give us a little feedback, wings lovers.

  1. b
    birminghamvisitor Jun 28, 2009 09:22 AM

    I don't really do flavored wings, but when I have a hankerin for hotwings I go to On Tap. They have flavored ones, but I always get Scorcher. The wings are of good size and cooked properly, they have a pretty good beer slection, and they are served with your choice of ranch or blue cheese. Check em out.

    29 Replies
    1. re: birminghamvisitor
      scrumptiouschef Jun 28, 2009 10:51 AM


      1. re: scrumptiouschef
        curej Jun 30, 2009 05:24 PM

        That post seemed to be dealing more with fried chicken than wings, per se, no?

        1. re: curej
          scrumptiouschef Jun 30, 2009 10:05 PM


          First line in my post reads:"I'm on the tail end of a three state Fried Chicken Wing eating frenzy."

          I ate exclusively wings at Green Acres Cafe[B'ham]Burger Boy[London,Kentucky]and Princes Hot Chicken in Nashville over a two day period last June.All three joints offer other pieces too but I wanted to compare their wing offerings.

          The post title may have thrown you off because it doesn't use the word "wings".

          As a Fried Chicken Wing lover I can tell you you won't find any finer than at Green Acres on 29th Ave North.

          1. re: scrumptiouschef
            curej Jul 1, 2009 07:53 AM

            Well thanks, and sorry that I didn't read your post more carefully! I will have to find Green Acres. One question though....is Green Acres in a part of town that is, shall I say, family friendly?

            1. re: curej
              scrumptiouschef Jul 1, 2009 08:23 AM

              The Grattons run a clean joint. My afternoon visit last year found the place full of friendly neighborhood folks:workers from nearby retail shops,people soaking in some ac on a hot day,harried dads feeding fried chicken to their young'uns etc.

              I never got the feeling I needed to be watching my back but the food was so good I was mainly concentrating on getting the deliciousness in my gullet.

              That being said I'm always careful wherever I go and that includes Highlands or Fat Sams.Bham strikes me as a being a safe city in general.

              1. re: scrumptiouschef
                curej Jul 2, 2009 08:11 AM

                Help me with some specific directions please..I'm going to try Green Acres, but there's more than one, apparently....


                1. re: curej
                  scrumptiouschef Jul 2, 2009 08:45 AM

                  I'll go you one better. Found a coupon online for dollar beers on Saturday night.


                  Make like Richard Roundtree and roll in there for some beer and wings.

                  Also,this is the original Green Acres.The others are a pale shadow.

                2. re: scrumptiouschef
                  bovinekid Jul 2, 2009 09:34 AM

                  "Bham strikes me as a being a safe city in general."

                  Haha. Seriously?

        2. re: birminghamvisitor
          curej Jun 30, 2009 05:29 PM

          We went to On Tap for dinner tonight. Yuengling pints for $3.25, wings for 50 cents each. Good deal. Good wings. Meaty, cooked perfectly (i.e. they were not chicharrones), and very flavorful without seeming excessively greasy. The blue cheese dressing was killer, very chunky (more chunks than liquid). I had plenty to eat with a dozen wings, and brought the stragglers home for another day. I had "hot". I guess I could have gone with "extra hot" or "scorcher", but I thought I'd start slowly....Thanks for the tip. My wife had the steak and cheese sandwich and was happy.

          1. re: curej
            birminghamvisitor Jul 1, 2009 05:44 PM

            Glad you liked it.

            1. re: curej
              Dax Jul 2, 2009 06:40 AM

              On Tap's are some of my favorites, although I prefer the wings at Loco's. I order both hot with bleu. I always order the wings extra crispy; I guess I like the chicharrones crunch!. The bleu is better at On Tap which also has lots of beers on tap (amazing I know!) and it's infinitely closer to me in Lakeview.

              Moe's barbecue does a decent smoked wing. I would see if you could get some without them reheating then reheat in your own over at a higher temp. One time when I had takeout they were a little limp - of course smoked are rarely as crispy as fried unless right out of the smoker.

              1. re: Dax
                curej Jul 2, 2009 08:13 AM

                Dax, Where's Loco's?
                I didn't mean to imply that I don't like my wings crunchy, I do. I just don't like it when they're fried to the point that the meat (not the skin, per se) is leathery and dry. That seems to happen regularly at some spots.

                1. re: curej
                  Dax Jul 2, 2009 08:23 AM

                  Out on Lakeshore in Wildwood. I agree, I like the outside crunchy and the inside just meaty.

                2. re: Dax
                  curej Jul 7, 2009 05:03 PM

                  Went to Moe's Original BBQ in Vestavia tonight. NOT GOOD. The "smoked wings" were covered in a sticky hot sauce. Couldn't taste the smoke. Really disappointed. Also, they were quite chewy. I've smoked wings in my Weber Smokey Mountain in the past and they were way better. Tender, smokey. Not like this disaster. The beer selection was pitiful, only Bud products. I let the young lady behind the counter talk me into a "Natty Lite". Yuk. This stuff must be the effluent they capture at the factory when they wash down the beer vats every night. My wife had the pulled pork. Very little bark (good for her, bad for me) and WAY over-vinegared. The bottom of the bun was absolutely soaked in vinegar. Why can't BBQ joints just serve smoked meat and let the customer sauce/season it as they like? The beans and okra, collards, potato salad, baked beans, and cornbread were all actually good. No complaints there. Anyway, if your taste in BBQ is anything like mine, this is a place to avoid. And IMHO, their wings are really bad, at least as prepared for me.

                  1. re: curej
                    Dax Jul 7, 2009 06:08 PM

                    Weird, the one in Lakeview doesn't sauce their pulled pork for the sandwiches, or at least not overly so (I agree on pre-saucing) and I don't recall the wings didn't have any sauce on them the one time I ordered them.

                    1. re: Dax
                      curej Jul 15, 2011 05:25 AM

                      Has anyone tried Wing King in Pelham? Good reviews on Urbanspoon, but I'm looking for a second opinion from 'Hounds.

                      1. re: curej
                        hlsess Jul 16, 2011 08:38 AM

                        I've gotten the wings at Moe's BBQ in Lakeview- Excellent!!

                      2. re: Dax
                        Dax Jul 16, 2011 01:24 PM

                        "I don't recall the wings didn't have any sauce on them the one time I ordered them"

                        I meant I do not recall their wings being sauced at all.

                        1. re: Dax
                          curej Jul 19, 2011 06:24 PM

                          I had the smoked then grilled wings at Bone Daddy's tonight with the three sauces. They were excellent, and are highly recommended. I also had half a slab of spareribs ($15 for a half slab seemed kinda pricey, but to be fair these were big, meaty ribs). I'm gonna put the ribs firmly in "average" territory. Not bad, but a little chewier than I liked, and they came out (like the collards that I got with them) lukewarm, just barely passing the "send it back" temperature by a degree or two. We finished with a shared piece of peanut butter pie which was perhaps the densest, heaviest, richest peanut butter pie I've ever had. It was delicious, but dangerous, I'm sure. I had too much with a half a piece. Like eating a stick of butter. With chocolate and peanut butter on it. And an Oreo crust. Wow.

                          1. re: curej
                            Dax Jul 20, 2011 07:14 AM

                            Have you tried the smoked wings at TJ's Barbecue which recently moved from Avondale to the UAB area? Good review on urbanspoon about the smoked wings but I have read here that the 'cue is forgettable.

                            1. re: Dax
                              curej Jul 20, 2011 07:49 AM

                              I have not. I'll have to look them up. I work at UAB, so it would be a good lunch option. Of course, UAB's a big place, so it might be farther than I think!

                              1. re: curej
                                Dax Jul 20, 2011 12:20 PM

                                1801 4th Avenue South

                                1. re: Dax
                                  sheilal Jul 21, 2011 06:36 AM

                                  Is this on the sidewalk level of the North Pavilion where the other eateries are located (China Master, Guthries, etc.)?

                                  1. re: sheilal
                                    curej Jul 21, 2011 09:08 AM

                                    When I Google that address it's the same as "China Master", so I guess they moved into that spot.

                              2. re: Dax
                                curej Jul 29, 2011 08:45 AM

                                Went to TJ's for lunch a couple of days ago. It was absolutely mobbed. I got an order of three smoked wings and the chopped pork sandwich. The wings were ok, nothing to write home about. They tasted smokey but were surprisingly tough (not "fall off the bone" tender) like the smoked wings I've made myself or those I've eaten at Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse (my favorite spot for smoked wings so far). Made me wonder if they were really smoked at all....The pork sandwich was pretty awful. Big tough chunks of fairly bland-tasting pork. I'd steer away from that. I saw some large folks eating and apparently enjoying some large spareribs. I just don't want to get that sloppy at lunchtime. Overall, I was pretty disappointed. I will say that I recently ate and loved the ribs at Sweet Bones.

                                1. re: curej
                                  Dax Aug 1, 2011 07:40 AM

                                  That is disappointing. Sorry they were no good but thanks for trying them and taking one for the team.

                                  1. re: Dax
                                    curej Aug 2, 2011 08:45 AM

                                    Thanks Dax. I really encourage you to try the wings at Sweet Bones. I'm getting hungry thinking about them. The sauces are dee-lish, too.

                                    1. re: curej
                                      Dax Aug 2, 2011 01:49 PM

                                      So both the wings and ribs were good at Sweet Bones?

                                      1. re: Dax
                                        curej Aug 2, 2011 02:57 PM

                                        Dax, I'd say that Sweet Bones' ribs were less memorable than their wings, but I did really enjoy the last batch of ribs I got there. The winning combo (if you're hungry) would be wings as an appetizer and ribs as your dinner. If you're REALLY (insanely) hungry, finish with a piece of the peanut butter pie. They apparently changed their PB pie recipe. I had it over a year ago and it came frozen. Last time it was really good, but too much for two people. The hostess comped my wife and I the pie, though, as she remembered us a loyal customers of her prior employer. (So what I'm saying is that the pie serving might have actually been larger than usual). My opinion about SB has really changed. I went there a few times over a year ago and was not happy (which surprised me, because I really liked them when they were at Lee Branch). My last two visits have been much better.

                3. sheilal Jul 21, 2011 11:45 AM

                  Has anyone tried the wings at the corner of University Blvd and 20th street south? I can't remember the name, but they took over the old Starbucks location.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: sheilal
                    curej Jul 21, 2011 12:10 PM

                    @sheilal I went in and looked at their menu one day, but it didn't seem too compelling and I walked out. I need to give it a shot, though, as the place seems pretty popular. My paradigm for "flavored wings" is Wild Wing Cafe, out of Charleston, SC. The closest franchise is just west of Atlanta. Love their wings though. Otherwise I usually stick to Buffalo style. I have not found a Chinese restaurant in town that does "good" Chinese wings (either the sweet-sticky garlic sesame type or the crispy five-spice style). If you know of one, please post the restaurant. I really love those, too.

                    1. re: sheilal
                      curej Aug 4, 2011 05:21 AM

                      Update: I went to the wings joint on University and 20th for lunch yesterday. I had a 10 piece order of wings ("Asian Hot") with onion rings and a drink. The order was over $10 and an extra serving of bleu cheese dressing was an extra $.85, which bugged me a little. The wings were not crispy, though they were fried. They were quite tasty, moist, and not of the dinky variety occasionally served at Baumhowers. I would have liked them a bit hotter (picante hot, not tempature hot). The onion rings were just ok. I would really like to try a few more of their flavors before "passing judgement", but I am quite willing to go again based on lunch yesterday. Recapping some of my current Bham Wing favorites: Smoked then Grilled wings at Sweet Bones, "Butt Rubb" wings at Baumhowers, and any flavor on On Tap.

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