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DINING

25 best chicken wings in Austin, from Asian inspired to classic Buffalo

Matthew Odam
Austin American-Statesman

The chicken wing is a beautiful thing. Yes, on its own, it is quite simple: a modestly meaty cut with decent flavor. The greatness comes from its utility: the wing is a blank canvas.

For years in America, people dry-rubbed and smoked them or fried them and tossed them in a tangy, piquant sauce (Buffalo wings were allegedly invented in the Anchor Bar in New York in 1964).

The introduction of Asian flavors propelled the American sports bar favorite into a new class of food, something worthy of your time not just at game time. You can find them all over Austin baked, smoked, roasted, fried, double fried and tossed in almost any sauce you could imagine.

And there are as many opinions about wings as there are varieties of the appetizer. Check out the Statesman’s bracket challenge to see which wings Austinites think are the best.

Wingz Up or Pluckers?See who won the 2024 Best Wings in Austin bracket

As for my favorites, find those below, from the traditional to those representing flights of culinary fancy.

(Pro tip: If you’re ordering a batch of wings for the Super Bowl, or anytime, an air fryer works great for reheating. And if you know you’re going to be reheating and don’t have access to an air fryer, order your wings dry, and reheat on a sheet pan at 425 degrees sans sauce and toss them after they reach your desired level of crispiness.)

Black Sheep Lodge

Classic wings tossed in a medium Buffalo sauce is the go-to order at this bar. 2108 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-707-2744, .

Broth and Basil

Fish sauce lends umami to these mildly sweet Vietnamese-style wings, or you can get them dry with an East-meets-West Asian ranch. 8817 Limestone Commercial Drive, Ste 400. Pflugerville. 512)-251-4746, .

Chicken wings are one of Broth & Basil's specialties.

The Cavalier

Brined and fried to a juicy, amber finish. Start with the wings and then move onto the burger.2400 Webberville Road. 512-696-4318, .

The Cavalier in East Austin makes killer wings.

CM Smokehouse

This barbecue trailer at Bouldin Acres, which also makes a mean burger, smokes their wings. And if you don’t like chicken, you can get baby back winglets or “wings” made with cauliflower. 2027 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-536-0132, .

Delray Cafe

Quintessential wings at a quintessential bar from an owner with roots in Buffalo. 1133 E. 11th St. 512-987-4294, .

East Meets Wings

Kevin and Rosie Truong, formerly of the Fil 'n Viet food trailer, bring an array of Asian flavors to their plump, juicy wings, with the spice pantries of the Filipino, Indonesian, Indian, Thai and Sichuan cuisine all represented. 5001 Airport Blvd. .

Evangeline Cafe

The Green Wings here are the only wings I know tossed in Cajun Chef’s Green Hot Sauce. 8106 Brodie Lane. 512-282-2586, .

Frazier’s Long & Low

Gotta love a dive that throws some tangy Korean flavor on their crunchy wings, though the Texan in you may wanna try the barbecue sauced handhelds. 2538 Elmont Drive. 512-527-3082, .

Hi Wings

Peach habanero, sweet orange and honey ginger are a few of the creative flavors on offer at this restaurant that specializes in Korean fried chicken. 2525 W. Anderson Lane, #135. 512-334-9004, .

Hold Out Brewing

A brown sugar brine gives color and caramelization to these wings with a glassy finish. A chefy spin on bar traditions finds a Frank’s Hot Sauce pumped up with butter, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and horseradish along with a buttermilk ranch dressing elevated by white soy sauce, sour cream, dill, cayenne and Duke’s mayonnaise. 1208 W. Fourth St. 512-305-3540, .

Holdout Brewing

Home Slice Pizza (North Loop)

Co-founder Jen Scoville Strickland grew up about an hour from Buffalo, so you know these crunchy classic wings are done right. 501 E. 53rd St. 512-707-7437, .

Real ones know that Home Slice Pizza is about much more than great pizza.

Jackalope

You can’t have a good dive bar without good wings. Jackalope, which serves three different pepper varieties, got the memo. 404 E. Sixth St. 512-472-3663, .

Kinda Tropical

A spicy tamari glaze and a dip of some lime ranch give these wings an East-meets-West vibe that is, well, kinda tropical. 3501 E. Seventh St. 512-373-8430, .

Kome

Sweet, spicy and sticky wings with an Asian accent if you want a break from your raw fish feast, or go salt-and-pepper style for less mess. 5301 Airport Blvd. 512-712-5700, .

Le Bleu

The passion fruit garlic chili sauce is what makes the Vietnamese wings. 9070 Research Blvd. #303. 512-770-1100, .

Pluckers Wing Bar

The cluckin’ empire might have the most sauces and rubs of any wing outfit in the state. Multiple locations. .

Roots Chicken Shack

Dallas chef Tiffany Derry’s fried chicken joint inside the Mueller H-E-B serves craggy, crunchy bird that’s been fried with duck fat. 1801 E. 51st St. 512-236-1020.

Sazan

The North Austin spot makes some of the city’s best ramen, but don’t sleep on their fried Indomitable Wings that hum with curry spice. 6929 Airport Blvd. #146. 512-432-5474, .

Spicy Boys Fried Chicken

You can get flavors from Thailand and Korea to spice up the boneless wings at these trailers that specialize in fried chicken sandwiches and bone-in bird. Multiple locations. . 

Stiles Switch BBQ and The Switch

The post oak flavor is bone deep at these sibling restaurants. And why choose between tangy Alabama white sauce and honey bbq when you can just double dip? The Switch also makes a traditional hot sauce but subs butter for brisket fat. Uh huh. 6610 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-380-9199, ; 166 Hargraves Drive, Suite G-100. 512-212-7211, .

SXSE Food Co.

Fried garlic crisps cling to the sticky caramel fish sauce that lacquers Laotian chef Bob Somsith’s wings at his food truck parked at Vacancy Brewing. 415 E. St. Elmo Road. 512-902-5048, .

The chicken wings at SXSE Food Co. come glazed with fish sauce.

Thai Kun

Cilantro and green onion cool these fiery wings glazed with Thai chili and tamarind. 11601 Rock Rose Ave. 512-394-5550, .

վٲⲹ’s

Florality and dimension comes from lemongrass, garlic and peppercorns on these fried Thai wings. 5501 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-458-1792, .

Tommy Want Wingy

Brothers Neil and Shawn O’Quinn specialize in the French-cut lollipop wings Neil learned while at culinary school for the trailer they opened in 2012. The result of all that labor is an incredibly juicy wing, lightly floured, fried to order and tossed in a sauce of your choice. My favorite is the traditional Buffalo. Or maybe it’s the sweet chili. But the spicy pineapple packs a nice sweet punch. I don’t know. You do you. Multiple locations. .

Wingzup

Grilled, smoked, fried, bone-in or boneless and served with one of more than 25 sauces, this is the spot for variety. 1000 E 41st St. Suite 210. 512-323-2587, .