Despite being way down there, Miami simply isn’t in “The South”. This point is pretty much indisputable unless you’re trying to make it from within Swine, a two-story barnhouse reclaimed from South Carolina, reconstructed on the Gables, and populated with some of the finest practitioners of BBQ in the land. Obviously, pork is the party animal here, but the wood-grilled, dry-rubbed, oversized wings are downright mental. Served with Alabama white sauce, they deliver a glorious mishmash of Deep South flavors that’s been M.I.A. in MIA ever since Tobacco Road closed and Yardbird (Swine’s older bro) dropped wings to focus on its award-winning fried chicken.
Prolific James (and actual) Beard’d chef Tom Douglas clearly loves wings, as the hot pepper ones at his famed Palace Kitchen have long been considered Seattle’s best. But he’s topped them at his newest restaurant, where the Asian-inspired wings come in two flavors (salty caramel, serrano & garlic and smoked chili with kimchee ketchup) and are fried about the same number of times you actually watched Wings: twice.
Iowa City, IA
From the sauce-stained mouth of executive editor Kevin Alexander, “For personal reasons I won’t get into, we make a pilgrimage every year to Iowa City to watch an Iowa basketball game. The first year we did, we asked around for a place to go before the game. Everyone said the The Vine. So we strolled in, and, as far as we could see, people of all ages — grandpas in Hawkeyes sweatshirts, kids in Iowa jumpers, college kids wearing a shit-ton of Axe body spray — were all quietly pigging out on wings, their faces covered as if they were old French prostitutes who put orange lipstick sloppily around their lips. So we sat at the bar and got a pitcher of beer and an order of the maple hot wings, and, soon, we, too, looked like old French ladies of the night, gleefully tasting that sweet maple flavor mixed with some spice. And it was so damn delicious, I don’t think I wiped my mouth again until we left the city.”
Dave Infante is a senior writer for Thrillist Food/Drink. He’s never met a chicken wing he didn’t like. Not sexually, but, y’know… as friends. Follow @dinfontay on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.