The Musée du Louvre may have the “Winged Victory of Samothrace,” but here in Charleston our winged victory rests on the plates of some great bars and restaurants. And we’d argue that these chicken wings (and one “pig wing”) are just as exhibit worthy. Whether smoked, sauced, or charcoal-grilled, these birds fly high above America’s favorite game-day bite.
18 Vendue Range, Downtown griffoncharleston.com
You think you’ve had wings, but unless you’ve tried the Griffon’s buffiyaki variety, you are sadly mistaken. As the name implies, the Griffon has married the best of two wing flavors — buffalo and teriyaki — into one winged winner. The Griffon blends Texas Pete mild sauce with teriyaki sauce and, suffice it say, you’re gonna wanna order another round, because these babies require you to sit and stay awhile.
Home Team BBQ
1205 Ashley River Road, West Ashley 2209 Middle St. Sullivan’s Island hometeambbq.com
Though most wing aficionados would never admit it, to some Home Team’s wings are merely a utensil for scooping up more of the restaurant’s Alabama white sauce. And while we agree the sauce is legit, to not admire the wings themselves is to do the dish a disservice. Combining brining, dry rub, and smoke, owner and pitmaster Aaron Siegel has crafted one of the most beloved appetizers in town. “The wings are dry rubbed before they go into the smoker and then go through a ‘confit’ process whereby the fat is rendered making the meat really tender,” says Siegel. Love me tender wings is right.
155 E. Bay St. Downtown minerorestaurant.com
It’s obvious Sean Brock has a soft spot for spectacle. Why else would he serve his Minero charcoal-grilled chicken wings doused with Valentina hot sauce tableside in a brown bag the waiter must shake with a flourish? We’d roll our eyes at the Portlandia of it all, but then these are damn good wings. If you love heat, these are for you. Just be sure to leave your white T-shirt at home, these are a messy, multi-napkin affair.
Moe’s Crosstown Tavern
714 Rutledge Ave. Downtown moescrosstowntavern.com
We’re convinced the loyalty of Moe’s wings fans has to be attributed, at least in part, to the sheer volume of flavor choices. With 12 options, Moe’s has made a point of offering something for everyone from traditional teriyaki to Jamaican ranch. Plus, there’s a calibrated heat option that allows fire seekers to amp up their wings from hot to hotter to hottest.
Bay Street Biergarten
549 E. Bay St. Downtown baystreetbiergarten.com
You gotta hand it to Bay Street Biergarten, they have a sense of humor. And a tasty one at that. They’ve given Charlestonians the Buffalo Pig Wing. These bone-in pork shanks get beer battered and come served with all the traditional wing accourtrements — blue cheese dressing and crumbles, buffalo sauce, and celery.
Xiao Bao Biscuit
224 Rutledge Ave. Downtown xiaobaobiscuit.com
Here’s the deal, you can’t always get Xiao Bao’s mapo chicken wings. Whether or not they land on the menu on any given day is at the discretion of Chef/Owner Joshua Walker. But if you do spot these beauts on the menu, do yourself a favor and order them. “They’re made from the same fermented base we use for mapo tofu,” explains Walker. That means they get a hearty dose of spicy Sichuan broth with chili oil — finger lickin’ good.
114 St. Philip St. Downtown thewestendorff.com
Size does not matter when it comes to the Westendorff’s wings. These bites may look petite, but they pack a punch. Chef Ted Jackson smokes his wings then finishes them with house-made apricot hot sauce and a side of pickled vegetables. The result is a taste that’s rich but not over-sauced.
487 King St. Downtown smokebbqchs.com
Just like the restaurant’s name, these wings are all about the smoke. But what that fiery flavor encases is a succulent bite within. We like them topped with a little of Smoke BBQ’s house-made mustard barbecue sauce. Don’t think of the sauce as a crutch. These wings are stand-alone good.