If you're on a quest for Miami's best chicken wings, keep a couple of things in mind: First is to order the smallest portion available at each restaurant, because this is a marathon, not a sprint. You'll want to sample all of the items on this list, and an epic day trip dedicated to eating wings is a fine weekend endeavor.
Also, think beyond Buffalo. Though the tangy, vinegary sauce is a classic, some of the city's best wings are tossed with Asian spices, garlic and butter, or sweet and smoky barbecue sauce — or simply left naked.
Luckily for you, we already took on the task of discovering the best in Miami. Here's what we found:
800 Degrees Woodfired Kitchen2956 NE 199th St., Aventura
The Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem have traded basketball for pizza and beer at their new restaurant, 800 Degrees Woodfired Kitchen. Haslem's baked-not-fried UD's Woodfired wings — made with a base of semispicy Calabrian chilies and served with creamy Gorgonzola dip — are exceptional ($14, or $7 during happy hour). Pair a plate with a local brew, such as Funky Buddha's Floridian or Veza Sur's Mango Blonde Ale.
Bru's RoomVarious locations
It felt like it took years for this Broward transplant to make its way to Miami. But when it finally opened in Westchester in mid-2015, it sated the long plight of fans shlepping north for Bru's Room's addictive wings ($13 for ten to $29 for 25). The first thing to note is that for a few extra bucks, you can request your order be all drumettes or flats, a worthwhile expenditure for any serious wing eater. Next, note the deep-chocolate/maroon color smattered with garlic and fantastic bits of char. This is Bru's Triple Threat — a combination of smoky, spicy barbecue sauce and a sweeter amalgam on wings that are grilled and showered with pungent garlic. If you must turn your back on Buffalo sauce, this is the way to do it.
House of Wings1039 NW Third Ave., Miami
Opened in 2003 by Musaddiq "the King of Poultry" Muhammad, this counter-service spot in the heart of historic Overtown wasted no time becoming a neighborhood institution. Its popularity might have something to do with the array of nearly 60 sauces that span everything from the erotic-sounding "cinnamon love" to the "Barack Obama" (a sweet concoction whose secrets the place won't reveal) and the "ghetto flavor" (a sweet-smoky mixture of four barbecue sauces). However, the jerk wings — flavored with a combination of fiery jerk seasonings and classic, vinegary Buffalo sauce — never disappoint. Get a ten-pack (with one sauce) for $9.37 or up to 200 wings (with any combination of sauces you like — call for pricing).
Sakaya Kitchen3401 N. Miami Ave., Miami
Call it the little shop that Korean fried chicken (and honey-orange-glazed ribs) built. Richard Hales' double-fried chicken wings have been a hit ever since he mustered the courage to open Sakaya Kitchen in a once-deserted Midtown mall. Sweet, crisp, and meaty, these wings come sprinkled with chopped scallions and minced garlic and could convert even the most dedicated chicken-wing purist ($9 for six).
Scully's Tavern9809 Sunset Dr., Miami
How can garlic-and-butter-doused anything ever be bad? Scully's might catch flak for its cameo on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, but the little Irish pub has been serving meaty, crisp wings ($11.95 for ten) drenched in butter and roasted garlic for years. Keep a fork nearby to scoop some of those tender cloves onto each bite.
Shuckers Waterfront Grill1819 79th St. Cswy., North Bay Village
Keep your damn sauce away from Shuckers' grilled wings ($8 for six, $14 for 12, $26 for 24). They're crisp on the outside, hot and juicy on the inside, and boast the perfect amount of spice thanks to a secret blend. Just off the 79th Street Causeway, Shuckers overlooks Biscayne Bay. Football and these wings are the ideal way to spend a Sunday.
Sparky's Roadside Barbecue204 NE First St., Miami
Sparky's opened in 2010, bringing proper homestyle barbecue to downtown Miami. Get the smoked chicken thigh and pulled-pork plate, but start with the jerk chicken wings ($12.75 for a dozen). Meaty and full of spice thanks to plenty of Scotch bonnet peppers in the sauce, these wings are among Miami's best and most unusual.
Sports Grill1559 Sunset Dr., Miami
Sports Grill, far west on Sunset Drive, is an average-looking sports bar with anything but average wings. The special grilled wings have a crisp exterior with plenty of char. After grilling, they're tossed in Sports Grill's spicy signature sauce. The kicker is a quick Worcestershire-sauce wash that gives the wings a vinegary pop and adds an element of savoriness we couldn't find anywhere else.
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Tap 42Various Locations
This gastropub's 42 kinds of beer are a good enough reason to visit, but better yet are its flame-grilled chicken wings. Drenched in an insanely good sweet and spicy barbecue sauce ($13.50 for eight), they are juicy and crunchy at once, and the result is a big flavor hit. The best way to scarf down Tap 42's drool-worthy wings is with blue cheese dressing, celery, and carrots while watching any number of sporting events and, of course, consuming plenty of beer.
Titanic Restaurant & Brewery5813 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables
This microbrewery and pub is a longtime favorite of University of Miami students and beer buffs. Behind the bar are windows giving diners a look at the restaurant's brewing operations. Titanic's chicken wings come in either one-pound ($11) or two-pound ($20) portions. They might look like regular Buffalo wings, but they're not. Glazed in a creamy Vietnamese sriracha hot sauce, these babies hit you immediately with the spicy punch of the Thai chili sauce that's gained a cultlike following.