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January 14, 2010

Kluckr alert for those who love wings



Just in time for Saturday's big game, Jack has sent me the Web address of a popular wing Web site called Kluckr. (I wonder if there's a site devoted to every food in the universe. I should check sometime.)

Anyway, Jack seems to be a wing connoisseur, and he endorses Kluckr, saying he agrees with the top two choices in the Baltimore section.

You may want to put in your two cents about that.

The places are rated by heat, variety, service, atmosphere and value. ...

That got me to thinking about what makes some wings better than others -- something that, believe me, has never occurred to me to give a second thought to before. I just eat and enjoy them if they're in front of me. And I'm in no way an expert. I still call them Buffalo wings.

Here's what I decided a connoisseur would come up with  in order of importance. Correct me if I'm wrong:

1) plumpness or meatiness

2) flavor of seasoning or sauce

3) the proper amount of heat

4) crisp, chilled celery

5) good, cold blue cheese dressing

Or are wings no longer served with celery and blue cheese dressing?

(Barbara Haddock Taylor/Sun photographer)


Posted by Elizabeth Large at 2:36 PM | | Comments (19)


John Stevens used to have wonderful wings, but I haven't eaten there in recent years.

I think atmosphere counts for a lot, too. The divier the better, in my opinion. Much more fun to eat wings at the Camden Pub than in a corporate chain.

The Amish Farmers Market in Hunt Valley has great wings. They have a variety including hot, bbq, plain, and another type which I cannot recall. Purchased a half-pound today after grocery shopping along with half of a rotiserre. They have great blue cheese too. Also, I find Chaps on Pulaski Highway to have meaty, drool worthy wings.

I'm addicted to The Dizz's Old Bay Wings. They're insanely good. They've spoiled me for all other wings.

AnneB: I would put Camden Pub's Old Bay wings up against anybody's.

the wings at austin grill are their best food item.....24 marinade, then char grilled, not fried, with a southwest ranch dressing with corn, green onion, and pepper bits in it.....

Old Bay wings at the Gin Mill. Soo goood.

I like my wings fried crisp, and not drowned in sauce. The spicier the better. I agree if the place is a dive, the wings just taste better. Celery and blue cheese dressing are a must for me. Some places add carrot sticks, some serve ranch dressing. I like the traditional best, celery and blue cheese.

Charcoal Deli in Cockeysville hands down my favorite!
The XXX from the grill, tasty sweet then sneaky heat. Awesome!!!

Sharky's on Eastern Avenue, opposite Patterson Park. Great wings!

I'm not going to get into stipulating a neighborhood.

Captcha; that falwell...Cleatus's fatuous departed preacher name?

Lagers Pub has fantastic wings. It is under new management which has helped turn the place around. They off the largest wings in the city in a variety of sauces, which are all made on site. My personal favorite because I love hot hot wings is their blazin sauce. Give em a try. Fantastic.

The foundational issue that is built upon is the ratio of crunchy skin
to meaty wing. Too much meat and you might as well be eating a fried
chicken drumstick - too little meat and it's a dry mess. Wings are
one of the few things where bigger isn't always better.

PS- no captcha on the blackberry? No more mobile posting - so sad.

Tony, how long ago did Lagers change management? I went about nine months ago and found the wings to be mediocre.

Bob UU, you beat me to the punch. I dislike really meaty wings. They're typically accompanied by a thick layer of slimey fat. Keeping the skin crispy is essential, that's why old bay wings are so good and Buffalo wings need to be consumed quickly. Obviously you don't want them to be too small because they become dry, but in general I like smaller wings.

No mention of Kislings?

Do you guys prefer the wing part or the drumstick part?

Ok, this is 100% unadulterated spam (spam at 8:20ish) so I wouldn't be surprised if this comment gets the hook, but I would put our wings at The Diamondback Tavern up against anybody's in the Baltimore area. As a foodie and wing lover (wingie?) myself, the first recipe on our menu we tackled was the wings.

We decided on a slow roasting (almost confit, and it gets rid of that skin flab), then frying (Buffalo) or grilling (Thai Chili or Old Bay) to order. All 3 sauces are made in-house. If anybody who reads this wants to make the trek down to Ellicott City, I'll happily buy them an order of wings so they can form their own opinion. Just mention this offer and my name to your server and the wings will be gratis.

Again EL, if this comment is over the line I apologize and feel free to to get rid of it. I'm just so darned proud of our wings.

I was OK with it until you mentioned the skin flab. EL

I have to agree with the folks who mention crispy skin...that's VITAL to the success of the wing. In fact, I'd put it at position 4 on your list (it's hard to quibble with meatiness, flavor, and heat level...though based on the earlier thread about spiciness [ ], that's open for interpretation.

IMHO, though having to sit through a Miley Cyrus concert might be worse, biting into one of those heinous non-breaded/non-fried wings drenched in slimy sauce is just about the yuckiest thing around. For some reason pizza chains that sell wings tend to cook them this way. I guess putting in a fryer would require too much training for the transient staff.

Wings should be crispy, saucy, meaty, and spicy.Not TOO spicy: I remember ordering (in my younger days) the "nuclear" wings at Dead Freddies on Harford Road and feeling like someone had stuck at lump of molten lead in my mouth. I'll spare you the details of the next morning.

Good wings are like good Thai food, deftly balancing flavors, textures, and mouthfeels that in a separate context wouldn't seem to go together. None of the three should necessarily dominate. Good wings are a nearly Zen-like experience.

Definitely not too big; somehow they are gross! Atmosphere also a plus of course. Excellence? I would say like anything else particualarly like a burger...rare. I eat wings all the time (I'm ashamed to say) and I can pretty well assure you that they are way more often average than excellent.

Price is imporatnt too. Many of the free wings I've had at happy hour were as good as any or even the best I've ever had. Wings are actually expensive. An order of ten for $9? That's expensive.

Corye - I'm more of a wing part fan - me no likey the cartilage.

comment of the week to LB. no sleep till wing fest after reading that post. mmmmmmmmm

Sure wish I had read LB's post before I went to
Diamondback for lunch today. I do have to say the Oyster Po Boy was excellent as were the onion rings. Plus the Imperial Porter on tap is an excellent beer. Should have tried this place years ago. Food quality beats the Ellicott City Brewery hands down. Hope the bartender survived the unexpected group that arrived as we were leaving. The service he gave us was very good.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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