Here in Memphis, we’re not lost in the sauce. In fact, we’re drowning in it: While you may know us as the home of low-and-slow-cooked barbecue, Memphis actually has more chicken wing establishments – 200-plus! – than barbecue joints, which hover above 100. That makes Memphis the Hot Wing Capital of the World, and we've got a fest, trail, restaurants and even our own sauce to prove it.
THE SAUCE: MEMPHIS HONEY GOLD
Chicken wings may have taken off in Buffalo, New York, but Memphis perfected them. From classic hot wings to unique flavors of all kinds, Memphis has taken chicken wings to the next level. Our signature wing flavor, honey gold, has swept the city and its visitors alike. Travelers from all over the country come to town in search of this sweet, yet savory, Memphis staple. Tossed in sweet honey and blended with tangy spices, Memphis' honey gold wings are a bucket-list dish.
THE FEST: WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP HOT WING CONTEST & FESTIVAL
Since 2003, Memphis has played host to the Southern Hot Wing Festival. But organizers changed the fest's name in time for the 2020 event to the World Championship Hot Wing Contest & Festival, staking Memphis' claim as the hot wing capital of the world.
Mark your calendar for Aug. 28, 2021, when nearly 100 competitive cooking teams will converge on the grounds of Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. As a festival-goer, you'll be able to enjoy the teams' best and most unique wing flavors, from honey gold to classic hot and many more, with just a small donation to Ronald McDonald House at each tent.
You’ll also be able to compete in or cheer on a cornhole tournament and wing-eating contest. (Note: You must be pre-registered to compete in these competitions.) And don’t miss the festival parade and live entertainment.
Festival admission is $15 at the gate ($12.50 in advance). For more information click here.
THE BEST WING RESTAURANTS IN MEMPHIS
Since the early '90s, Memphis' wing scene has taken off with local favorites expanding and new spots popping up all over town. Since we can't name all 200+ restaurants, here's a list of just a few of our favorites:
- Ching’s Hot Wings – One of the most talked-about wing spots in Memphis, Ching’s Hot Wings helped popularize Memphis’ signature honey gold sauce.
- All Star Hot Wings – Specializing in whole wings, All Star has been a Memphis favorite for over 20 years. Make sure to try their spicy seasoned wings.
- Mr. P’s Buffalo Wings – Party wings, whole wings or boneless wings, Mr. P’s cooks ‘em up any way you like. His menu also extends to a variety of sandwiches and Southern-fried fish.
- Adlines Hotwings Express – Featuring one of the best lunch specials in town: At Adlines you can get the five-piece combo including wings, fries, a roll and a 16-oz. drink for just $8.
- Best Wings of Memphis – With a dozen different seasonings and flavors like honey-glazed mild and lemon pepper mild, as well as an expansive sandwich and fish menu, Best Wings of Memphis is a must-eat whether or not you're in a wing mood.
- Bayou Bar & Grill – Memphians can’t get enough of this Cajun bar and grill's delicious wings tossed in sweet and spicy zydeco sauce.
- Don Dons Hot Wings – Another staple of the Memphis wing community, Don Dons offers a variety of styles, flavors and combos that will match your appetite.
- Brinson’s Downtown Chicken Lounge – Specializing in a variety of chicken dishes, Brinson’s Downtown Chicken Lounge offers some of the best wings in Memphis. Make sure to try unique flavors like TN Teriyaki, TN Whisky and Fireball.
- Cozy Corner – This local-favorite specializes in the tastes of Memphis, from mouthwatering barbecue to savory wings.
- Riko’s Kickin Chicken – Stop by Riko’s for rare flavor combinations like honey gold, lemon pepper, spicy honey garlic and more.
- New Wing Order – One of Memphis’ most sought-after food trucks, New Wing Order offers award-winning wings and exclusive recipes like hot wing nachos.
- The Wing Factory – From subs to nachos to pita sandwiches and more, The Wing Factory offers a wide-ranging menu to go along with their multiple wing flavors.
- Alex’s Tavern – They don’t call them wings at Alex’s Tavern. No, these one-of-a-kind delights are Rock-Mo’s chicken drummies served Buffalo-, BBQ- or Greek-style.
- Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken – Fried chicken is Uncle Lou’s specialty, so of course they offer their own take on wings. Whether you try them tossed in Sweet Spicy Love sauce (hot or mild) or try them homestyle, you’ll quickly see why this is one of Memphis’ most famous restaurants.
- Central BBQ – Known as one of the best barbecue joints in town, this local hot spot doesn’t mess around with its wings. With six delicious flavors, including their popular dry spice, you have to get your hands on these whole wings.
- Crumpy’s Hot Wings – Crumpy’s is home to some of the best wings in town, as well as the Suicide Wing Challenge. If you can eat five hot wings in five minutes, you win $100. Are you up for the challenge?
- D’Bo’s Wings N' More – A trendsetter in the Memphis wing community, D’bo’s Wings N’ More has been a local staple since the early '90s. With a dozen sauces and dry seasonings, D’Bo’s will have you coming back for seconds.
- The Wing Guru – Founded by former University of Memphis basketball player Billy Richmond, Wing Guru is one of the newest wing hot spots in the city. Make sure you try their Honey Suicide wings.