Suburban Hot Wings – MJ’s and Atlanta’s Best

October 26, 2013 · 3 comments

in atlanta, dining out

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Like much of FatAmerica, I love hot wings. I eat them at restaurants as much as possible and cook them often.

I’ve tried oven cook methods (never as satisfying as fried), sous vide them then fried, I’ve twice fried them, steamed them then fried, confit them in duck fat then pan seared, and most recently cold fried them (starting with cold oil, slowly rising to temp). I sometimes try various sauces, but generally stick with one part butter to one part Frank’s hot sauce, sometimes with a splash of vinegar and maybe some powdered cayenne or paprika. I like them to be as plump as possible without being rubbery – I want the meat to draw from the bone, like duck confit. I’d rather them be small than chewy with un-rendered skin fat, especially on the flats, though I do prefer the drums, as I love the crispy cartilage nubs. I like them hot and right out of the fryer, which is why I’ve been known to order half as many wings as I actually want, eat them, then put in another order. The last two wings of a ten or especially twelve piece order are never as good.

I have high expectations when I go out to eat wings, and when the word “wings” is in the name of your restaurant, I am cautiously optimistic. I visited two such establishments this past week. MJ Korean Tacos and Wings is in Duluth, in the same shopping center as Honey Pig. MJ’s has a sweet flash website that automatically plays music, which I give two thumbs up circa 1998. The menu has everything from tacos to smoothies, nachos to calamari. Take that as you will.

The back side of the menu predominantly features the wings. I decided to go with two proprietary wing sauces – MJ Soy Garlic, and ROKin’ ATL. The short of it is – I was greatly disappointed. The wings were crispy enough, but the chicken itself had an off, gray flavor. The sauces were terrible. The soy one was thin and too sweet, and the ROKin’ ATL had the texture (and some of the flavor) of ketchup. To say something nice – the celery was super crunchy and delicious…

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On the other hand, my recent experience at Atlanta’s Best Wings in Snellville was just dreamy. I was recently told about this place by a co-worker in the area, though they apparently have numerous locations around Atlanta. When looking up the address online, I found praises for their wings, and complaints for their service.

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I found the service to be great, if not sassy. You order at the counter, and they do sort of bark orders like at the Varsity, but it’s all good natured. They are efficient and handle large crowds, which can swell out the front door on a Friday night. The menu has everything from gyros to burgers, to fried fish, to many flavors of wings. I sampled cajun fries, buffalo potato skins, and wings. The wings are on the smaller side, but well rendered and crispy. The sauces are spot on. Spice levels are appropriately hot. Just a very well put together, completely satisfying hot wing.

One little thing I liked too – they always give you one more than you ordered. If you order a six piece, you get at least seven. Ten wings becomes eleven or twelve. Prices are very fair.

My one comment is that all orders are closed up in styrofoam containers, whether you are dining in or taking it to go. This causes the wings and especially the fries to steam a bit, losing some appeal. Luckily, it doesn’t affect the wings too much in those few short minutes, but for in-house dining it would be nice if they weren’t boxed up.

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Lemon pepper wings were sinfully good and popped with flavor.

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The huge menu below.

Jamal’s wings are still king in my wingdom, but Atlanta’s Best is a viable contender.

Jesus, did I just write a sentence with stupid food world play? Sorry about that.

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  • A_Life_Fulfilled_Atlanta

    I actually posed the question “Best wings in Atlanta?” on Decatur Metro a few weeks ago. Check out the discussion: http://www.decaturmetro.com/2013/10/14/best-wings-in-atlanta-for-the-money/

  • Wing Lover

    Wings rock – they are the best winter comfort food ever. Yay to your suggestions about the much maligned wings.T

  • Just wingin’ it….

    Clay’s in the way to go…..

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