Spicy wings

Crunchy and red hot, chicken wings are a perfect addition to your Super Bowl tradition. 

Mark your calendars — the Super Bowl is Feb. 13 this year. The fan favorite is the food at your watch party, and nothing says football like chicken wings. Not sure where to pick up a bucket of hot wings smothered in spicy or smoky sauce? Vox spoke with local restaurants about what makes their wings unique (and how spicy their most popular sauces are) so you can snag some crowd-pleasers for your get-together.

Como Smoke & Fire

Como Smoke & Fire, a family-owned barbecue joint in north Columbia, has been slinging brisket, pulled pork and other BBQ favorites since 2013. But the menu isn’t complete without smoked and flash-fried chicken wings.

“We dry rub them, smoke them, cool them and then flash-fry them to order after they’ve been smoked,” says Patrick Hawkins, a manager at Como Smoke & Fire. “So that brings back out that smoky taste and also gives it that crispy edge.”

Hawkins says if you’re looking for a smoky base flavor, Smoke & Fire is the way to go. // Price: $10.99/pound

Two sauces to try

Parmesan garlic: “It’s not really about the heat on that sauce, but it’s got the heat to it,” Hawkins says. “It’s more about [the flavor].” // Spice level: Easy n’ cheesy. 🧀

Classic buffalo: He says the heat is equivalent to Frank’s RedHot sauce. Snag these if you’re looking for a little kick without burning your mouth off. // Spice level: There’s a kick. 💃

Gumby’s Pizza

Columbia mainstay Gumby’s offers “famous wings” with seven different sauce options. Shift manager Erica Hampton says the wings are baked in their pizza oven.

“They tend to get a little crispier since they’re well done,” Hampton says. // Price: $12.49/pound for boneless, $11.99/pound for bone-in

Two sauces to try

Garlic n herb dry rub: Hampton says pair these wings with honey garlic dipping sauce for a unique flavor you won’t find anywhere else in town. // Spice level: Born to be mild. 🌶️

Buffalo: This sauce is smack in the middle on spice level and is a great option for fans of moderate heat. // Spice level: Heating up. 😅

Wingin Out

These wings are bound to be good because they’re the main item on Wingin Out’s menu.

“We cook everything fresh; it’s all cooked to order,” says Nikki Frost, a cashier at Wingin Out. “It’s also non-GMO, so nothing’s been modified. It’s just good, wholesome chicken.”

With fried Oreos, milkshakes and mozzarella sticks also on the menu, you can’t go wrong. // Price: $13.99/pound for boneless, $9.99 for 10 bone-in wings

Stadium Grill's wings

Stadium Grill serves up wings in BBQ, buffalo Thai or Chipotle BBQ sauces. 

Two sauces to try

Hot honey: Despite the name, it’s a milder sauce with a sweet flavor. // Spice level: Feel the tingle. 😋

X-hot insane: Frost says that not only is the sauce itself spicy, but it also contains pepper flakes throughout. // Spice level: Not for newbies. 🐥

Stadium Grill

Buried amid Stadium Grill’s huge menu of American fare, you’ll find a hidden treasure — award-winning wings.

“What makes us a little different than some is we have breaded bone-in wings,” Vaughn says. “It seems to be pretty popular.” // Price: $14.99 for 10 bone-in wings, $8.99 for 12 boneless wings

Two sauces to try

Buffalo: “There’s hot sauce [in it], but it’s not a burn-your-face-off type of sauce,” Vaughn says. // Spice level: You might break a sweat. 🥵

Insane: Vaughn says the sauce’s heat is because it’s habanero-based, and though there’s spicier sauces, it’ll leave you sweating. // Spice level: Order a glass of milk. 🤯

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