It’s now 2012 and I’ve decided to occasionally step off the burger path and branch out with some reviews of my other love, wings. This will most likely be a contentious topic. Probably even more so than burgers, because wings opinions are about as strong as BBQ opinions. I’m bound to step on someone’s toes, but it’s all in the name of good food and getting the word out there. My favorite wings are buffalo wings, so for now, that’s what I’m going after.
Having said all of that, you tell me, who has the best wings? Even Kerry from the CVB, author of ilovememphisblog.com, is on the hunt. One of her first round contenders was also my first stop of the year, Central BBQ. Central BBQ is located on Central Avenue between East Parkway and Cooper. They’ve been open since 2003. Craig Blondis and Roger Sapp were both long time competitors in the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. When a friendship emerged, they left the circuit and opened Central BBQ. In 2006, they opened a second location on Summer Avenue. Since 2003, they’ve taken top honors 10 times as Memphis’ Best BBQ.
Over the recent holidays I had family in town demanding great Memphis BBQ, ribs specifically. My first thought was to take them to the the Bar-B-Q Shop on Madison, but since there was going to be four kids running wild, we opted for Central BBQ on Summer Ave. That’s when I got my first taste of their awesome wings.
This past week, I suggested to Big Tim that we hold off a burger this week and go over to the original Central BBQ location and eat up some more of those wings. We left the office around 11:30 and beat a huge lunch rush by maybe 10 minutes. By the time we got our food, Central was packed and the patio was starting to fill up too. That’s a sign of something good.
The wings at Central BBQ are nothing short of amazing. Unlike a lot of wings, these are not breaded at all. They’re slow smoked and then flash fried to give the skin a nice crisp. They’re finished with a generous buffalo sauce glaze and they give you the whole wing fully intact. A full order is six of those mouthwatering wings, served with celery and carrot sticks and your choice of bleu cheese or ranch dressing for dipping. Their bleu cheese is good and chunky. If you like bleu, I would highly recommend it.
What I loved most about Central’s wings was the huge smokey flavor of the tender juicy chicken I got in every bite. These are the fall off the bone kind of wings that you could put whole into your mouth and just slide the bones out. That’s the sign of a good low and slow cooking. Wait though, not only do you get that huge smokey flavor, you’re hit with an awesome buffalo sauce that’s spicy enough to burn your lips, but not your palette. It’s just a great combination of tastes.
Tim and I traded out one of his jerk spiced wings for one of mine with the buffalo sauce. Man I gotta tell you that jerk spice is pretty off the charts too. A nice dry wing covered in some serious spice. Good stuff!
A few months ago, I did a wing review of Alex’s Tavern Rock-Mo’s Drummies. I still say they’re awesome, but I have a new favorite buffalo wing now. I give Central BBQ 4.5 out of 5 stars for their delicious and addictive wet wings. I have no doubt I could have easily put away a double order.
2249 Central Ave
Memphis, TN 38104
If you have a favorite wing that you think is Memphis’ best or that I need to try and review, please drop a note in my suggestion box.