I had seen Wing Stop around before but never ended up stopping into one. So when one of our readers emailed us asking if we had tried their new Smoke 9 wings, I decided that it was time for the FGFB to roll up on a Wing Stop and see what they were all about.
We were turned away from the first location because their card reader was down. Hey, It happens right? No big deal! Not like I expected them to roll out a red carpet for the me. They can't all be Qdoba, right?
Luckily there was another location just twenty minutes away!
This location was nestled in a little mall area with plenty of parking. We parked right in this handicap spot in front and strolled in like we owned the place. (Just kidding. We would never do that. Respect.)
The inside was clean and decorated with lots of Aeronautics memorabilia. It took me a second to put that together. Planes? Wings? Wing Stop? Ohhhh okay.
Then the sign was staring me in the face. The wings that took them nine times to perfect! A dry rub with a mesquite bite and smoky finish! The Smoke 9 Wings! So not only did I order those, but also decided to try lots of other stuff. If you're going to do a review, you might as well do it right, right?
Let's start with the coleslaw. It's never incredible. It's often terrible. I grew up eating the stuff from KFC and loving it, but these days that's been downgraded to just liking it. This slaw was a lot like KFC's. A lot like it. Maybe slightly less sweet. Not bad!
We got an order of their regular seasoned fries. Let me tell you something. I rarely even think about fries these days because they are so similar from one restaurant to another. Rarely am I surprised by them. These fries? EXCELLENT. Whatever their seasoning is, it was delicious. I looked online to see what people were saying and it seems like their recipe is still a secret. But not only was the seasoning great but they were hand cut and still had skin in places, plus they were cooked to perfection. Big thumbs on on these fries.
Then there was the option for Parmesan fries, so we tried that too! Same great fries but with a ton of Parmesan cheese all over them. Still delicious but not nearly as good as the ones with just the Wing Stop seasoning on them.
Their menu also boasted a cheese sauce you could buy in different sizes to dip your fries or chicken in. Normally I wouldn't have been enticed by this, but they called it "Aged Cheddar cheese sauce." Aged you say? Cheddar, you say? Well, guess what? It tasted exactly like the horrid nacho cheese sauce you get at the movies with those cardboard-like yellow chips. Not a fan. The top congealed like a wound scabbing over maybe two minutes after I uncovered it and I never went back.
If you're going to get chicken at a place you absolutely need to try their rolls. It's an unspoken rule. The last chicken place we reviewed, you know, the one that's Oprah's favorite, had incredible rolls. Off the charts awesome. KFC has those biscuits, which used to be good but now they are the smaller than the damn croutons on my salad. These rolls? Not bad at all! They come out glistening with butter and are quite soft. No complaints here!
In case you're doubting me on the fries, here's the aftermath. When all was said and done we ate every one of those little crumbs out of the regular seasoned fries and left a good amount of the Parmesan ones.
So did we try any chicken at this wing joint or what? Yup, we did. We started out with some Hickory Smoked BBQ boneless wings. Some of you wing purists will be asking why I went boneless. The answer is quite simple: I'm all set with gnawing at gristle and bone like a mad dog. Also if we're coming at it from a monetary standpoint, you're throwing a third of what you're paying for in the trash. You go boneless, you waste NOTHING. See? This is how you save the environment, FGFB Style.
Their boneless wings are damn good. A generous portion of white meat chicken surrounded in thick, crunchy breading and slathered in sweet and smokey bbq sauce. They had a very sweet base with a nice tangy burn as you ate more of them.
They reminded me a lot of the Honey BBQ Boneless wings from Applebees, but if they were made with all around better ingredients. Better chicken, top notch breading and a much more interesting bbq sauce. I totally give these a thumbs up.
Next up we went with the Garlic Parmesan Chicken tenders!
I have to say, their chicken tenders themselves were excellent. Delicious slabs of white meat chicken breaded with a thinner coating than the boneless wings. The meat was still juicy but not to the point where the breading got soggy. The Garlic Parmesan flavor was good, but again, the issue with the fries is kind of the same here. The cheese ends up sprinkling off. If they had used a garlic oil and shaved pieces of the cheese it might be way better. But all in all, the fingers were great and I'd imagine if they were rolled in any of their signature sauces they would be excellent.
Finally we reach the main event of the evening. The Smoke 9 boneless wings. These had a very unique smell, before I even bit into one. I was intrigued by the notion of putting a dry rub of flavor on fried chicken. Is this a thing that happens? I've put down my fair share of chicken and it's usually only sauces that they are rolled in.
It took them nine tries to get it right, but I'll tell you what, the ninth time is the charm. These things were great! They tasted a lot like the seasoning on the fries but with a massive added smokey flavor!
Excellent chunks of chicken, thick breading and plenty of flavor dust. The rub made me think of the flavor particles you'd see on Doritos. Which then made me realize this flavor would be awesome on chips. Smoky, slightly sweet, with a definite garlic flavor and maybe even some citrus in there! These had a lot going on!
As I got to the bottom I was met with a puddle of Smoke 9 flavored grease. I'd like to tell you that I let these last two go and tossed them away because I knew how bad this was for me. But, my friends, I'm not going to start lying to you now. I actually dug them deeper into the puddle, trying to cover them with as much of the Smoke 9 flavor as I could, and boy, was it great.
I'm giving the Smoke 9 Wings from Wing Stop a solid B+! Little greasy at the end but all around good chicken and a very unique flavor that I would absolutely go back for.
The Smoke 9 flavor at Wing Stop is only there for a limited time so make sure you go get them soon!
For more info on this and other Wing Stop items, check out their website!
Wanna connect with us online: Here's how you can reach us:
Review by Rich Brunelle, who currently lives in Seattle, Washington and spends his days walking around his neighborhood counting how many dudes have the Macklemore haircut.