The Ultimate: Buffalo Wings

buffalo wings

styling by maria del mar sacasa/ennis

On Super Bowl Sunday, nothing gets a crowd roaring like a plate of spicy, messy, Buffalo-style wings with chunky blue cheese dip and celery stalks. Boston, of course, is rife with sports bars serving their own versions of the game-day classic, but most of these offerings miss the mark: They’re either too dry or too greasy, too sauced or practically flavorless. Boston Beer Works, however, delivers perfectly crisp bone-in wings with just the right zing. Rather than breading or battering their wings — a detestable move, as it results in a soggy coating — Beer Works tosses them into the deep fryer unadorned, cooking them so they’re golden brown outside and supermoist within. They’re then doused in a sauce that’s hot enough to satisfy chili fiends but not so fiery as to waylay wimpier palates. Put simply, these wings are champs. Boston Beer Works, 61 Brookline Ave., Boston, 617-536-2337,


Jerry Remy’s ***1/2
This Fenway-area sports bar’s version is breaded — a big foul in our playbook — and extremely saucy.  Fortunately, that sauce is actually pretty tasty, with spicy and sweet notes. The meat itself is falling-off-the-bone tender, but the crust-to-chicken ratio is slightly skewed, and the meat’s flavor gets lost in the heavy coating. 1265 Boylston Ave., Boston, 617-236-7369,

Champions ***
Since not everyone has the same spice tolerance, these wings can be ordered “humming,” “singing,” or “screaming.” But be warned: even the mild version leaves a calling card on your tongue.  While the skin does stay crispy and the sauce is well-seasoned, the wings’ oily, bland meat keeps them out of contention. Marriott Copley Place, 110 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-927-5304,

Squealing Pig **1/2
This Mission Hill pub doesn’t hit the right notes with their skin-on organic wings.  While the good sauce deftly balances sweetness and heat, there isn’t nearly enough of it, and the meat is dry and chewy. 134 Smith St., Boston, 617-566-6654,

Lucky’s Lounge **
Nothing comes together for these wings.  The meat is bland and tough; the sauce isn’t spicy or flavorful; and the exterior loses its crunch during the walk from the kitchen to the table. 355 Congress St., Boston, 617-357-5825,

Game On! **
Holy greaseballs, Batman! After downing a pile of these wings, the traces of oil were everywhere; bones, fingers, pooled in the bottom of the basket, and coating the inside of our mouths. Worse, the high oil content makes it difficult to taste anything except the sauce’s heat.  Somehow, though, the meat stays dry and chewy. 82 Lansdowne St., Boston, 617-351-7001,