Texan BBQ, jerk and Asian chicken on the bone across the city
If you've never read up on the origins of fried chicken before, you should. It’s quite fascinating. Whilst much of fried chicken as we know it in an American context has roots in the deep south and slavery, written accounts go back even further to of all places, Scotland in 1747. Modern fried chicken in Korea was an American import but traces go back to dynasties dating back to the 15th century.
Wings in hot sauce meanwhile have a more recent origin story in comparison. According to the US National Chicken Council, the concept of hot wings was born in 1964 in Buffalo, New York. A late-night snack spurned an international phenomenon.
In Manchester, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to wings. Weirdly enough Oldham is a hotbed for chicken shops named after US states. Closer to the city centre however, it’s wings galore. American BBQ, jerk, Korean and then some. We’ve picked out a few of our favourites for the next time you fancy a proper wings sesh.
Read on for the best chicken wings in Manchester.
Fried chicken upstarts Bird of Prey received a glowing review from us recently, with our reviewer especially impressed by the “meaty” and “substantial” wings on offer. Situated on Charles Street off Oxford Road as part of the Circle Square development, Bird of Prey also does a range of fried chicken sandwiches as well as strips if you prefer your chicken boneless. Wings are available in portions of 5, 10 and 15 with styles including crispy, classic buffalo with blue cheese ranch and signature, the latter smothered in a smoky Alabama white BBQ sauce. Try the extra hot "insanity" wings if you dare.
49A Charles St, Manchester M1 7DF
Don’t underestimate the kitchen bit of Blues Kitchen. As well as an impressive gig calendar, the Quay Street venue doesn’t slack when it comes to Texan-inspired BBQ. Across brunch, lunch and supper there’s the potential to tuck into harder-to-find US-influenced delicacies including cornbread with honey butter, Cajun popcorn squid and hot spinach and artichoke dip. BK knows its way around a wing too. Available in small or large sizes across brunch, lunch and supper, buffalo chicken wings come with that all-important blue cheese dip.
13 Quay St, Manchester M3 3HN
Everyone remembers their first time at BJ’s. The second-guessing: can decent food really cost this little? The unbridled ordering: may as well get a portion of everything? The little red baskets arriving: All of this for us? The giddy chomping, the wiping of fingers and the plotting of the next visit. Retailing at a mere 25p a wing at their cheapest (plain), you can count on a Bunny Jackson’s feast to fill you up for less. Choose from the likes of buffalo, house BBQ, Sailor Jerry spiced sesame and more. The cauliflower wings are on point too and there are regular specials.
1 Jack Rosenthal St, Manchester M15 4RA
With family ties to Bunny Jackson’s, you can bet Cane and Grain knows its way around a wing. Available to order inside, outside as well as up in secret cocktail bar Science & Industry with one of the bar's trademark libations, wings are available in sets of six and 12. Sauces include Kansas sweet and spicy barbecue and Louisiana Hot, a sharp and fiery Buffalo sauce. Bourbon gravy, a booze-laden meaty gravy is also a chicken wing’s best friend. Dip away with a side of cornbread.
49 - 51 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
It’s not all American wing action in Manchester. There are other varieties available and lunchtime queues snaking out of the door at Chimaek (pronounced Chi-meck) Korean Fried Chicken does wings worth scoping out on Hulme Street. The difference here is crispiness, with chicken double fried in order to give the batter that all-important crunch. Wings are served with a choice of sauces including honey and garlic and spicy mayo as well as a choice of "sprinkles" - curry or chilli pepper. Whilst you’re there, treat yourself to a tornado potato, a finely spiralised and skewered potato that looks like a large piece of fusilli.
Unit 8, The Quadrangle, Hulme St, Manchester M1 5GL
Underground food hall and market Hello Oriental is a must for Asian food fans. Situated underneath Symphony Park next to the shiny new Circle Square development, there’s a little something for everyone, be it sushi, roast meats, Banh Mi or you guessed it, wings. Available at the Downtown Oriental streetfood stand, wings are of the salt and pepper or Korean spicy varieties. Drop by on a Tuesday and tuck into all-you-can-eat wings, mild or spicy for £15pp.
Unit 3B South Pavilion 2 Symphony Park, Manchester M1 7FS
One thing we especially love about Jerk Junction is they don’t scrimp when it comes to portion sizes. Whether you’re rolling up at that corner of Manchester Road on the edge of Chorlton or catching them at a festival or market, you know Jerk Junction is going to fill you up with wholesome, homemade Caribbean goodness. You go to Jerk Junction to get fed. Wings at the Junction follow the same rules. Fried, meaty and dipped in legendary homemade jerk sauce.
170 Manchester Rd, Firswood, Manchester M16 0DZ
Take your pick of a few places to go eat a Kong’s. At the time of writing, there are outposts at Dogbowl, Northern Monk Refectory in the Green Quarter and even a sandwich shop at Hatch for chunky, crunchy chicken fixes. For wings, you need to be heading over to Dogbowl or the Refectory. Crispy, robust and with a choice sauces to pour over them including jerk, Panang curry and Korean.
57 Whitworth St W, Manchester M1 5WW
Mackie Mayor and Altrincham Market’s resident fried chicken fanatics Mumma’s take chicken very seriously. Birds are 12-hour brined and double fried before they hit your plate and that’s without delving into sauces. Mumma’s crispy signature wings are known to fraternise with both sweet chilli honey and octo vinaigrette but there’s also aioli, vegan chipotle mayo and gochujang mayo if you’re that way inclined.
1 Eagle St, Manchester M4 5BU
Fab food not fast food goes the strapline at Mustard Diner, which has branches in Sale and Altrincham. With pleasant interiors and that inviting green candy stripe awning facing out over outdoor seating, it’s certainly an enticing spot to sit and chomp on wings. Throw in a pint of Kona Big Wave you’ve got yourself a private poultry party. Wings at Mustard are buttermilk fried with a choice of Korean hot, salt and pepper, BBQ and blue cheese buffalo sauces.
23 Northenden Rd, Sale M33 2DH
If you like your fried chicken pan-Asian style, get yourself over to Gordo-approved Peck & Yard in Chorlton or Ancoats. Wings are given the traditional double-fried treatment whilst breast and thigh are panko fried. Not just any wings either. Wings are of the strictly jumbo variety meaning meatier bites off the bone. If that wasn’t enough, there are no less than 11 homemade sauces to choose from including but not limited to cocomango and pineapple chilli.
55 Manchester Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9PW
If you’re hankering for jerk wings in the city centre get yourself over to Pull Up on Swan Street. Home of the infamous Hench Box (which packs two mains, plantain, dumpling, slaw and coconut rice ‘n’ peas) Pull Up also slings wings, jerk ones at that. Marinaded for 24 hours in special Pull Up jerk seasoning, wings are grilled for crunch and juiciness, giving the skin a welcome balance of heat and flavour.
14-16 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JN
Former Arndale Market favourites Salt & Pepper have been on the move of late with a stop-off at the Northern Quarter’s Black Dog Ballroom but that hasn’t stopped them from producing boxes of crispy wonder. Prawns and tofu are on the menu but they wouldn’t be on this list if they weren’t cranking out premium wings. Choose from sticky wings with toasted garlic, chilli, canton sauce, and sesame seeds or salt and pepper wings with house S&P seasoning, pickled Asian slaw and cucumber. Keep an eye out for their new standalone restaurant.
Black Dog Ballroom, 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW
Straight to the point. Stop what you’re doing and order some wings. Not sure how many to get? Wing Stop has an online wing calculator for working out how many you and your squad should order depending on how hungry you are. Not sure what to order? Choose from heat level and flavour types wet and dry. Options include the agreeable lemon garlic, mango habanero for a spicier kick and the self-explanatory atomic wings for those who fancy a challenge.
11-13 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 1LZ
Last but not least, buttermilk fried chicken specialists Yard & Coop. OG wings are fried golden in a top-secret in-house crumb mix and served smothered in Coop’s selection of homemade sauces. Choose from buffalo and ranch, stateside BBQ with added crispy onions or hot honey mustard if you’re in the market for something hotter.
37 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW
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