Hickory Hill

Can you get great hot wings on Winchester? High Ground taste test has the answer.

Do you love a good hot wing but don’t know where to go among Memphis’ myriad of wing joints? Want to know where can you get truly great wings? In Hickory Hill, High Ground’s On the Ground team hit the streets to conduct critical research that answers that burning question.

We found that Winchester Road was a hotbed for hot wings. We chose three businesses within a few blocks of each other and set about stuffing our faces for science. Here are our findings.

The Strategy:
At each location, we sampled the regular hot and hottest hot wings, which were listed on the menus as ‘suicide wings.' We chose two other flavors at random. We turned down the accompanying veggies after the first stop to save more room for wings.

The Locations:
D’Bo’s Wings n’ More
7050 Malco Crossing (Winchester and Riverdale) | (901) 363-8700

Mike’s Hot Wings & Such
6825 Winchester | (901) 318-5778

The Chicken Coop
6665 Winchester | (901) 425-5105

The team pushes through to take down the last hot wings in the Winchester Road tasting challenge. Clockwise from front left: Hickory Hill resident Connice Nunn and High Ground team members A.J. Dugger, Emily Trenholm, and Ziggy Mack. (Cole Bradley)
The Tasters:
Connice Nunn: Hickory Hill resident. Loves hot wings enough to overlook our table manners.
A.J. Dugger: Lead On the Ground reporter. Makes hot wings at home. Knows what he likes.
Emily Trenholm: Publisher, engagement manager. Not into hot wings but likes “the fun flavors.”
Ziggy Mac: Photographer. Self-proclaimed hot wing connoisseur and “heat head.”
 

AND THE WINNER IS ...

The tasters agreed that all three locations offered solid wings that they’d recommend to friends and family. Each location earned votes for specific flavors, but there were some wings that stood out and made the whole team sad they were too full for seconds.

Chicken Coop: The suicide hot won best hot wing, which included the regular hot contenders
Mike’s Wings & Such: The spicy seasoned wing won best overall of all 12 wings sampled
D’Bo’s Wings n More: The staying power of D'Bo's wings' crispy skin won best texture

Tuck into the rest of our tasting challenge below. 


FIRST STOP - D’Bo’s Wings n’ More

At D'Bo's Wing n' More, the wing challenge tasters sampled regular hot, suicide hot, honey gold, and seasoned wings. (Ziggy Mack)
D’Bo’s launched in 1990 and has been a staple in Memphis since. It has locations in Hickory Hill and Whitehaven. The Whitehaven store was recently renovated and now includes an adult beverage bar, D’Bo’s Daiquiris.

The Wings:
Party wings | Flavors: regular hot, suicide hot, seasoned, honey gold

Where We Agree:
The wings were hot, fresh, and perfectly crispy. No one wants a soggy wing and D’Bo’s delivered to the last bite. With 20 years experience, they know how to make a hot wing that satisfies.

Thomas Jackson cooks hot wings while Jarvis Atkins runs food inside D'bo's Wings n' More in HIckory Hill, located at 7050 Malco Crossing at the corner of Winchester and Riverdale. (Ziggy Mack)
The Taste Test:
Regular Hot:
AJ: The sauce is good. Not super spicy. I think anyone could handle this.

Suicide Hot:
Connice: It’s hot, but it’s not burning my lips. My belly did feel it though.
Ziggy: It has a very high vinegar note. If suicide is a seven, the hot is a three and a half or four.
A.J.: The regular hot isn’t hot at all compared to this.

Seasoned:
Emily: It’s seasoned well, crunchy, and has good flavor. Just crisp and clean.

Honey Gold:
Ziggy: This one had more honey flavor that other wing places.
Emily: I’ve had honey gold elsewhere that was really salty. This one is less salty. I think that’s good, but I’m not an expert.


Second Stop - Mike’s Wings & Such

Justina Bell delivers hot wings hot from the kitchen of Mike's Wings & Such in Hickory Hill. High Ground's Emily Trenholm (pictured) was especially exited to try the spicy seasoned wing. (Ziggy Mack)
Mike’s also has two locations, one in Hickory Hill and the other in Cordova. The Winchester location has a sports pub theme.

The Wings:
Whole wings | Flavors: regular hot, suicide hot, spicy seasoned, garlic parmesan

Where We Agree:
It’s brightly colored walls, fun decor, and airy layout made it the most inviting of the three locations. The music was a big plus with classics across doo wop, funk, and soul. 

“I definitely would invites some girlfriends to come out and sit on a game night,” said Connice. “I really like the feeling, the ambiance. It’s just pleasant here.”
Mike's Wings & Such was the only one of the three locations to serve whole wings. While the tasters prefer party wings, they liked the smokey flavor of the whole wings. (Ziggy Mack)
The Taste Test:
Regular Hot:
Ziggy: These are a four and a half. With D’Bo’s, there was a much bigger jump.
AJ: It’s like the little brother of the suicide. The hot wings I make taste similar to this.

Suicide:
Ziggy: This is a vinegar-based sauce like D'Bo's. It's a five on a scale of seven. These are compounding. D’Bo’s wings hit you with spice immediate. This is a sleeper.

Spicy Seasoned:
Emily: It was salty but the peppery notes stood out more and balanced the saltiness.
Connice: It has a bunch of flavors mingling together and I like that.
Ziggy: This is nice. It tastes how like my auntie would make them.

Garlic Parmesan:
Emily: I thought it was good and different. I wanted to try something I don’t normally see.
Connice: You can taste the garlic more than parmesan. I prefer a dry garlic parmesan rub to this wet sauce, but I like that you can taste the garlic.
 

LAST STOP - THE Chicken Coop

A.J. Dugger reaches for a hot wing at The Chicken Coop, located at 6665 Winchester Road in Hickory Hill. (Ziggy Mack)
The Chicken Coop has three Mid-South locations in Hickory Hill; Olive Branch, Mississippi; and West Memphis, Arkansas. 

The Wings:
Party wings | Flavors: regular hot, suicide hot, honey gold, garlic parmesan

Where We Agree:
While the other two wing spots seem to use a vinegar-based sauce, the Chicken Coop's hot wing sauce base tastes more like smokey, roasted tomatoes. It was a big hit with the team, who also agreed that Chicken Coop's mix of seasoning was the most complex. 
The staff at The Chicken Coop in Hickory Hill show finished orders to satisfied patrons and cash them out. (Ziggy Mack)The Taste Test:
Regular Hot:
A.J.: It’s good. I like the flavor. I probably like the sauce here more than anywhere.
Ziggy: Between hot and suicide, it’s a jump. It’s kind of subtle then it catches up to you.

Suicide Hot:
Ziggy: That’s hot. It’s sweet though. This is one you actually want to taste. It’s memorable. It’s a suicide wing that actually has personality.
Connice: It’s the hottest we’ve had. It’s not burning my mouth, but the peppers are hitting my throat. But it’s not just pure hot, there’s flavor.

Garlic Parmesan:
Ziggy: I’m a heat-head first and foremost. I like these, but they aren’t my choice. What I like at this location is the well-balanced flavor in everything I’ve tried. I like that you can taste the garlic in these, which is rare.

Honey Gold:
Connice: I like these, but they could use a little more honey.
A.J.: I’m not a honey gold person but I like this.

Last Thoughts from the Tasters?

Emily: This was super fun.
A.J.: We should do it again.
Ziggy: I'd like to praise Black Jesus for a day of hot wings. 
Connice: Now I’ve got a couple of new places to eat. When you’re driving, you’re focused on where you’re going. I drive past here everyday and didn’t notice them, but I’ll be back.

Read more articles by Cole Bradley.

Cole Bradley is a native Memphian and graduate of the University of Memphis. Cole's worked locally as a researcher and community engagement strategist and began contributing to High Ground in Jan 2017. 
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