Best chicken wings in the country
January 30th, 2012
12:30 PM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

Here are three key chicken wings stats for Super Bowl XLVI on February 5, 2012.

– More than 1.25 billion chicken wings will be eaten on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s the country’s biggest eating day of the year, after Thanksgiving.

– If those wings were laid end to end they would reach one-quarter of the way to the moon; they’d circle the earth more than twice.

– This year’s New York Giants vs New England Patriots match-up means chicken wings consumption will pretty much hold steady. The Mid-Atlantic, which encompasses Giants territory, are 24 percent more likely to eat wings; New Englanders, a.k.a. Patriots fans, are six percent less likely to eat wings than the national average.

Thanks to the National Chicken Council for these amazing statistics.

And here are five key places for chicken wings if you want to be part of the 1.25 billion wing movement.

Wing Stop - Texas-based chain
Troy Aikman is a veteran of three Super Bowls; whether that makes him a wings expert is another question, but he is the number one fan of Wing Stop (as well as their national spokesman). Wing Stop now have 500 locations in 34 states as well as Mexico – all by themselves, they’ve sold a billion wings. Among their 10 wings flavors are Atomic, Cajun, Hickory Smoked BBQ and Teriyaki. The Super Bowl is such a big event that has a countdown clock, down to the seconds leading up to the big game.

Bon Chon - New York City, NY
The cult Korean wings spot (which also boasts a karaoke lounge) features exquisitely crispy fried chicken either sauced with a sweet-pungent soy garlic sauce, or spicy hot. This is one of the few places where both choices are equally awesome, so go for half and half. The chain is now worldwide; besides the U.S., there are Bon Chons in the Philippines, Thailand, Dubai and Singapore. I doubt the Super Bowl is a big deal at Bon Chon, but they do have big screens that invariably play the same Euro disco video over and over so perhaps they can be persuaded to change the channel.

San Tung - San Francisco, CA
Real wings aficionados will know what I’m talking about when I say, dry-fried chicken wings. San Tung is a noisy and crowded Chinese restaurant where you invariably have to wait for a table. It doesn’t have nachos or a 500-inch screen TV. What it does have are dry or wet chicken wings. The dry are battered & deep fried with garlic, ginger and roasted red peppers; wet are battered, fried and sautéed in a spicy sauce of roasted red peppers, mushrooms, carrots & bamboo shoots. Get the dry ones.

The Kettle Black - Brooklyn, NY
This Brooklyn bar, which is plastered with Super Bowl ready TV screens, is a veritable United Nations of buffalo wing flavors. Their 14 options include Grampy Del's (Canadian Maple Syrup and Honey), Grampa Nunzio's (Buttery Garlic and Parmesan) and Luau (chunks of Pineapple in Plum BBQ Sauce) although why you’re fooling around with anything other than the Buffalo City (their version of the original recipe) I don’t know. This is a good place to make a dent in the one billion-plus wing statistic: you can order 100 wings here, for $73.95.

Anchor Bar - Buffalo, NY
The place that claims to have invented Buffalo wings, back in 1964. For anyone outside the Buffalo area, be aware of their ‘Wings That Fly’ package. Anchor will ship their wings anywhere in the US, in quantities from 50 to 250 wings; shipping is free. If you’re more of a Do-It-Yourself-Up-To-A-Certain-Point person, you can order Anchor bar sauces online, and make the wings yourself. But plan ahead; there’s no Super Bowl Sunday delivery.

More from Food & Wine:

50 Best Bars in America

Chicken Wing Recipes

Best Pizza Places in the U.S.

Best Fried Chicken in the U.S.

Super Bowl Recipes

Be sure to wash down all those wings with Patriots and Giants-specific beers.

© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Filed under: Bite • Content Partner • Food and Wine • Restaurants • Super Bowl • Tailgating

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