If you watched Season 1 of “Atlanta”, you might've noticed the scene where Paper Boi and Darius go to J.R. Crickets (after finding newfound fame) score them a rare chicken wing flavor not generally available. That flavor? Lemon Pepper Wet.
"These got the sauce on them," the server whispers knowingly.
In Atlanta, Lemon Pepper Wet has ascended quickly from just another flavor to something more definitive for the city and the entire state. There are, in addition to the “Atlanta” scene, that started it all, a pretty respectable celebrity backing for the chicken wing flavor. Rapper Wacka Flocka Flame says the flavor to Atlanta is like the apple to New York in a First We Feast video. This past winter, even Thrillist named them the food that most defines us, listing the wings as Georgia’s best food and one of the top 15 food items to eat in America.
Sure, these are all anecdotal pieces of evidence in the case for Lemon Pepper Wet. But whatever, lets roll with it.
Here are our picks for where to get a taste of Atlanta’s signature lemon pepper wet wings:
J.R. Cricket's added lemon pepper wet to the menu after the episode of Atlanta aired, or rather they re-branded "Fester" wings as Lemon Pepper Wet. In any case, they did this because despite the clip from television, the wings the scene was based on are actually from American Deli.
Steven Glover, co-author of the scene in question, brother to Donald Glover and all-around Stone Mountain native told the AJC this:
"We just thought it would be funny to see somebody get hooked up at J.R. Crickets by getting that option that isn't even really available," Glover said of the scene via email. "That would be like the best of both worlds. The box glowing just helped sell the feeling of how magical that would be."
The real Lemon Pepper Wets in question are an American Deli thing. And the reason they are different is that they remain wet from clarified butter and not the addition of buffalo sauce. It's a matter of flavor profile. At J.R. Crickets, regular buffalo ensauced wings are given a shake or ten of lemon pepper dry seasoning. The tang of buffalo competes with the lemon pepper for taste bud attention. Not so at American Deli, where clarified butter wets the wings, and lets the lemon pepper shine.
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1160 Fairburn Road SW, Atlanta
In an interview with First We Feast, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms gives her Lemon Pepper props to LT's Wings on Fairburn Road.
"In three hours and two minutes, I will be calling LT's Wings for my Friday order: 30 lemon pepper. This is what we eat every Friday, it's like Sunday dinner," Lance-Bottoms said.
A call to LT's confirmed they can make 'em Lemon Pepper Wet for you, too. They add buffalo sauce to make 'em wet.
777 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta
Dugan's opened its doors at Ponce De Leon Avenue all the way back in 1982 a a 40 seat restaurant in the Viriginia Highland, and was first known as Patrick Dugan's Tavern. They dropped the Patrick, kept the wing recipe and the rest is history. At Dugan's, the Lemon Pepper comes paired with Teriyaki sauce, which means you should add buffalo sauce to make them wet. Or clarified butter. All of this is still up for debate, Atlanta.
There are a great many other places to get Lemon Pepper wet, including at Magic City. But at the end of the day, this city still needs to decide whether it prefers Lemon Pepper Wet as a wing sauce with lemon pepper seasoning, or as a clarified butter wing with lemon pepper seasoning. It's a big choice, but Andrew Rea of Binging with Babish has taken just that wing recipe problem to task. Follow his steps and you can make them at home and decide for yourself. Or just throw up your hands and head to Magic City.
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