Best Chicken Wings

Southtown Pub

Southtown Pub might not look or feel much different from any other south-city tavern. The vibe is friendly, the décor St. Louis-standard (Bud, Cardinals) and occasionally cheeky — a sign behind the bar declares, "We don't serve women here. You'll have to bring your own." Yet Southtown has a secret weapon in the kitchen, or rather out behind it: a smoker, in which the restaurant slow-cooks ribs, pork steaks and, crucially, wings. No boring ol' Buffalo-sauced flappers here. The wings and drumettes are absurdly plump. (Frankenchicken? Best not to ask.) The exterior is a deep, deep brown — nearly black — crisp, with a definite, but not overpowering flavor of char and smoke. The meat is tender, its natural flavor gradually giving way to the dry rub's slowly building, potent heat. Southtown prices its wings by the piece, at 75 cents a pop. Which means, in the finest south-city tradition, both the curious newcomer and the veteran gorger are welcome.

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