Lemon pepper wings are unbreaded chicken wings coated in lemon pepper seasoning. The dish was invented in Atlanta, Georgia, and is considered to be emblematic of the city’s cuisine.
Description of Lemon pepper wings
The dish is prepared by frying or roasting unbreaded chicken wings. After cooking, they are tossed in lemon pepper, a seasoning made with lemon zest and black pepper as well as other ingredients such as sugar. Many recipes use premade lemon pepper.
A platter of lemon pepper wings, buffalo wings, and sliced vegetables
Lemon pepper wet
“Lemon pepper wet” is a variation in which the wings are coated in a sauce. They may be tossed in a lemon sauce instead of a dry rub. This version of the dish was invented at the American Deli in Atlanta. Other versions of this dish involve coating the wings with butter or buffalo sauce and tossing them in dry lemon pepper seasoning.
In popular culture
Lemon pepper wings are commonly referenced in music and television related to Atlanta. The 2 Chainz song “Hot Wings” (2018) includes the verse “She just want her 20-piece/ All flesh with the lemon pepper”. They are mentioned in the Drake song “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” (2021) featuring Rick Ross. Ross, who owns several Wingstop locations, has mentioned them in numerous other songs including “Buy Back the Block”, “Dope Dick”, “U.O.E.N.O.” and “Thug Cry”. They have also been mentioned in songs by rappers like Gucci Mane and the group Migos.
They appeared in the second episode of the television series Atlanta, in which a character receives “lemon pepper wet” wings from the real life restaurant J.R. Crickets. The scene went viral on social media and popularized the dish online. At the time, “lemon pepper wet” wings were not on the restaurant’s menu although they had a similar dish called “Fester” wings which customers frequently referred to as “lemon pepper wet”. The “lemon pepper wet” depicted in the show was actually inspired by a dish served at the American Deli, a different restaurant in Atlanta. Writer Stephen Glover explained that he wanted the character to be “hooked up” by receiving an item that was not on the menu at J.R. Crickets. In 2017, J.R. Crickets added “lemon pepper wet” to the menu in honor of the show. Mike Jordan of Eater Atlanta claimed that the episode had popularized the dish.
In 2020, Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers was nicknamed “Lemon Pepper Lou” on social media when it was reported that he ordered lemon pepper wings at the Magic City strip club during a trip outside the NBA Bubble. He was previously known for frequenting the club to purchase its wings, where the dish “Louwill Lemon Pepper BBQ Wings” was named after him. Williams objected to the nickname but later trademarked it.
Course Appetizer or main course
Place of origin Atlanta, Georgia
Associated cuisine Cuisine of the Southern United States
Main ingredients Chicken, lemon pepper
Lemon pepper wings Ingredients
- 2 cups oil, or as needed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon-pepper seasoning
- 12 chicken wings
Lemon pepper wings Directions
- Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Stir olive oil and lemon-pepper seasoning together in a bowl; set aside.
- Fry wings in hot oil until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 8 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
- Toss hot wings with lemon-pepper mixture to coat.