Houston's Stuff'd Wings Are A Unique Spin On The Classic Chicken Favorite

Chicken wings have long been that popular finger food gracing sports bar menus and game day buffet tables. And why not? You don't need a knife or fork, they're full of flavor (especially if you have a side of ranch or buffalo sauce), and they can be both an appetizer or the main course. They've become so popular, in fact, that chicken wing chains have popped up all over America. We didn't believe that crispy bite could be improved upon. Then we attended the Fried Chicken Festival in New Orleans and met Jarrod Rector, the man behind the ingenious Stuff'd Wings, and our minds were blown.

A little shop in Houston, Texas, Stuff'd Wings takes the classic chicken wing and flips it on its head by adding a hearty stuffing to each and every wing. We know adding stuffing to a chicken wing may seem strange, but Rector does it with style. We're not talking about a typical breadcrumb stuffing you might find at Thanksgiving either. No, Rector's stuffings include ingredients that would be meals in their own right, from a seafood boudin to a gooey, creamy mac and cheese. 

After tasting these exquisite wings, we can tell you the stuffed chicken wing totally works. But we're not the only ones who think so. With over 120,000 followers for Stuff'd Wings on Instagram and a fast-food drive-thru place all his own, Rector has clearly discovered the next great dish.

From brainstorm to bricks and mortar

Rector tells us it all started with that classic conversation every husband and wife have at least once a week: What's for dinner? Rector usually made dinner for his wife on Thursdays. On this particular Thursday he made his wife her favorite: Fried chicken and dirty rice. But as he was cooking he thought, "You know what? It'd be cool if I could put this dirty rice inside this chicken wing." He says he didn't know how to do it, but he put his "engineer mind" to work, figured it out, and made it for her. "She loved it immediately," he says. The rest, as they say, is history. 

They made more stuffed wings for their friends and family who Rector says also loved them. Then they did a popup at a local grocery store where they sold out in two hours. The couple did it again the following day with twice as many wings and, once again, they sold out in record time. He and his wife knew they were onto something. So, they started doing festivals and carnivals in Houston which eventually led to a food truck in Third Ward by the University of Houston. "It just took off after that," Rector says with a big grin. "Then last year we opened our first brick-and-mortar in midtown Houston." 

All about the stuffing

Unfortunately, Rector won't reveal what tools he uses or how he fills the wings themselves, but he does tell us that he uses bone-in, skin-on chicken wings, that he stuffs, covers in flour and spices, and deep fries. Unlike other fried chicken recipes out there, Rector doesn't use buttermilk. "We don't do any buttermilk or anything like that," he explains. "We just season it really good and let it sit overnight." That may sound like an ordinary fried chicken wing, but what keeps the people coming back are those four stuffings that Rector says he simply "found an innovative way" to hide inside. 

There's the Ridin' Dirty which is a stuffing of pork and beef dirty rice, the Seafood Lovers which is a shrimp and crawfish boudin stuffing, the Return of the Mack which, you guessed it, is a stuffing of the "cheesiest mac n cheese," and finally, if you want a little extra chicken with your fried chicken, there's the Chicken Head which is a chicken boudin stuffing. Rector says he created the Chicken Head "for people who can't have pork and beef or are allergic to dairy or seafood." While we thoroughly enjoyed the Seafood Lovers and the Return of the Mac, Rector confesses that the Chicken Head is his favorite of the four.