If there’s one thing that can bond a father and son, it’s a mutual love of hot wings. Here on the SouthCoast, we’re blessed with some of the hottest and tastiest wings around, and my son Adam and I traveled all over – New Bedford, Fall River, Dartmouth, Lakeville and even to Norton – in order to try the hottest of the hot.

The chicken wing landscape has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. First, the cost of chicken wings, fresh or frozen, has risen dramatically and has caused many restaurants to have to go up in price on their wings.

Additionally, while trying to create a signature hot wing that would be buzzworthy for your restaurant may have been all the rage four or five years ago, these days the increased price of the various spices and peppers, combined with supply chain issues, have caused some of those spots that hyped up their hot wings to start downsizing their sauce selection. Places once known for having Carolina Reaper or Ghost Pepper Wings are now back to basic Buffalo or barbecue.

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The SouthCoast Hot Wing Project started off with a Sunday dinner for myself and Adam at Barrett’s Alehouse in Bridgewater. I had told him about the Ghost Pepper Wings we tried as part of our “Fun vs. Food Hot Wing Challenge” video a few years ago, and had dared him to give them a go.

Being 17 years old with a cast-iron stomach, Adam loves spicy foods and will take on any level of spice. When we arrived at Barrett’s, however, they only had traditional Buffalo wings left on the menu.

While enjoying our dinner, we were also Googling on our phones some of the supposed hottest wings in the area. I told him about my experience trying the Suicide Wings at Wendell’s Pub in Norton back in the early 2000s; I had heard on the radio how they supposedly were the hottest in the Northeast, and so my friend Matt and I visited one afternoon to take on the challenge.

I didn’t make it past the first bite.

Adam and I agreed that our next Sunday dinner would be a trip to Wendell’s, and from there, we concocted the SouthCoast Hot Wing Project, determined to drive to all of the places where friends told us we’d find the hottest of the hot. Oh, and before you ask why we didn’t visit Buffalo Wild Wings or any other chain restaurants, we made it a point to only visit mom-and-pop spots where the sauces were inventive and creative and devised by the people serving them up.

Check out the list of places we visited below, and see how you would stack up against the hottest of the hot.

(Note: if you run into trouble seeing the list, please open this link outside of the Facebook app).

The SouthCoast Hot Wing Project

WBSM's Tim Weisberg and his son Adam spent six months touring the SouthCoast area from New Bedford to Fall River to Dartmouth to Norton and beyond, trying some of the supposed hottest wings around – and also gave some other unique wing flavors a shot, too.

The Best of South Shore Bar Pizza

There's pizza, and then there's South Shore Bar Pizza. Birthed in Brockton (and to this writer, perfected in Randolph – Lynwood Café is the true G.O.A.T.), it must meet certain qualifications to be considered "SSBP," which include: it's a 10-inch pie; it has a thin, cracker-like crust with minimal "flop;" the cheese is a blend that features more cheddar than mozzarella; and bonus points if you take it home between two carboard-type plates wrapped in flat brown paper bag. They also usually come with "laced" or "burnt" edges (terminology depends on where you are ordering), which is when the sauce and cheese are extended all the way to the edge of the pan, creating a crispy, flavorful coating to the crust. We reached out to the hugely popular South Shore Bar Pizza Social Club Facebook group to ask the experts to share the best of the best (in no particular order).