Wednesday, November 16, 2011

50 Cent Wing Tuesdays at the Park Slope Ale House

Last night we went to one of my usual places to get wings. The Park Slope Ale House. Not only does the Ale House have great wings, their beer selection is phenomenal and always changing, their food menu is better than most and they have outdoor seating for those perfect Brooklyn days.

I always order wings when I go there but, what better excuse to go there than 50 cent Tuesdays. The wings at the Ale House are always good and consistent. On the occasion you get some weird looking runts tossed onto your plate but, the meat is good and the sauce is wet with a good spice and the right amount of sweetness. The only thing that keeps these wings off of my top five list is the blue cheese.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I'll eat it when when I order wings from the Ale House.

The truth of the matter is that when I feel like flexing my wing muscles and really going for the whole ball of wax, the blue cheese is an important component in my decision making. I'm not exactly sure why the blue cheese is good sometimes and sub par others but, more often than not, it always lacks the punch that I need in my blue cheese.

I will hypothesize that on some days great care and preparation goes in to the creation of the pungent vat of creamy goodness and then, other days, eehhhh...not so much. Regardless, the wings themselves are stellar and I will be back to partake and work my way through the draft selection.

In closing, I would like to make a plea to all the sub par blue cheeses of the world:

"I love you just as much as your spicy counterpart but, please take care and treat yourself to only the best things in life and when you show your self to the world, wear your Sunday best and shine your shoes like great grandpappy taught you.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Home Cooked Goodness

I'm usually not the type to like home made wings. My reason is because they never quite come out as well as they do when a knowledgeable chef prepares them in a deep fryer. Also, as much as I would like to have my very own deep fryer, I wouldn't use it often enough to justify the purchase and would end up throwing away the under utilized oil.

Well, being the innovator and stubborn foodie that I am, I cook wings from time to time and I do believe I've mastered cooking wings on the grill.

I start them on a medium heat to make sure they cook thoroughly. When I feel like they're almost cooked, I turn the heat up so they will sizzle and the skin will get nice and crispy. I generally like to see some char on my grilled chicken anyway so, as long as you pay attention it's pretty hard to over do it.

While the wings are cooking over medium heat, I start my sauce prep. For the latest batch I melted grass-fed butter and added hot sauce as it melted. The hot sauce I used was Crystal, which is a cayenne/vinegar blend and has a great medium heat flavor. If you like a good spice but, don't want to sweat into your food, I recommend Crystal. Anyway, add the sauce into the butter until it passes the taste test. I also added in some locally harvested, Brooklyn honey. The honey helps with the thickness and adds a splash of sweetness to the sauce.

When you get close to the taste you're looking for, you may need to increase the thickness. I added a little bit of Salt Lick BBQ sauce to accomplish this. The Salt Lick is some of the best BBQ sauce around, check it out if you can. You can use any type of BBQ sauce you like but take into consideration the recipe of the sauce and the effect it may have on your spice. Too much ketchup or sugar and you'll dilute the heat. I think a nice grainy mustard would also help the cause and go well with the vinegar and cayenne pepper.

Ultimately you can get creative with your sauce but, only add small amounts of ingredients at a time so you leave room for error. After your sauce is good to go, turn the heat down and just let it simmer. Go back to the grill and turn up the heat. Keep an eye and turn the wings until they're charred to your liking.

You can start pulling off individual wings as soon as they are ready. Put them in a bowl and as more become ready, throw them into the bowl on top. This will help keep the wings at the bottom warm. When you're ready, pour the sauce on the wings and toss.

Grab some tongs and divvy up the wings. Get your favorite blue cheese and don't even think about using ranch dressing on these babies. Crack another beer and enjoy some home cooked goodness.

In other news, this can be a fairly healthy option to your traditional chicken wing and probably just as easy, if not easier to make.

First of all, you choose the chicken......Organic, grass-fed, pastured, family pet, store bought, industrial farmed, locally sourced, farmers market, etc. I mean, Whole Foods sells humanely raised, organic chicken that is pre-packaged and ready to go.

I bet you can buy a 30 pack of only wings that meets your criteria, whether that be the local corner grocery option or your 21st century foodie fare.

The butter can be the, raw milk, non-homogenized, home made, etc. As far as the seasoning, add what you know and like.

Home made blue cheese is as simple as sourcing some real blue cheese, adding your choice of sour cream, some salt and pepper and then boom.

Grilling chicken wings has got to be the easiest thing to do. They cook quick and you can see and taste exactly what you're cooking at any given time.

The Rock Shop = Damn Good Wings

Tonight, the wife and I went to The Rock Shop on 4th Avenue at President Street in Park Slope.  I was having a wing jones and was gonna go to my usual joint but, I had been meaning to stop in to The Rock Shop since it opened last year so, we made it happen. 

The Rock Shop has a great live music venue on the street level and to the left, up a staircase is the sports bar. I had the bacon cheddar burger and a 12 strip of medium wings.

You're looking at a dollar a wing which to me is a bit pricey but, they are worth it. The wings were meaty and the sauce had a good thickness.  I spoke briefly with the chef and he makes the sauce himself. I told him I like some heat in my sauce but, I don't want to be overwhelmed and uncomfortable from the heat. He recommended the medium and they were spot on.

These wings confirmed my faith in delicious wings abundant. NYC and Brooklyn, more specifically, has got some of the best wings in the world. The Rock Shop does them right and the burgers are on point too. They have good pre-set burger menu options and plenty of toppings for a custom job.

The beer selection is also better than your average sports bar swill. Some stand-outs were the South Hampton IPA and Brooklyn Blast. The Rock Shop has an incredible rooftop deck so, get there while the weather is nice and be ready to enjoy yourself. I'll definitely be back.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wing Fest 2011

Will you be there? This event is sold out and I need seats. If you have an extra please, send it my way by leaving a comment below. I will be indebted to you always.

Besides, I'll be the judge of the best wings in NYC...poultry impartiality and objectivity is my forte.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wing Contest at Atomic Wings

Ok...I've been so busy eating wings that I haven't posted in a few months.

On June 25, 2011, Atomic Wings in Park Slope celebrated another anniversary by holding a wing and yogurt eating contest. They're partnered with Wicked Spoon Yogurt and both were giving away free tastings of their best treats.

I saw the sign announcing the contest earlier during the day so, being the OCD wing fan I am, I stopped in to check it out. I ended up talking to the owner for a bit and he seemed pretty excited about the whole thing and said they even brought in some real-deal competitive eaters. I tried to get in on the contest but he said they were good to go although he would keep me in mind if they needed anyone at the last minute.

I went home and told my fiance about it and she didn't seem nearly as excited about it as I was but, she did agree to go check it out with me.

By the time we got back there, the place was pretty crowded as they were giving away samples of wings and yogurt. I ended up tasting a few then, bought myself a 10 strip and a couple beers while I waited for the contest to start.

First up was the yogurt contest. This was an interesting event. I couldn't tell weather the competitors were gonna puke form the yogurt, pass out from the brain freeze or lose feeling in their hands as they shoveled melting yogurt into their face. The guy who won, ate a ridiculous amount of yogurt and took off immediately because he had to go to a family cookout in Prospect Park.

They cleaned the place up and readied it for the wing eating contest. Most of the guys who took part in the yogurt eating contest were back for more with the big wing show. I guess they were short a competitor because the owner asked me if I wanted in on the prize money. I declined, only because I was already a yogurt, two beers and 14 wings into my pre-dinner snack. In hindsight, I think I could've put up some good numbers against this crowd.

Before the contest started, they brought out a few tubs of blue cheese for each competitor that wanted it...a couple guys asked for ranch dressing. I knew right away they were amateurs and had no business sitting at the table with the rest of the esteemed athletes. I wanted to grab them and scream, "No one in their right mind eats wings with ranch dressing, get the hell out of here you waste of good chicken wing-eatin-amateur!"

Anyway, one guy showed up with his Championship Belt and a few of the other guys looked like they've eaten their share of chicken wings. It ended up coming down to two guys and one wing. The guy who brought his belt and another legit dude...I forget who won but, both of them were cool and good sports about the contest.

The Atomic Wing Anniversary Wing Eating Contest was an amazing display of courage and honor. I picked up a few good ideas that I plan to incorporate into my own style and technique as I try to eat as many wings as possible.

One technique I was particularly fond of was "The Chamber Load." This is the act of placing a wing in the blue cheese while eating another wing. That way, it's ready to go as soon as you finish with your current wing. A good way to always have some delicious blue cheese dipped wings ready at your beckon call.

Here's a video of the finish:

Chicken Wings on Man Vs Food

Man vs Food is an entertaining show.....obscene sometimes but, entertaining nonetheless. My personal favorite type of wing is a wing that is hot (but not suicide) and slightly sweet. I still get a kick out of watching people eat really hot wings though......

Adam Richman is one crazy SOB and this place is in Brooklyn......

Monday, April 25, 2011

Good News in the World of Wings

So if the NFL lockout happens, it looks like the price of chicken wings will drop!

Our growing desire for wings created an increase in the price and in turn an increase in supply. During the football season so many people order wings that, without football, there will be an over load in the supply so there will be nothing left to do but, lower the price. It may be a good but, fattening fall chicken wing season for me.

Here is a link to the Boston Herald article: