Fried, battered, blackened, baked, naked, hot, spicy, sweet & sour -- it doesn't really matter how you cook chicken wings. "What matters is that you get all the meat of the chicken wing bone," my father gtold me at an early age. "I'll give you a tip son, there is more meat on the second joint of the wing, what folks call the flapper," my daddy added as he explained how we eat chicken wings here in Florida. That's why I am a great person to share wings with. I leave all the drum sticks for everyone else and I eat the flappers. Of course, not everyone agrees chicken wings are good food. In fact, columnist Dave Barry says they chicken wings are a relatively recent invention:
A more recent example of American inventiveness is "Buffalo-style" chicken wings. For many years, nobody ate chicken wings, and for a good reason: They're inedible. They are essentially meat-free bones. You might as well chew on a plate of toenails. But one day a shrewd restaurant owner came up with the idea of serving the wings "Buffalo-style," which means "to people who have been drinking beer." It is a known fact that beer-drinkers will eat pretty much anything. Exhibit A is "Slim Jims."
You could put a dish of salted mothballs in front of beer drinkers, and they would snork them up. So chicken wings were an instant hit. Today, "Buffalo-style" chicken wings are served in restaurants all over the nation. The waitperson brings out a plate of bones, the customers gnaw on them for a while, and then the waitperson takes them back to the kitchen, where they're run through the dishwasher and placed on a plate for the next set of customers to gnaw on. A restaurant can sell the same set of "Buffalo-style" wings hundreds of times; this provides a big boost to the economy, and it is easier on the chickens.
The GLOB Master was trying to think of a good reason why the WingHouse chicken wings didn't have a place in the GLOB's FAB FIVE Chicken Wings. Having personally tasted the WingHouse Garlic Parmesan, Dallas, and Blackened chicken wings, these second and third clucker joints could be on anyone's top five.
> Are you looking for CW heat, check out the WH Dallas flavor, image right. More than enough Scovil Power to have any heat novice wiping their brow while munching down a great big boatload of taste and flavor.
> Like your wings naked? The WH Blackened wings, image below right, are mouthwatering naked nuggets of wonder. I love the word naked, it says so much.
> My favorite WH Garlic Parmesan wings, image at top of feature, will have you smacking your lips, reveling in parm-cheese flavor bliss. A powerfully pungent garlic background wallop will have you wishing there was a WingHouse All-You-Can-Eat night.
If that isn't enough reason for excellence, the WingHouse also has Mild, Medium, Hot, Exxtreme and Asian for the adventurous wing lover.
It's done! The GLOB Master has just made his decision -- the WingHouse Wings are, in fact, one of the GLOB's FAB FIVE Chicken Wings. (P.S. decider is ALMOST as good a word as naked!)
- GLOB Master
Gator's Dockside in Royal Plaza on Newberry Rd. is a lot of things to a lot of people. It's a great sports bar with countless big screen TVs all over the restaurant. It's also fun time gathering spot with pool tables, a big restaurant and literally more customers than my mother, "could shake a stick at." But what I really like about Gator Dockside is their chickens wings. The wings come at you hot off the grill. There are 4 different 'styles' of wings, and 15 different flavors. Monday night GD has an all-you-can-eat Chicken Wing Special for $10.99. These are excellent wings, and more than worth your lunch time consideration. The hot wings are not overwhelmingly hot so you can easily eat your wing quota here. Gator's Dockside usual multiple flavor wing sauces. The GLOB Master suggests the Hot Garlic wings for starters. Let's do the math. If you ate two wings of each flavor, in all four styles for $11.00 how long would it take to clean your plate eating one wing a minute, and how many wings bones would you have on your plate when you're done?
Unless you're new to the Gainesville Lunch Out Blog, you already know that the GLOB Master is a big fan of Harry's Seafood Bar & Grille in downtown Gainesville. I don't want to sound like an old codger, but I've eaten a lot of wings. I remember when the chickens were twice a large as they are now and the wings were humongous. 'Back in the day,' Harry's sold their chicken wings at happy hour for half price and it was tough getting a seat at the bar. I get my wings blackened, extra crispy. The Harry's blackened spice is unmatched in Hogtown. When you order the chicken wings extra crispy, they are run through the cooking process a second time, which guarantees hot, crispy wings cooked just for you. These wings are really spicy and very tasty with a little bleu cheese and hot sauce on the side. You can get a full order of 10 wings to share, or you can get a half order of five wings; either way, they are the perfect protein accommodation to any adult liquid you might be enjoying. I'm going back for Harry's wings. In fact I may be going when I complete this GLOB FAB FIVE feature!
- GLOB MASTER
After thinking long and hard about it, I realize that I have eaten enough Publix fried chicken that it would be a disservice to leave them off of the GLOB FAB FIVE best chicken wing list. Is there anyone in GLOB Land who would argue that Publix fries some of the best fried chicken in Gainesville all day, every day? You can get a box of 20 fresh, hot wings out of the fryer for $8.99. That calculates out to .44 cents/ big fat wing. And these wings aren't from that pizza delivery chicken that was slaughtered when it was five days old. These wings come from full grown chickens. The battered wings are dredged with the Publix original mix recipe and it is very good. You can also call ahead, and the Publix Deli folks will cook your wings either naked or battered and have them waiting for you. I'm telling you -- give me a box of Publix wings, a side of bleu cheese dressing, and a bottle of Crystal Hot Sauce and I can do some serious damage with this heart-stopping combination of white meat bliss.
- Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
The final new GLOB FAB FIVE Chicken wing shack will be presented nexr week.
CHICKEN WING THINGS TO CONSIDER
> More than 1.25 billion portiosn of wings were consumed during the 2012 Super Bowl weekend.
> That's 100 million pounds of wings, according to the National Chicken Council's 2012 Wing Report. If the wings were laid end-to-end, they would circle the circumference of the Earth – more than twice.
> In 2011, the top three types of restaurants we get our chicken wings from are casual dining restaurants (33%), chicken wing restaurants, and pizza places.
> In 2012, about 9.5 billion wings (2.2 billion pounds) will be sold through food service channels. Another four billion wings (800 million pounds) will be sold in retail grocery stores – three billion as ready to cook (raw) or frozen and one billion ready to eat wings usually found in the deli section or a hot buffet.
> With all those chicken wing factsand & figures on the table, the Gainesville Lunch Out Blog will present you the GLOB Master's five favorite places to enjoy a plate of spicy, hot, or blackened first and second joints of this tasty domestic fowl.
Statistics supplied by the National Chicken Council.