Wingin' it: The Forum's hot wings contest heats upAmericans consumed an estimated 1.25 billion chicken wings during last year’s Super Bowl, according to the National Chicken Council. With such abundance, we decided to narrow the field for your party-planning needs.
By: Sam Benshoof, INFORUM
Americans consumed an estimated 1.25 billion chicken wings during last year’s Super Bowl, according to the National Chicken Council.
With such abundance, we decided to narrow the field for your party-planning needs.
Just as the National Football League is in the middle of its playoff bracket, we created a wing-to-wing bracket. Over the next three weeks, Forum features reporter John Lamb and I will find the best wings in Fargo-Moorhead, just in time for the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.
Many restaurants in the Fargo-Moorhead area offer some variation of the wing, but testing every one didn’t seem feasible.
Instead, we relied partly on the obvious choices, including the newly opened Quaker Steak & Lube, Hooters, Green Mill and Buffalo Wild Wings.
We also asked our readers to weigh in and included The Old Broadway Sports Zone and Tailgators Sports Café, which was the overwhelming reader favorite.
Finally, we wanted to include delivery options as well. Last year, the National Restaurant Association estimated that 48 million Americans ordered delivery or take-out during the Super Bowl. For that reason, we included Pizza Hut and Domino’s Pizza to round out our finalists.
To keep things consistent, John and I ordered a standard “buffalo” wing at each restaurant, even though most offered many different sauces and spices for their wings.
If an establishment allowed getting more than one flavor in an order, we’d also order their “hot” wing to compare.
Over the course of several weeks, John and I judged each wing on the following criteria:
Flavor/spiciness: We weren’t looking for the hottest wing in the F-M area, but rather for the best combination of flavor and spice.
Meat texture: Here we looked for skin that was especially crispy and meat that was tender and came off the bone well.
Sauce: A classic wing should have a good slathering of sauce, but not so much that it ends up pooling at the bottom of the serving container. On the flip side, there’s such a thing as not having enough sauce. Here we wanted just the right amount.
Messiness: Wings are a finger food, and as such they should be messy to eat. We considered whether the wings were too messy or not messy enough.
Appearance/extras: We judged this category on how the wings looked when they were served to us and whether they were served with any sauce or vegetables on the side.
For each of the criteria, we scored the wings on a scale of 1-5, with one being poor and five being excellent. We then added up each rating for the wing’s overall score out of 25.
Next week, we’ll reveal the winners of the first four matchups, which were determined by simply drawing names out of a hat.
The following Tuesday – the week before the Super Bowl – we’ll reveal the two semi-finalists plus the overall winner, which we’ll dub the Best Wings in Town.
Price: $8.99 for 10 wings
Happy hour specials: None for wings
Buffalo Wild Wings
Price: $6.79 for six wings, $8.99 for eight boneless
Happy hour specials: 60-cent wings all day Tuesday,
60-cent boneless wings all day on Thursday
Price: $9.99 for one serving, or $21.99 for a three-flavor sampler
Happy hour specials: $5.99 for bone-in wings, $6.99 for boneless, 4-6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday
Quaker Steak & Lube
Price: $9.79 for single order of 10 wings, two sauce combination add $1.29
Happy hour specials: All-you-can eat wings 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday for $12.99; all-you-can eat boneless wings 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday for $11.99
Price: $6 for eight wings, $10 for 14
Happy hour specials: N/A
Price: $8.99 for 12 wings
Happy hour specials: Tuesday, wings cost 25 cents 6-9 p.m. and 20 cents from 9-10 p.m.; Thursday, boneless wings cost 30 cents from 6-9 p.m., and 20 cents from 9-10 p.m.
Price: $5.99 for eight wings, $9.99 for 14
Happy hour specials: N/A
Tailgators Sports Cafe
Price: Jumbo gator chicken wings $6.50 for four, $10.75 for eight
Happy hour specials: Split wings, quantities of four, are 50 cents each 2:30-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 p.m. to midnight every night.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535