Big Bone BBQ and Wicked Wings is a chain of 9 BBQ joints that exists mainly around Toronto (not in Toronto mind you) with this location being the farthest away. When I was last living in Toronto I had wanted to go check them out, but never did. So this was the perfect opportunity. I mean, the place is a BBQ joint (love BBQ) AND they are about wings! How could you go wrong?
This place is located in a strip mall, surrounded by businesses like an Asian take-away and a music store. Inside it very much has a BBQ feel. There's the smell of BBQ smoke. There's all sorts of kitschy BBQ stuff on the walls and some good blues and rock and roll on the stereo. We got there sometime after 5pm, but the place was pretty busy and continued to be busy the whole time, which is pretty good for a Monday night.
There's a big ordering counter, and we weren't sure if you order and sit, or just sit and someone takes your order. The waitress came out (she was the only one, and it seemed like there was just one guy in the back cooking as far as I could tell) and she told us to find a seat since we were dining in, and she brought us our menus.
Now Big Bone's wasn't celebrating National Wing Day, but I was aware of their Monday Mania special. It's the closest thing they have for a wing night. It's $28.25 (taxes in) for 1 rack of ribs, 1lb of wings, with a large fries or salad. It sounded good, but we didn't go this route after all. We decided to get 2lb's of wings so that we could try more wings. But to get some more BBQ in there, we took a look at one of their other specials:
They were highlighting their homemade sausages, and that just sounded good to both of us. We went for the Sausage Dinner with 3 links and sides.
When it came to the wings, we had a lot more decisions to make. First, Big Bone does wings 2 different ways. Smoked, and fried. Fried is my fave, but I do love a smoked wing. Since were were getting two pounds, we figured we'd get one order fried and the other smoked. But then, you have to choose the sauce, and that's not easy because there are 23 flavours. How do you choose?!
So here's what went down. The waitress, who was friendly, but also no-nonsense, stopped us before we started to order the wings to explain the wings. She explained that the Smoked wings are marinated, then smoked, then thrown on the grill in their Signature BBQ sauce, so any sauce you order for them is on the side. So we ordered 1lb Smoked wings with their Alabama Slamma on the side (she said she likes it because it has a kick, but isn't too spicy) and an order of Fried wings in Wicked Hot.
We didn't wait long at all and our two platters arrived. The feast looked really good, but when she brought them, she put the wings down first stating "Here are your smoked wings, and fried wings with the Alabama Slamma". LJ and I looked at each other and were a bit confused, because that's not what we ordered, or at least, not the right combination of what we ordered.
But I'll come back to that.
On the Sausage Dinner, there were three very nice looking links waiting for us. I liked them, but LJ wasn't a fan. The texture was great - they had that crispy snapping skin when you bit into them, and the pork itself was tender and ground well. The flavour was, well, kind of mute, but then you got hit with this like maple syrupy sweet flavour. It tasted ok, but I'd much prefer a spicier sausage. They were ok, not bad, but we both would order them again.
The beans that came with them were pretty good. They taste like they are just canned beans with a bit of smoke and maybe bbq sauce, but mostly cold beans. The coleslaw came warm, which is not cool, especially since it's a creamy coleslaw. It was much better as leftovers the next day once it had sat in the fridge. Again it tasted creamy, but I think it had some apple cider vinegar in it for a sweet-tart kick. The fries that came with both of our orders are battered and crispy. Good texture but not much flavour. They came out hot at least. Finally, the platter came with a slice of corn bread, which was literally a slice from a corn bread loaf. It was ok - it wasn't sweet or really corn flavoured either. There was a hint of like granular sugar actually but it goes away quick. It was a really nice texture to it though.
So the other food was kind of hit or miss, but would the wing-mix up end up being ok?
So the wings come by the pound, with about 8-9 wings in that pound. Each order does come with fries but no other sides. We were brought a bone bowl, lots of napkins, and I'm pretty sure there was some wetnaps also included.
The size of most of the wings was medium to medium-small. This was both in length and width, and applied to the meatiness of each wing.
The fried wings were saucy, but they also came out cold and soggy. The lack of crispy skin was sad. The meat on the wings were also tough. After biting into them they seem to come from frozen stock, which is strange considering that they state the smoked wings are from fresh.
The smoked wings were a bit more tender. I find most smoked wings are tough and leathery but these were not thankfully.
So as stated before, I don't know if we got the right sauces or not. But the waitress said the fried wings had Alabama Slamma, and then there were just Smoked wings and no Wicked Hot was actually applied? I don't know for sure.
SMOKED & GRILLED
So the wings came out and they looked like they should with little bits of char coming from the smoking process. I'm not crazy about the texture of smoked wings on their own, so whether you deep fry them after or grill, they need something.
Now the wings as described to us both on the menu and in person was that the smoked wings are finished off with their Signature BBQ sauce. I don't know if that was what was on here, but it was clearly there was a residue of sauce leftover. It was not killer in heat. The flavour of the wings was overwhelmingly smokey, but it wasn't a nice Hickory smoke, more like some sort of fake smoke that tasted more like campfire. It was ok, I guess. I could look past them and found them ok but LJ did not like them.
FRIED with ALABAMA SLAMMA
So we ordered the Fried with the Wicked Hot. I don't know that this was the Wicked Hot or the Alabama Slamma for sure. It could have been the Wicked Hot because it was 3rd Degree sauce with a bit of sweetness, but then that's how our waitress described the Slamma. If it was Alabama Slamma, I was expecting a spicier Alabama BBQ sauce, a more creamy, white sauce. This was not that. The sauce was good, and I rubbed the smoked wings in it to boost their flavour. But since these wings came cold and soggy, I wasn't impressed. At least they were saucy?
By the end of the meal, neither LJ or I was full or satisfied. The place kept getting busier and busier and so waiting for the only waitress to get a bill and pay took forever. Not her fault, she's waitress, bartender, dealing with tables, take-out orders, and delivery orders. I don't know if it was an off night but it wasn't a great experience. Ok BBQ food, soggy cold fried wings, less than tasty smoked wings with sauces that we had no idea what was what. Here's the thing, I'd go back to try the wings again. I would like to sample more but I'm not in a rush to do so anytime soon, but I have faith they could be better. 6/15
Big Bone BBQ & Wicked Wings
701 Eagleson Rd, Kanata ON (and other locations)