Tuesday, 29 April 2008

What is this?

What? What is this???

Are you trying to tell me this is a chicken wing?

Thanks for nothing Colonel.

Friday, 25 April 2008

RECIPE - LOTW BBQ Rubbed Wings w/Hot Honey BBQ Sauce

What's this? Sunshine? Moderate Weather? An open patio? This can only mean one thing:


The time was finally here and what better way to celebrate Spring and an open Bar-b-que
pitt is wings. So I got my creative juices going and created
BBQ Rubbed Wings v1.0 & Hot Honey BBQ Sauce v1.2.

Sorry for the photo - there was a problem with the transfer
from camera to computer and I am without Photoshop to fix it

First, I decided to prep the wings before I did anything. The only wings I could get were PC split wings. I prefer to get wings from a butcher of poultry place or even the grocery counter, but on shopping day, this was all there was. I decided that I would brine the wings to ensure full flavour throughout the BBQ process.

I took out all the wings and put them in a large bowl of cold water, filled with salt. I don't know how much salt I put in, but it was a lot. I covered the bowl and put it in the fridge for more than an hour. Just like marinating, the longer you leave it, the greater the flavour. After, I dumped out the water and patted down the wings with paper towels to get them ready for rub. But first, I wanted to get a sauce for after the grilling took place.

Hot Honey BBQ Sauce v1.2.

  • Margarine (or butter could be used)
  • Hot sauce (I used Frank's)
  • Vinegar
  • BBQ Sauce (only had Kraft Garlic on hand)
  • Honey
  • Garlic Powder


  1. Melt butter in sauce pan (medium to low heat).
  2. Add rest of ingredients until mixture is well mixed.
  3. Simmer for 20 mins or keep on minimal heat for longer.

What is not useful in this recipe on my part is measurements. I just added ingredients willy nilly. I knew I couldn't make it very spicy because LJ would be having some and wouldn't want it too hot. My rough ratio was 1 part butter, 1 part hot sauce/vinegar, and 1 part bbq sauce/honey. You want it hotter, more hot sauce. Sweeter? More honey. Get the point?

The cast of characters for the play: Spring Wing

Melting margarine. Well, not melted yet.

Pouring in the hot sauce. Mmmmmmm it looks so tasty, so savoury.

Everything boiling together; looks like a Hell's Kitchen pot.

I let the mixture simmer for over an hour, then turned the heat off and let it sit until I was going to need it later at supper. My next move, was to make a spice rub for the wings. A spice rub, as wikipedia describes it as,

"any mixture of ground spices that is made for the purpose of being rubbed on raw food before the food is cooked. The spice rub forms a coat on the food. The food can be marinated in the spice rub for some time for the flavors to incorporate into the food or it can be cooked immediately after it is coated in the rub. The spices are usually coarsely ground. In addition to spices, salt and sugar may be added to the rub, the salt for flavor and the sugar for caramelization. "

The article talks about how in some cultures a Spice Rub can be a very personal thing, and many chef's keep theirs secret. As for me, I just want to share the love, so here is the LOTW version of a wing rub:

BBQ Rubbed Wings v1.0

  • BBQ Spice Mix
  • Garlic Powder
  • Coriander Powder
  • Red Chili Pepper
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. Mix all ingredients
  2. Hand rub mixture over wings
  3. Let rubbed wings sit for at least 20 mins to absorb flavours

Again, I can't explain the amount of spices to mix. The first spice mix was used in the majority of the mix, with others as I think to taste.

The spices all together. I bought the two bags of spices from Bulk Barn. The second bag (Cayenne) was not used because I was pretty sure it was already made of cayenne to begin with (Now, a true bbq enthusiast will not buy bagged spice, but hey, I'm not an expert, yet!). I also have coriander in the mix. Now, normally I hate coriander (or cilantro as known mostly in North America) and often detest its flavour in dishes like pad Thai or salsa, but I find ground coriander to be a delightful spice for bbq.

Finally, the rub mixed onto the wings. I was so excited at this point. Can't wait!

Finally, I was off to the outdoor patio and ready to start grilling. To read my quick 'How to Prepare a Charcoal BBQ' and some other gratuitous grilled wing photos, head over to HERE.

Once the charcoal was red hot and ready, the wings were onto the grill.

Love that first sizzle of flesh on the metal.

All 26 wings rubbed and being grilled . . .

You can see the sauce starting to caramelize and become a bit gooey
on one of the more coated wingettes.

Grill marks: the sign that delight it on its way.

White Hot Coals over Red Hot Love.

I'm just drooling here days later writing this and looking at these picture.

Look how crispy and spicy looking this wing looks. How can I resist?

I can't. I have to test right? Just to make sure?

White as snow inside, but so much flavour!

One of the benefits of charcoal cooking is you get that
smokey flavour inbeded in the wings. Hank Hill may prefer
propane because you 'taste the meat, not the heat', but
the heat tastes so good in this situation.

Actually, one of the downsides to my grilling like this is that I can't control heat or how long I have heat. With propane, it burns as long or as hot as I want it to. Fortunately, the coals burned just right for the amount of heat the wings needed.

The Final Product: stacked and straight from the grill, it looked so good just sitting there! How could I resist?

I couldn't, again. There was so much flavour; spicy, smokey, it was all there.

LJ proclaimed "I think I just found my favourite wing. No seriously."

I was a little disappointed in the chicken itself. The wings weren't
particularly big, and I don't think I used enough salt in my brine.
But really, the skin kicked butt.

AND then, there was still the Hot Honey BBQ sauce. Spicy, sweet, it was all good. I was torn because the rubbed wings tasted so good on their own. But I really liked the sauce too. Decisions decisions decisions.


  1. The spice rub worked great and the wings were good just like that
  2. I don't care for packaged wings and I probably never will
  3. Hot sauce and rub might be too much flavour
  4. My hot sauce was a slight variation on the hot sauce from HERE
  5. I had lots of sauce left over and bottled it for later use. Yum
  6. BBQ makes everything taste good
  7. Brine needs more salt
  8. Wings are good.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

BIGG'S DELI & BAR ~ Ottawa

The plan was to go out for dinner to a chain of wing restaurants in Ontario called Wild Wing. LJ and I have been there before in what I call one of my "Lost Reviews", where I have photos of the wings, but I lost the information on what I ordered and much time passed before I went to actually write the review (It was sometime last fall).

On the way back there, we ended up taking a wrong turn, and while correcting ourselves, I saw a sign on the deck "MONDAY to WEDNESDAY BUFFALO WINGS $6.99 lb." We've both been looking for an Ottawa local place that wasn't a chain, and I was sold on the wings, so we stopped into Bigg's Deli & Pub.

There was very few cars in the parking lot. After we pulled in I had reservations about the place. All I could think was a failing family restaurants that just served crummy food. LJ shared this concern, but we decided to brave it.

The atmosphere was just as I pictured it, run down family restaurant. It wasn't particularly clean (but the smell of cleaning product was strong when we first entered), furniture was at least 10-15 years old and was desperate for a make-over. Strange 'Famous Hollywood' dolls were perched around our booth, making sure we were always watched by these strange gargoyles.

The menu itself was a mish-mash of all day breakfast (their specialty), Italian, sandwiches and pub food. It reached out for a broad audience, seemingly to appeal to mom, dad, little Jimmy and Jenny and granny too. There was lots to choose from, but LJ went for a appetizer combo of wings, onion rings, zucchini sticks, perogies, and cheese sticks for $13.99. Here's how things turned out for her:

  • Perogies: frozen store bought with fake yellow cheese - very touch to chew.
  • Cheese Sticks: rubbery cheese, - very touch to chew.
  • Zucchini Sticks: zucchini was way to overcooked and left a foul taste in the mouth.
  • Onion Rings: good. Battered not breaded.
  • Wings: her wings were hot but really lacked sauce.

It also came with a big bowl of sour cream and a garlic dip (which she liked). This did not mask the either over deep fried food or frozen vittles that was her meal. Of course, I went for the wings, and things were a bit different.

2008 THE SCORE 3.0: BIGG’S Deli & Pub ~ Ottawa


Deep fried then baked


$9.95 for 10

$13.95 for 15

$17.95 for 20


  • Mild
  • Hot (Frank’s)
  • Suicide (3rd Degree)
  • Honey Garlic



Hot is not, suicide has a tingle


Large to jumbo – impressive



Wet – the hot had sauce at the bottom, suicide was sticky






Ok – nothing fancy here



None (despite advertisement)



Napkins and a bone plate



Mon-Wed 10 for $6.99



Patio, serve Pepsi, free refills


Big wings with less than original sauces


I asked for 2 orders of wings, one of hot and the other suicide:

SUICIDE: above, was the suicide. Clearly 3rd Degree. Nothing wrong with it (love that syrupy suicide) but just nothing special.

HOT: the above photo was the hot. You can't see much sauce, because its at the bottom of the basket. And the hot sauce is just good old Frank's with some vinegar. Ok, but nothing orrigional.

The really good thing about the wings were their size. They were huge, without any fancy breading or dusting. Not super meaty, just large. They also seemed to bake their wings after they were fried. They were crispy, but a few were overdone. Mixed with their traditional sauces made for a wing that wasn't inspiring, but that I enjoyed eating.

Next to us was two older French people who also ordered their wings. I don't think they are used to wings at all. After they recieved their wings, they complained to the waitress Heidi, (who was really friendly and attentave) that they were "too salty. How can anyone eat these wings? They are so salty." Heidi wasn't sure what to do, explaining that salt wasn't used on them. She offered to bring them another platter of wings in a different sauce, but they didn't seem to understand the sauces. We left before I found out what they did, but I sure hope they didn't judge against these wings in general because of their wing ingnorance.

FINAL SCORE: While the pub food sucked, the wings were all right. Jumbo sized wings with plain Jane sauces. Oh, the menu said I was supposed to get veggies with a dip of either Ranch or Sour Cream (again with the sour cream!!!) but nothing came; it is possible that I got none because it was wing night (a lot of places do that) but overall, some veggies would be nice. LJ asked if I would ever go back again. I asked her: no. As for me, if it was Monday to Wednesday, maybe. They didn't really do anything wrong . . . but I just don't think it was done to the best of their abilities. 10.5/20

Bigg's Deli & Bar
1099 St Laurent Boulevard, Ottawa

Non-Wing NEWS: German Fast Food of the Future, Now

So it seems a restaurant in Nuremberg Germany has developed a restaurant of the future - with no waitresses/waiters. There's no wings on the menu (as best as I can decipher the German) but the outdoor beergarden seems like a cool experience. You sit at your table/bar, order on a computer, and the kitchen sends your meal down on a wheeled contraption.


I don't know where your 'buggy' goes when you are done, or what happens if your food is wrong or there's a problem with it, but it certainly is an interesting concept. I like the novelty, but I wouldn't want this in all places. I like interacting with a human, in most cases anyway.'

BBC News Documentary Article HERE

Restaurant "'S Baggers" website HERE

Monday, 14 April 2008

DIPS: Blue Cheese vs Ranch vs ???

When I close my eyes and envision what an order of wings should be, I see a large basket with some sort of checkered pattern that is covered in a heap of red soaked, crispy wings. In the corner of the basket is a twin healthy side of cruditee'd celery and carrots, and with them, is a small plastic container of . . . dip.

Having had a string of strange dip while staying in Ottawa, I began to think more and more about the oft overlooked accompaniments that chicken wings have. Traditionally, wings are served with a side of Bleu Cheese; but a growing, and many argue a majority of individuals prefer Ranch. This has developed into a debate amongst wing lovers about what is appropriate and what tastes best with wings.


By now, everyone knows the story of Wing Saint Teressa Bellisimo and the manifestation of the Buffalo chicken wing, where she served Blue Cheese dressing on the side. The key reason for adding a dip on the side was to cut the heat that is inherent in a Hot Wing. The spicy acid is neutralized with a creamy base.

How people use the dip is completely different. For me personally, in my purist roots, a chicken wing is never to be dipped into a cream dip. One should never take away from the flavour of a good wing sauce. That being said, I have occasionally dipped to cover up a bad wing sauce. I want to be able in the midst of the pain of the wing to taste the sauce.

But for many people, they just can't handle the heat. Others are ignorant of the individual flavours and have no problem mixing, not appreciating the subtle nuances that make a chicken wing. I look to the dip and veggies as a nice yin to my spicy wing yang, meeting together to embrace the universe in a perfect flavour combination to be enjoyed in close proximity, but not together at the same time. I will eat two or three wings, then some veggies to sooth the mouth. Actually, for those that may have watched my wing eating rituals, the first thing I do when my wings arrive is to sample the veggies and dip to cleanse the palette.

I began to search around the internet, looking at fellow wing-bloggers thoughts on the subjects, average Joe's, and other sources. It was surprising how many web results present themselves in this great debate. I even came across a website that had an online poll about which was better (see the results at the end of this log). Fellow wing blogger Phred over at The Chicken Wing Project, put his two cents in on the side of Ranch: "on my Wings, I strongly prefer Ranch of the two. Why? I don't like getting the chunks of Blue Cheese on my Wings when I eat them. Remember, I enjoy Blue Cheese on a salad or a burger, so it has little to do with the taste. " Michael Drum Stix over at Bling Bling Chicken Wing takes a bigger analysis of the two, coming up with a list of when it is appropriate to dip a wing:
  1. You are trying to accomplish some sort of personal goal. For example: breaking the amount of chicken wings (of the hottest flavor of course) you can eat. Perhaps you might win a prize or some recognition, like getting on the wall on Plucker’s or something. Exception: If the establishment prohibits you to use ranch or blue cheese to break a record.

  2. If you think that no one around you is knowledgeable about wings, therefore you can get away with it.

  3. If the wings are such poor quality, that you have to use ranch or blue cheese to cover up the taste.

  4. If you are trying new a flavor of wings, but you are suspicious about how they might taste.

  5. If you are French and spell blue cheese bleu cheese. I take this one back; it’s never ok to spell it bleu. [LOTW Author's note, I do refer to it as Bleu Cheese, but that is honouring my Canadian bilingualism]
What I found in my research is that there are a lot of opinions out there that are fanatical about both main dips.


The dip of choice for the purist. Classy, cultivated, cultured. Wikipedia says Bleu Cheese is:

"cow's milk, sheep's milk, or goat's milk cheeses that has had Penicillium cultures added so that the final product is spotted or veined throughout with blue or blue-green mould, and carries a distinct smell. Some blue cheeses are injected with spores before the curds form and others have spores mixed in with the curds after they form. Blue cheeses are typically aged in a temperature-controlled environment such as a cave. " It also has the "characteristic flavor of blue cheeses tends to be sharp and a bit salty. The smell of this food is widely considered to be pungent, even compared to other cheeses. " Add in mayo, sour cream and a few more ingredients and you have BC dressing.

My thoughts is that BC tends to be a more mature flavour. Because it is pungent, it becomes a more acquired taste. Here's what various internet users had to say:

"If you're really going for actual buffalo wing style, using ranch dressing would be just wrong."

"I prefer blue cheese but I had my first taste of wings on the east coast and it seems the east only serves them with blue cheese. It seems ranch is more of a west coast dip"

"Everything's better with bleu cheese!"Suicide wings with Blue Cheese!!!! mmmmmm! I think that's what I'll have for lunch!"

"Bleu cheese, all the way. the chunkier, the better!"

"Bleu cheese is the bomb"

"Anything beside Blue Cheese (with authentic Buffalo wings) is SACRILEGE!!!!""Definitely blue cheese. Ranch is an impostor!"


The challenger. Not as hoite toite; a real dip of the people. Ranch Dressing is:
"a condiment made of buttermilk or sour cream, mayonnaise, minced green onion, garlic powder, and other seasonings mixed into a sauce." "In much of America, ranch is a common dipping sauce for things like french fries, chicken wings and other fried foods. "

Ranch is the everyman of the food world: cool ranch Doritos, ranch snack wraps, burgers and salads. And people dip almost anything into ranch. The Ranchists seemed to be less vocal in their comments, often simply stating, "Ranch" without specific reason why. They just knew.

"I live for Ranch Sauce if it's REAL thick..."

"Ew no blue cheese. Ranch all the way!!"

"Ranch goes with anything."

"Ranch!! I love Ranch! I don't like blue cheese"

"RANCH (especially if it is Ken's Ranch or Hidden Valley Ranch)"

"Ranch. Blue cheese should be outlawed as a tool of terrorists"

vs SOUR CREAM? (and other alternatives):

I've come across the odd sour cream as a dip (especially in Ottawa). It has no flavour, not really. It can only be good for cooling down the heat.

I don't believe sour cream should be on the side of wings: it should be for nachos, potato skins and other potato related dishes. It has no place amongst the wings.

Its just a blob of cool milk product.

Really, sour cream is only good inside other dips. Now some wing places have attempted to change up the usual with their own unique take on dips:

The Manhattan Capone wings at Allen's in Toronto are served with a sour cream dip that had a spicy blue cheese added. Unlike the syrupy blue cheese out of a bottle at most wing joints, this was a dip with thick chunks but a plain sour cream base.

Wing Machine also has a 'bleu cheese' type dip, with no actual cheese, and a flavour that seems to combine both ranch and BC.

In the cooking realm, the Pioneer Woman decided to mix both Ranch & BC together to make an outstanding style dip. Why choose when you can have both?
What about Dill Dip? Can't forget Dill Dip!!! So good.


In the US, it appears that individuals attempt to regionalize the debate about who eats what and why. North vs South. East vs West. Up here in Canada, there seems to be little rhyme or reason. But then, wings come in a diversity of styles too: Buffalo style, baked, bbq'd, rubbed, breaded etc. which means that people everywhere have a different reasons and different tastes.

In the online poll I found, the answer surprised me:

Yes, Ranch seems to be winning by a majority. More people prefer Ranch to BC. However, no one classified this debate for wing dipping. When it comes to salad, my standard choice would be Ranch too.

The debate will never be answered. Of course, it all comes down to personal taste. There is no real right or wrong and only you, the citizen of the Wing Nation can make the right choice. The important thing is that people are eating wings.

For me, coating my carrot stick in classic Bleu Cheese is part of the ritual, the event that is eating wings. But when I want to dip my wing, its an extra side of suicide that makes this the right choice.