Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Super Bowl XLIV Wing Eating Contest @ PJ Quigleys

So the big day finally came. Super Bowl Sunday. XLIV. And I was going back to PJ Quigley's for their Super Bowl Party, and of course, the half time wing eating competition. But this year, I was invited to judge the contest.

I have to admit, I'm not a football fan. Until Sunday, I didn't even know who was playing, but I decided I better find out (Colts vs Saints by the way). But the energy people have for the game, even up here in Canada, can be infectious. And if there is one food associated with Super Bowl, it's chicken wings.

The place was packed with friendly cheering fans, oohing and ahhhing at tackles and touchdowns. I missed our waitress name, but she was friendly and accommodating. Manager Andrew Ross was also great - running the wing eating contest and checking up on us.

We decided to grab some grub - LJ went with the steak sandwich. A "grilled strip loin steak on a garlic ciabatta bun with sauteed garlic mushrooms, onions and a side of peppercorn gravy with fries." The steak was tasty and tender. The gravy went well with the crispy fries.

I went with the wings, of course. Big, meaty, crispy, saucy. What can I say, excellent wings. The suicide sauce still had a nice bite, and cool Ranch dressing on the side with veggies (no sour cream here thankfully!).

I asked Andrew if I could get a sneak peak in the kitchen and how they make their wings. That was awesome watching the pros do what they do well. In the kitchen, Liam walked me through their process, from dusting the wings in flour, deep frying, saucing then plating. He also showed me the wings he was preparing for himself; Liam's close to copying KFC's secret recipe.

Also in the kitchen was Josh. After hearing Liam was making a special batch of wings, he to went to work creating a unique wing dish - a lemon/citrus marinade. But when pressed as to what he was going to put in it, he said "I haven't got a clue."

The wing theme was definitely big in the kitchen that night. One of the waitresses came in and was excited about wing creations, as was the bartender, looking for Cajun chicken fingers with wing sauce. I also watched as Liam and Josh made 'boneless wings' with chicken fingers in hot sauce (homemade), which also looked good.

Before long it was Half Time, and the crowd gathered for the Wing Eating Contest. There were 5 contestants, Andrew 'The Kid' was the winner from last year. Beside him was the champ from 2 years ago. There were a lot of support for the candidates, and it got exciting very quick.

The rules were the same as last year:
  1. 2lbs of wings, flavour hot, were to be consumed as fast as possible
  2. After eating the wings you had to consume a bottle of Dad's Cream Soda.
  3. No napkins, saucy fingers only to open the twist top.
  4. The bottle and its contents could not be consumed before the wings.
  5. Wings would be judged on how much meat was removed
  6. The winner would receive a free pound of wings a week for a year!

The contestants went to town on those wings and the crowd cheered them on. It was interesting watching how everyone went about eating the wings. This year's champ Andrew spun the wing meat off in his mouth quick, treating both wingette's and drummette's the same. The previous champ started off with a one handed technique of just skinning the wing of meat and bones. The other contestants ate their wings it, appeared, just like they would normally at dinner, just trying to do it faster.
Clearly technique does work. The bottle cap was the really tough part as saucy fingers do not uncap the bottle easily. Andrew got desperate and tried to use his mouth . . . that made me wince at the thought of blood and broken teeth . . . but it was more a reaction than a real attempt. And this year he won by a big margin. Congrats and enjoy your wings!

It was a lot of fun and a good time had by all. The wings were great. Thanks to Linda Price, Andrew Ross and the rest of the staff at PJ Quigleys for having us and for inviting me to be judge. And thanks for the food too!

PS: I was hoping the New Orleans Saints would win, but it looked bad to begin with. Looks like they came through in the end. Go squadron!




Chris said...

Fun event and I loved the video. My favorite part was the behind the scenes in the kitchen, I want a huge mixing bowl like that. I use the same "swirl and flip" technique to get the wings nice and sauced.

You sure had more fun than I did. I was at home configuring 6 laptops for my staff until late in the third quarter. Dammit.

Teena in Toronto said...

Wow! Those wings are huge!!!

Lord of the Wings said...

Chris - Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, I want those bowls too, I would sure spill a lot less when I toss my wings! Sorry for the crappy SB

Teena - they are big, and that's before the flour dusting!