The first official wing review of 2019!
A large portion of my family lives near Brantford Ontario, so since I was a kid we have been going to the Telephone City. After visiting family we would go to Brantford primarily for shopping, but also for eating. I don't think other people feel the same as I do, but Brantford is a city with a lot of good wing places. Wingmasters, Sammy's Rec Room, Zanders, the defunct Moose Winooski's to name a few. So when I see a place advertise "Voted Best Wings" they have my attention. That place was Jo-Jo's Chic-n-Wings.
I had just stopped in Brantford to get gas, but I was hungry, and I had seen Jo-Jo's for the last few years but never stopped. The sign out front on one side said "Voted Best Wings" (but I can't find evidence of this anywhere except on their Facebook back in 2012) and "Best Wings Anywhere"; a very bold statement.
I was really thrown off by Jo-Jo's when I arrived. Anytime I drove by I just assumed it was a take-out joint, but as I parked and walked toward it, I started to question if this was an actual sit down restaurant. I went in and was kind of skeptical of the place - my memory of the place and my photos are two separate things - I remember it being dark and dingy, with a big old tavern bar. I looked over my photos and it doesn't really look as bad as I thought. I found the layout weird with the bar/counter in the front, and two dining areas on either side of the place. Something seemed familiar about this design and after going on google street view back in time, I realized this was a former Tim Horton's! Now everything makes sense.
I was going mid afternoon, so it wasn't that busy. There was a couple that had entered just before me that went to sat on the left dining area, while two kids were chilling and colouring in the other area (the kids I believe were the Wing Dude's I think hanging out since it was still the holidays and there was no school). I walked up to the counter and the Wing Dude (not Jo-Jo because I read this place was under new management back in 2016) was ready to take my order.
Wing Dude was not very friendly or enthusiastic. I asked a bunch of questions about the wings and he gave me the shortest answers. The menu has almost 40 different wing flavours which made choosing very difficult. I asked him to clarify some of the intersting ones:
- Pub Mix = Hot & BBQ
- Bundy = Medium & Honey Garlic (very popular)
- Movie Time = Butter & Salt
I also asked about what the difference between Hot and Suicide was - was it the same sauce and just hotter or different sauces? Wing Dude just told me that Suicide was hotter for sure. Not what I asked, but ok. I was only getting a single order, and I wanted to try a lot of the sauces, but I went with a basic Suicide sauce.
He took my order and went into the back, I took a seat and waited for my order. I scoped out their calendar with their wing nights. Mon = $7.99 for 1lb, Tues = $13.99 for 1lb & a Sleeman beer, Wed = $18.99 AYCE, Thurs = $8.99 for Pint & a Pound. The AYCE experience appeals to me the most. More people came in while I waited. I was there for about 10 minutes, and my order was ready. I went out to the car and was ready to chow down. I opened the bag and found a soft cardboard box waiting for me.
I opened it up and it was like a bloody treasure chest!
The plastic bag only had the box in it, or so I thought. At the bottom was napkins, and they were great napkins. They were not standard thin, weak, cheap napkins. These were quality, thick, multi-folded aspect. Wetnaps too. That's a great clean-up tool package.
Just before Wing Dude went back to make my wings he stopped and asked "Do you prefer small wings or big wings?" I was taken slightly aback and took a beat to think. I asked how many come with large wings? "The big wings are 6 per pound and the small 10 per pound." I didn't really want jumbo wings, but small sounded tiny. 6 in a pound suggested a decent size, that's what I went with. They were all the same price either way, but I really appreciate that choice, that option for what people want. You don't see that very often.
So how big were the big wings? Well they were not jumbo or giant. They were a medium+ to maybe a large sized wing. They were decent sized, but I wonder how small the small actually were. They were medium+ with some very relative in size to the length, and others a bit more meaty.
The meat itself also a medium in tenderness; not tough, but not super soft either. Pulling the wings apart at the bone was not easy, and these were originally frozen. The chicken is dusted in spices before it is deep fried. The skin is really really crispy; it almost has a crunch. I couldn't really taste the spices due to the suicide sauce, but I really dug the texture of the crispy skin.
These wings were saucy. Oh yes, Jo-Jo's were not skimping out on making the wings wet. The sauce must have been poured over the wings in the box, and then shook up in the box, because the lid was dripping thick, bloody looking sauce. I loved the visual! Plus there was a little lake of sauce at the bottom. Nice.
There was 6 wings in the large 1 pound order, as promised, inside the box. The visual was very dark, fire red and exciting to me. The smell was spicy.
The Suicide wing sauce was a good suicide. It didn't taste like any sauce I am used to, and I like that surprise. I think it's a cayenne based hot sauce of some sort, but I think there is a lot of cayenne powder in it that makes it peppery.
At first I didn't think it was that spicy, but then bam! it hit. It has a sting. It attacked my throat at first, but went on to really sting the lips. I don't know what it is, but it's got a burn, a hot burn. I like that cayenne hot flavour, but some may think it's a little one-note. But that note sings! Or is it that zings?
I would definitely go back to Jo-Jo's. I don't know about them being the best, but they are good. The wings were decent in size, very crispy, very saucy, and Suicide has a hot burn to it. I'd love to come back and sample some of the other flavours (Movie Time? yes please!). 9/15
20 King George Road, Brantford ON