Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Wild Wing's BUCK-A-WING deal

Remember when chicken wings were dirt cheap? Seems like yesterday, but also so very long ago at the same time. The days of $0.25, $0.10 or $0.05 wings are pretty much long gone. In 2020, Wild Wing is doing "BUCK-A-WING."

This doesn't sound like a great deal. $1 per wing, in the context of chicken wing history, is not a great deal. And on social media comment sections I saw people flaming the crap out of Wild Wing. But, it's also not 1995 and chicken wings are one of the most expensive cuts of chicken meat at the market. And when you consider that normally an order of Wild Wing chicken wings (about 8-10 wings) is $15, this isn't a bad deal. Mind you, that $15 does come with fries and veggies and dip, but still, it's relatively not bad.

LJ & I decided to go, and we actually went twice, to two different locations. The first is the Orleans Wild Wing (where most of the location photos come from) and the second is the Hog's Back Wild Wing in Ottawa. While the layouts of the two places are very different, they both have the wild west theme mixed with sports bar.

Both have you set up for wing eating. No regular napkins, just paper towel dispensers, attached to your condiment caddy (also filled with wet wipes for clean up). There's also a bone bucket. I love the bone bucket. At the Orleans location we were served by Ally and at Hog's Back we had Caitlin. Both took our orders, refilled drinks, answered questions, but Caitlin went the extra mile which we really appreciated.

So here is how it works:

  • Your 1st order is 10 wings for $10 - they can be Traditional (breaded), Classic, or Boneless in a choice of 1 flavour. You also get a dip (blue cheese, ranch, or sour cream).
  • Additional wings may be ordered in increments of 5 (at $1 each) (each 5 = 1 sauce)
  • Dine-In Only: no delivery, no doggy bags

That sounded ok. I wish you could break up that first order of 10, but oh well.

The difficult part of Wild Wing's is choosing your flavour. I mean, there are 101 choices! To be honest, there's like 15 choices that just make up lots of combinations of the other flavours. But you do have a good choice of sauces and dry rubs.

We had 2 visits, and on visit #1, we got 2 rounds. It's not AYCE, so we had to be pretty picky about what we were going to have.

On both visits we also got a side just to break up the wing eating. On Visit #1 we got a single side of fries. Wild Wing fries are garbage. Ok maybe not garbage, but they are pretty sh*#@y. They look good in that photo, but they are frozen, fake-fresh cut, over cooked, flavourless (even with some spice seasoning on them). We did not finish these.

On visit #2 we learned our lesson and went with the onion rings. Much better. These were crispy with tender onion, but they were a bit oil soaked inside. But still, much better than the fries!

We also got veggie sticks with both orders and we both got Blue Cheese for dipping. It's a great blue cheese, creamy, tangy, but not off-puttingly pungent as some moldy cheese can be.

Before I get to the sauces, I wanted to point out that the wings are about a medium in length, but that they are very meaty pieces. They also came pretty evenly split flats and drums. They were all pretty well sauced/rubbed as well.

LJ and I both went with Traditional, which is breaded (I don't know why it's called traditional because wings are not traditionally breaded). These wings are very crispy/crunchy, came out hot, and were very tender. The bones pull away easily and I feel like they might be fresh wings. They used to be anyway years ago. So overall, very good, well fried pieces of chicken.

VISIT #1 - Orleans

On this trip we had a late lunch on a Saturday afternoon. We were starved, and we both ended up ordering 15 wings each. LJ didn't eat all of hers, so I ended up having more than 15. Round 1 we got Hot Dill & Sweatin' Bullets, and Round 2 we got Dry Spicy Garlic and Dry Ketchup.

Our first round was saucy and we both dove in happily.



LJ in particular, loves the creamy wings here more than the other flavours. She went with Hot Dill, which I was happy to sample with her (as I would have ordered that myself if she didn't). It's a creamy dill sauce, mixed with hot sauce, and it is freaking good.


I wanted something spicy, but not so much creamy. It`s interesting that with all their flavours, Wild Wing doesn`t have a good Buffalo or variation on it, just straight hot sauces, mixed with the others. Well I also like a good BBQ, so I went with Sweatin`Bullets, which is Smokey BBQ Sauce + Xtra Hot (Frank`s Xtra Hot) + Spontaneous Combustion (I don`t know what this is and can`t find it independently on the menu). This is a great sauce because it has heat, like I feel a sting and cough, but the Smokey BBQ is dark, smokey, but a bit sweet. I was happy with these, LJ was afraid of the heat.



LJ went the dry route and something different. Dry Spicy Garlic was just that; well it was mostly garlic with some cayenne? pepper thrown in? LJ was not a real fan. I liked it, but a) would not want a whole order of this b) would need some sauce or dip for these


I went with an old stand-by: I love potato chip seasoning and I love this ketchup one on wings. The problem is that the flavour is not full throtle. It's there, but you really have to pay attention. But it's tangy, sweet, ketchup goodness. It goes well with the breaded wings too. Funny enough, I hate ketchup sauce and chicken, but I love these.

VISIT #2 - Hog's Back

Fast forward a week or so and we decided to go back. Same kind of scenario, post lunch looking for a meal, but we weren't as hungry this time.

This time, Lesly got the Hot Dill Pickle again, so I'm not bothering to report on it again. I was looking for something different, not sure where to go. Then we saw Daisy Duke, and we both thought that would be interesting.


Daisy Duke is regular BBQ + Medium + Dry Mango Chipotle. You can see the dry rub sprinkled on - the wings are a thing of beauty. I really liked the flavour here. Again, I like a nice spicy BBQ (not that Medium is spicy, but you know the gist of what I am saying), so the base was good. The Dry Mango Chipotle, while not strong, gave a mysterious flavour note to an already tasty wing. I would get these again for sure.

In the end, we both had pretty satisfying wing experiences. The wings are meaty, crispy/crunchy, tender with really good commercial sauces on them. Pass on the fries, get the onion rings, and stick to blue cheese for dipping. It may not be the cheapest deal in town, but it was worth it I think.

Wild Wings
3712 Innes Road, Orleans ON    &       1430 Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa ON

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

TRAEGER's Grilling Chicken Wings: The Ultimate Guide

Traeger Grills are one of if not the best smoking grills out there. I don't have one, but I'd love one. A few years ago I took a Traeger BBQ Grill Class (I'm certified!) with the legendary Diva Q (aka Danielle Bennet) who highly recommends them. I also, highly recommend the course:

That same year, Traeger Grills let me know about their Top 10 chicken wing recipes. Great tips! Recently, Sarah over at Traeger reached out to me to let me know Traeger was again thinking chicken wings and sent me over an infographic and an article about wings. I'm all about educating the masses (and myself) on all things wings so this seems perfect. The infographic specifically is "How to get the Best Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings":

My quick breakdown - I agree with basically everything they state:

  1. Yes - fresh over frozen, this is also true for deep frying, baking, stir-frying etc.
  2. Cornstarch is great for crispier wings. Potato starch is even better!
  3. I will take their word on this. 
  4. Sauce is good ... but don't think it's necessary for crispy wings ... post cooking dry rubs are good too.
  5. Grilling sound good here.
On my own side, I would also include a brine to keep the wings moist and juicy, and some air drying time in the fridge before cooking as well.

The article that Sarah linked to this is called "Grilling Chicken Wings: The Ultimate Guide"

The article is great and has lots of great tips. Check it out.

My only issue is with one recipe. Buffalo Wings. It's my pet peeve. What's wrong?

  • Buffalo Wings are deep fried. Not baked or grilled. Fried. The actual recipe first calls them roasted, then they say it's smoked. Either way, it's not Buffalo, especially not Classic Buffalo Wings.
  • The mini recipe says "all you need is hot sauce, butter, and mustard (optional)". You're damn right it's optional. In fact, THERE IS NO MUSTARD IN BUFFALO WING SAUCE.
I'm not saying those wings wouldn't be tasty; I'm sure they would be (look at that photo)! Just don't call them Classic Buffalo Wings ...

Traeger Grills

Monday, 27 January 2020

LOTW Meme Monday = Dolly Parton Challenge

LINKEDIN - That time I was on BEST IN CHOW as a wing expert in Toronto
INSTAGRAM - Filter fun on Instagram
FACEBOOK - That time I was a judge at a wing eating competition
TINDER - grrrrrrrr baby, very grrrrr!

#nonwingsunday = Buffalo Cauliflower

Bought & Sauced?

These were just the ghost pepper wings from Friday that I tossed in the Popeye's Bayou Buffalo sauce. To be honest, it didn't help the wings. They were better as just straight ghost pepper. The Bayou Buffalo isn't a bad Buffalo sauce at all, but these just didn't need to be mixed. Oh well, live and learn!

#fryday Ghost Pepper Wings Popeye's 2020

Thursday, 23 January 2020

St LOUIS AYCE Boneless Wings January 2020

It's becoming an annual tradition: St Louis AYCE Boneless event:

Every January you can eat all the boneless chunks of meat tossed in your sauce or rub of choice. This year, it was actually cheaper. CHEAPER! $13.99! Last year it was $17.99. It was $16.99 back in 2018. $13.99 is an awesome price and seems just a little inconceivable.

I went in early January but have been behind on posting, as seems to be the case every year. The event is all January long though so you still have time.

My server was Kristin, who is just fantastic. She's been at St Louis for several years. When she came to take my order, I told her I was getting the AYCE Boneless and her eyes lit up "good choice!" I like that encouragement. I already knew, but I asked her how it worked just to clarify:

  • $13.99 you start with an order of 15 boneless bites, blade fries, and dill dip.
  • you can split your first order into 2 flavours
  • once you finish that order, you can get another order of 5 boneless bites
  • everyone at your table must get the AYCE  

Sounds good to me. Actually it seemed like they took some of my suggestions from last year: you can split those 15 bites up into 2 flavours, and fries weren't required with each order. Beautiful.  Now all I had to do was pick my flavours.

St Louis is now up to 30 different flavours, 7 dry rubs and 23 sauces. I was hoping they might have added some exciting new sauces since I had been last, but no they hadn't. I decided to try some different flavour than I usually get this time.

I technically did 3 rounds, but it was only two. Round one I split the 15 pieces starting with the Chipotle Mango Dry Rub, and Medium Saucy. These also came with my fries, which were ok, but nothing special. Filler. Then I went for round 2 with the Sweet Sriracha Hot Sauce, and Kristin came back after I had given my order to see if I might as well put in the 3rd order (Mississippi Honey BBQ), so they came at the same time.

The chicken pieces are not uniform, cookie cut out pieces of chicken. They are all unique cuts and sizes. They have a thick breading, and are fried till they are crunchy. Some came out tender and soft meat, others were dried out and hard. All came out hot and fairly well coated in their respective sauces or rubs.

After I had the 4 different flavours, I was full. I cannot eat as much food as I used to. Kristin almost seemed disappointed, but I said while I could probably squeeze in another 5 bites, I wouldn't enjoy it and I was happy. I asked her what was the most she had seen someone eat and she said it was tough with the boneless because it's all meat. She thought around 35 (starting off with 15, then 5+5+5+5) but with bone-in, 5lbs. I had 25 so I felt accomplished enough. Considering a 15 piece order is $18.99, I was way ahead in my money's worth.

We chatted about competitive eating and people downing wings or hot dogs in crazy quantities. I also asked what was the most common flavour people ordered and I loved her response: "oh, because people don't like to try out their palates, honey garlic." I love that we both scoffed at honey garlic! But other than that she said everything else pretty equally. Interesting.



Something different, I took a chance on these. Shouldn't have bothered. While they were well coated, this was just a very weak flavour. I could barely get a flavour over the breading and the chicken. It wasn't bad, just very weak. Did a lot of dipping in their dill sauce with these. These were also very dried out and tough so it would be a big pass in the future.


Sometimes, sometimes, I don't get hot when I go out for wings. Not because I can deal with the spice, but sometimes Medium sauce is just a much more flavourful sauce. This was not the case with the Medium Saucy. It too was kind of week. Again, not bad, just I want a more punched up flavour experience.

ROUND 2 & 3


So these came out really hot/fresh from the fryer and sauced well. I took a bite, and was surprised that these actually bit back! It wasn't crazy spicy, but these were much spicier than I expected, considering they are "sweet" sriracha. It also had an Asian flavour (no I'm not confusing the sriracha flavour) but almost a sweet and sour sauce in there. It actually didn't taste like a real sriracha sauce, but it was still good nonetheless.


I love this sauce. I always get this sauce. It's sticky, sweet, smokey. Everything I wanted in this style of BBQ sauce, and it just goes so well with the boneless bites. These too were hot, fresh, and crunchy chunks of chicken. A great way to end off my boneless experience.

So overall I had a pretty great meal. In the future, I will not bother with the Chiptole Mango and the Medium Saucy. Sweet Sriracha was tasty, and for sure I'll be ordering the Mississippi BBQ again. Fries were fine, I had free refills on my pop, and the Signature Garlic Dill Dip was also refilled upon request. For $13.99 I for sure got my money's worth of boneless chicken, plus I had some excellent service. Thanks Kristin!

St. Louis Bar & Grill
1331 Clyde Ave #101 Ottawa ON (and other locations)

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Happy National Hot Sauce Day!


I rely on social media to keep informed about new restaurants in the city, as well as new wing sources. I guess you do too, otherwise, you're just reading about my food experiences just for fun? Cool if soo..
This past month, Sarp, aka Roughchop Ottawa, is one of those people that I follow and he likes to highlight some interesting food in the city. On January 10th, he posted this:

one of the photos didn't load for some reason

Marguerite Grill sounded interesting, and what you can't see in that photo that's missing is a shot of the menu. I gave it a quick scan - and they had chicken wings!!! Well that was it, I was going to check them out.

I had a rough idea where this place was, but I'm not in Vanier very often. All I knew was that it was in the Loblaws parking lot. What sucks is if you don't know they are there, you won't see them, especially on a cold dark winter day. They sit in a corner of the parking lot, but the part that faces the main lot has a fence with no advertising. The north part of the structure has a Goodyear auto shop. Then it is surrounded by parked cars. If I wasn't looking for it, I'd miss it, and if I did see it, I'd kinda think it was a shipping container.

What this place does having going for it is that it's not just a simple food truck or chip truck; this place is a mobile camper with a big kitchen. They've also got a big structure built around it to keep people warm in the winter. More on that in a bit. They also take debit and credit for payment, which is great.

I confirmed on the posted menu that they do wings. They also do shawarma, fried, burgers, subs, salads, pasta. It's a crazy amount of choices. The order window slid open quick and I saw that two guys were working, a younger guy taking orders/cash and the older gent who was cooking and turned out to be the owner. Both were very friendly and excited to start my order (as I was the only one there at that time, during the lunch hour). I said I wanted wings, and the window guy confirmed they had wings. "How do you want them done, well done?" I said sure, assuming they meant crispy, but I didn't clarify. "Now the sauce!?" he asked with enthusiasm. I asked what they had. "Ultimate BBQ, Hot, and ah, we don't have Honey Garlic" but the owner chimed in they did "oh! We have Honey Garlic!" I appreciated the enthusiasm but Honey Garlic is not my wing thing.

They got my wings in the fryer and the owner came over, his hands in that please/prayer gesture, saying "I hope you enjoy my wings, I hope they are really good, and that you come back and try my other food too!" They asked if I lived nearby but I said no (they got sad faces), that I heard about them on social media and wanted to check them out (happy faces!). I asked how long had they been open and the owner said two months. He was going to open in the summer, but wanted to open sooner, and then had to  build the porch because he couldn't bare his customers standing in the cold. He said he'd put heaters out there, but he couldn't afford to yet. I said it looks like you have a good size trailer and he said when they get going they can have a lot of people cooking.

Then the young guy brought me an onion ring on a toothpick to try. He was still trying to get his deep fry timing down on the rings (he said he had fries down now). I said it was great - crispy coating but the onion tore easily inside. He was really happy that it worked out. Not long later, the food was ready and they again they hoped I enjoyed my food. I said that I was sure all the food was good, but what was special. "The Persian Kebabs" the owner said, and the young guys nodded his head yes and almost started salivating. They said almost everything is homemade (except the onion rings and the meatballs, but they would have homemade meatballs soon), but that the Persian kebabs were something special. Interestingly, there is no kebabs on the menu.

I took my bag with the container, and wished them the best of luck, and headed to the car to try my wings. They both waved and I was really happy with how friendly and appreciative they were for my business.

There are 10 wings in the order. They are roughly split 50/50 of wingettes and drumettes. There are no sides that come with the wings, and the clean up available are napkins.

The wings are small. Length wise. The flats are relative in size to the length, but the drums are much more meatier.

The skin on the wings were nice and crispy. They wouldn't be what I called "well done" but they were cooked just right. I wouldn't want them any lighter.

The meat was relatively tender, with the bones and meat pulling away with little difficulty. The wings come from frozen I'm pretty sure based on the blackening on the bones.

The wings were covered in sauce, but there wasn't much extra sauce on them. Despite that, my fingers got stained big time, with napkins only able to remove the first dying layer.

The flavour on the wings were good. It was just straight cayenne based hot sauce; probably Frank's. It was good, but it was missing a bigger flavour punch. I started to wonder what the Ultimate BBQ tasted like.


The wings were a nice snack-y lunch. They weren't big, but they were crispy. I was really drawn in by the friendly service and I would definitely go back to try the kebabs. This may look like an Ottawa chip truck, but it's really a Middle Eastern take-out kitchen. Go check them out, follow the map below!

Marguerite Grill
373 Marguerite Ave, Ottawa ON