Have I mentioned that I love this job? Last weekend we checked out the fantastic Wing Wars at the Golden Nugget Casino in AC, presented by Atlantic City Weekly! 103.7 WMGM Rocks was also there as the presenting sponsor. Eighteen restaurants battled it out for supremacy on their wings and sauces. Despite the framing of the contest, the real winners were the guests that got to taste this delicious battle.
We went all in and tried every wing so we could declare our own Just Grubbin Champion. All the competitors put forth some great performances, but some simply transcended the genre and put out something either outstandingly unique and/or delicious.
The Judges picks:
Kelsey’s, Okatshe and Guys BBQ joint
The Eaters picks for Wings:
Vagabond, Pic-A-Lilli and Kelseys
The Eaters picks for Sauce:
Pic, Vagabond and Michael Patricks
Here’s my round up of the best Wing Wars had to offer.
My personal favorite and the wing I voted for was Kelsey’s in Atlantic City (@KelseysAc). They their wing had a sticky, sweet, soulful exterior and brought some major southern flavor. The wing itself was hearty and perfectly cooked honestly, in my humble, wing loving opinion, this wing was the definitive “best”. They took home 3rd place for the eater’s choice award voted on by Wing Wars participants.
Taking home the first place Eater’s Choice Wing Award and 2nd place Sauce Award was Vagabond Kitchen and Tap House (@VagabondAc). So when I walked into the Golden Nugget Showroom the first place on my right was Vagabond so this was the first wing we tasted. Their wing had a mango chili sauce with crumbled Flaming Hot Cheetos breading. It was surprisingly outstanding (I didn’t expect to like the Cheetos). The chicken fell off the bone and was packed with flavor and the sauce and breading added a lot that was unique. I‘m not sure if they serve these in their restaurant, but they should because I’d bring people to try them.
The winner of the Eater’s Choice Sauce Award and runner up for the Wing Award was Pic-A-Lilli Pub in Atlantic City (@PicALilli_Pub). These folks were clearly the masters of the sauces (and probably the Universe). Everyone who knows me knows that I love me some hot n’ honey. I consider myself a hot n’ honey connoisseur. So when Pic’s hot n’ honey hit my lips and I immediately had a foodgasm let it be known that no games were being played. Pics clearly came to compete. And compete they did. This was the quintessential sauce, a sauce that all others should aspire to. But just then, I brought myself to try the garlic parm. First bite, Bam! Garlic! Right in my face. They definitely came to play. I’ll definitely be making my way to Pics for their next wing night.
There were tons of great wings that deserve an honorable mention. Manco and Manco Pizza from the Ocean City (@MancoMancoPizza), NJ boardwalk served up great hot and honey wing with a nice sticky exterior with a good burn that lasted a solid 30 seconds. It wasn’t overpowering at all and was definitely something noticeably missing from the day’s other wings.
AC Burger (@ACBurgerCo) served a crunchy Cool Ranch Doritos breaded wing served with a lime and ranch sauce inside of a tostitos scoop. Courtney loves cool ranch so this was a winner. And yes, it was quite tasty.
Finally, I can’t forget to give a shout out to Tun Tavern (@ACTunTavern). This was the most original service of the day. There was a pickle taste to the sauce. Not my jam really but definitely something I can see other people getting a kick out of. As a condiment of sorts they served a celery sorbet. Weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. It tasted like a shaved ice with a hint of celery. The wing itself was not too spicy but had this heat that just kinda raised the temperature of your mouth for a couple of minutes without burning or stinging. It wasn’t bumping with traditional flavor but had a unique savoriness to it that can’t be ignored.
Wing Wars was a resounding success and I can’t wait for their next event, Burger Bash which is coming up in the spring. These folks throw a great event and I’m excited to gobble up the goods at every one.
If you enjoyed this, check out more posts from the Just Grubbin team here! Also make sure to listen to The Just Grubbin podcast to hear us go into further detail about this and to hear all of our random irreverent takes on food, drink and whatever else.