Wing Cup 2014: Cluck or Chuck Championship Results
Jul31

Wing Cup 2014: Cluck or Chuck Championship Results

In the end, it had to be like this. After five rounds of competition amongst 32 proud purveyors of poultry, the Wing Cup 2014 came down to a glorious showdown between two very different culinary preparations. On one hand we had Buffalo Wings & Ribs (BWR) – a classic wing joint established by transplants from Buffalo, New York. On the other hand we had Checkerz – blue-collar sports bar with a small, but passionate cult-like following. On July 29, 2014, this fine country’s National Wing Day, the esteemed panel of judges embarked on a legendary face-off in search of our Wing Cup 2014 Cluck or Chuck Champion. Special thanks once again to the team at Living Fort Wayne, and especially to graphic design extraordinaire Chicken Little who provided the logo and bracket updates for the competition. She’s a great sidekick and wing aficionado. Just don’t rely on this one to be your ride home. Let’s start with the consolation match. True to FIFA World Cup form, the consolation match took place between two proud franchises doing their best to pick up the remnants of their failed hopes and dreams of glory to put together a respectable offering in search of a position on the tournament podium. Although our judges crown but one champion, it seemed only fair to award this consolation prize. Therefore, without further ado, and with zero fanfare, the judges proclaim Wrigley Field Bar & Grill as our consolation (3rd place) victor over Acme. After a fine showing against Buffalo Wings & Ribs in the Semifinals, Acme had little left for its consolation match. Though Acme produces a finely smoked wing (which is an acquired taste itself), the judges agree that their sauces leave much to be desired. Wrigley’s “World Famous” wings come well prepared from the fryer into the sauce and onto the grill. And thus, Wrigley won’t be wearing the Cluck or Chuck crown, it will have to settle with a victory in the undercard: the State Street brawl. Now for the main event: the Finals of the Wing Cup 2014. From the outset we knew that Checkerz was in it to win when our waitress, April, declared the $2 longneck special. Judge daddy swooned – the man loves his domestic water-beer. Our first wing order came by April’s recommendation without hesitation. Checkerz was going into this battle with their big dog – the much ballyhooed Sweet Heat. A flavorful combination of buffalo and teriyaki that results in little heat and little sweet, but a heck of a lot of awesome. True to form, these came grilled. After much deliberation we also ordered their Chipotle BBQ...

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Wing Cup 2014: Cluck or Chuck Final 4 Results
Jul29

Wing Cup 2014: Cluck or Chuck Final 4 Results

On behalf of all of the esteemed Wing Cup 2014 judges happy National Wing Day to everyone. It is no coincidence that we chose this day to announce our Wing Cup 2014 Championship match-up. When your life’s (month’s) work has been to eat and compare wings there is no bigger day than today. This competition has left a wake of semi-destruction, physical and mental – marriages have been tested, friendships questioned, man-cards revoked. Is it worth it, you might ask? No doubt in our minds. This contest is not over. Alas, it’s truly just beginning. How is that, you might ask? What’s with all the questions? Well, the results of the Wing Cup will be hotly debated near watercoolers, in internet chat rooms (where Cletus Nightrain lurks creepily), in front of and behind bars, and on the local playing fields. Twice I have been verbally assaulted for Tower’s early exit, I’m likely no longer welcome at Dicky’s, and Kaysan’s now makes me sit in a dark corner and only serves me boneless wings nuggets. So much for using a pseudonym. I can only imagine my fellow judges have felt the same backlash. Before we post the results, a behind-the-scenes “hero” needs to be recognized. She has been dutifully ghost-editing these posts for the website, and with multiple judges who write and spell at a 3rd grade level (no offense 3rd grade readers), this is not an easy task. Her name is Mother Clucker. She is a prim and proper grammatical aficionado who never leaves the house without her red pen.  She has great pride in her fellow wing tasting professionals and looks after them adoringly. But don’t let her delicate nurturing ways lead you astray.  She’ll tear into a steaming hot basket of Cluck or Chuck’s champion wings with wild abandon…and anyone who tries to stop her will suffer more than just the slash of her red pen. Thank you to all the volunteer staff at LivingFortWayne.com for providing a virtual venue to host this tournament.   Acme v Buffalo Wings & Ribs Majority opinion summarized by Cluck Norris Since founding my Wing Combat League (WCL) in 2005 I have seen many abusive interactions from talented contenders.  While this match up was no Norris vs. Brasky bout, these two Fort Wayne Wing Heavy Weights did not disappoint, and the outcome of this match up may very well be argued for generations to come. Due to the seriousness of this round, eight judges gathered to determine which of these establishments was worthy to fight head-to-head in the Wing Cup Cluck or Chuck Championship Match.  On one side of the line,...

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Wing Cup 2014: Cluck or Chuck Final 4
Jul23

Wing Cup 2014: Cluck or Chuck Final 4

Well wing fans, this is where we separate the Clucks from the Chucks. It’s down to four. Sure, a couple of our quarter-finalists may have snuck in due to some favorable match-ups or poor performances by their opposition. But there’s no more time for excuses. There is no room in the Wing Cup final four for flukes, flakes, or the flavorless. Any of the four winners of these match-ups are worthy champions – they are the best of the best in the Fort. Let’s see who will continue on and who flew the coop.   Wrigley vs. Pint & Slice As told by Wolfgang Cluck I hate the Cubs. It really all stems from an incident that happened when an inebriated Harry Caray stumbled across me (literally) as a young boy after a game in the friendly confines. OK – I had to get that off my chest. This matchup provides an interesting contrast. On the one hand you have 816 Pint & Slice: a downtown eatery that knows exactly what it is – so much so that it tells you right in its name. Its setup is made to appeal to both the hipster and the downtown employee. They also happen to do wings. On the other hand you have Wrigley Field Bar & Grill: a no frills, blue collar sports bar. They also happen to have a daily salad bar and lunch specials that seem to attract contemporaries of Harry Caray – without the stumbling. The Pint has unceremoniously made it through to the Quarterfinals with their workingman approach to wings. Aiming to please their downtown clientele, these piemen and women clearly take advantage of the fiery oven to provide a consistently baked wing – generously breaded and served with barbecue or hot sauce – to their tasty pizza and grinder repertoire. The wings are a decent option to quench the craving; however, proceed with caution if you want these wings to come crispy with your carry out order. If Wrigley is confused as to its clientele, it most certainly isn’t confused on how to prepare its self-proclaimed “World Famous Wings.” While some joints will comply with a request to do so, the grill comes standard here where every wing is fried, grilled and then sauced. We’ve been told that regulars also know to request that the sauced wings be placed on the impinger (conveyor oven) to finish with a hot, sticky coating. We tried the original wing (a medium buffalo) and teriyaki (a more salty/savory than sweet version than many others), which came with positive reviews. VERDICT: While the benefits of Wrigley’s grill were lost on this carry-out order, the effects on...

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Wing Cup 2014: Chuck or Cluck Round 2 Results (Part 2 of 2)
Jul12

Wing Cup 2014: Chuck or Cluck Round 2 Results (Part 2 of 2)

Here are the remaining much-anticipated Round 2 results from the bottom half of the bracket. Our Quarterfinal matchups are now set and judging is underway. To reiterate some procedural issues, the Host Committee made the executive decision to allow tastings to be done through carry-out orders. With 32 restaurants and 5 rounds of competition, this was bound to happen. Every attempt was made to not provide any advantage to one establishment in any one particular matchup. But let’s face it, the Cluck or Chuck Champion will emerge whether served on fine china or Styrofoam box. Buffalo Wings & Ribs vs. Flanagan’s As told by Patrick eWing This match-up appeared to be one-sided on paper. Buffalo Wings & Ribs (BW&R) comes in as a local favorite, and wings are what they do. Sure, they put “Ribs” in their name, and a local newspaper reviewer wrote glowingly about their other made-from-scratch menu items, but let’s face it, if you’re headed there it’s most likely for some Buffalo wings. Conversely, Flanagan’s is more of a neighborhood gem with their fair share of regulars, but their menu is vast and they don’t live and die by the wing. However, this match-up was much closer than expected. There’s not much more to be said about BW&R that most people don’t know – they have a multitude of flavors, but they do Buffalo right. After some prodding, the server wisely recommended a Medium Buffalo wing that would appeal to both iron and velvet lips alike. This is the quintessential fried Buffalo wing. The sauce offers plenty of flavor and adequate heat, it’s not overly saturated or thirsting for sauce, and each initial bite provides a slight crunch into a satisfyingly and equally meaty drummy or split. You can choose to add garlic to your Buffalo sauce of choice, and again, they balance it just right. They also offer some decent non-Buffalo styles, both the Teriyaki and Shanghai Red are tasty and worth your time if you’re not in the mood for strictly Buffalo. Meanwhile, Flanagan’s recommended their Spicy Chipotle Barbecue and the judges selected Medium. These wings were downright tasty. Well-sauced, but again, not dripping, and very flavorful. Both packed some decent heat without inducing a fever. There also appeared to be garlic in the Medium, which was a nice touch in my opinion, but may not be appreciated by everyone. There wasn’t much of a difference in the size or preparation of the wing compared to BW&R. VERDICT:  What it came down to was Flanagan’s attempting to beat near-perfection, and it’s very possible that reputation helped push BW&R ahead, but they definitely earned it – anything less than...

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Wing Cup 2014: Chuck or Cluck 2nd Round Results (Part 1)
Jul09

Wing Cup 2014: Chuck or Cluck 2nd Round Results (Part 1)

A competition like the Wing Cup is bound to create legendary battles from which stories will be told for many generations. Such is the case with our second round matchups. Our reviews for the top half of the bracket are told by judges below. On a procedural note, the Host Committee made the executive decision to allow tastings to be done through carry-out orders. With 32 restaurants and 5 rounds of competition these this was bound to happen. Every attempt was made to not provide any advantage to one establishment in any one particular matchup. But let’s face it, the Cluck or Chuck Champion will emerge whether served on fine china or Styrofoam box. Mad Anthony vs. Wrigley As told by Cluck Norris A solid review for Mad Anthony and a tepid review for Wrigley in Round One could have pre-swayed the men tasked with assessing this matchup, but the judges that I took on as my sidekicks for this round, Fowl Tip, The Cluckback Kid, Clucker, Patrick eWing, and John Choosack put on their Cluck Norris Action Jeans and gave a forceful roundhouse to expectations. Mad Anthony may have been willing to split sauces on carryout, but the judge tasked with the pick-up opted for a side of Scooby Snacks (seasoned potato wedges) instead, per the House’s recommendation – a decision appreciated by our wing jury, but perhaps damning to Mad Anthony’s fate. As for the seasoning, the House also recommended their Flaming sauce, which caused a few of the usual stalwart judges to pen letters back home until they received a healthy Cluck Norris pep talk. Ultimately, the flavoring was deemed “tastily complex” by one of the assessors and “flaming” by none.  Overall, this was a solid wing that was meaty and well cooked. Wrigley was also willing to split our order, which the judge tasked with the pick-up opted for a house recommended Hot Buffalo and self-selected Very Hot Buffalo. Undoubtedly empowered by their Action Jeans, the judges did not find these wings to be hot nor very hot. The sapidity was not deemed to be standout, but they were found to be favorable none-the-less. The wings were grilled with a good crisp, so in this case, the secret was not found to be within. VERDICT: Not a flashy performer, but the workingman’s approach earned Wrigley the thumbs up in this head to head by a three-to-two vote.   816 Pint & Slice vs. Calhoun Street Soup Salad and Sprits (CS3) As told by Clucker My wingmen and I took our orders to go in this war of the wings, asking the servers to provide us with their most popular sauce. CS3 delivered a spicy...

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