BBQ Chicken Wing cook off 6/30/12
BBQ Chicken Wing Cook Off 6/30/12
It was that time of year again…time to see who can smoke the best chicken wings at our second annual backyard wing competition.
Let me first start off and tell you, last year I was a judge and this year I was a contestant. What a difference that makes, for sure. With the high of 109* Saturday with a heat index of 118*, we were in for a looooong day.
After setting up a miniature tent city, setting up massive fans, running misters, getting all the smokers, grills, fryers and margarita makers plugged in and ready…we were off!
Coolers were full of water, coconut water, sports drinks and plenty of “cold ones.” Over 250 wings were made by six pit-masters. There was amazing fresh fruit and vegetables and some very creative salads. With a guest list north of fifty plus people; there was a veritable cornucopia of fresh amazing food for every discerning palate.
Every flavor component was executed to the max, and all were very well done. As a matter of fact, only seven judging points were the difference between first and fourth place!
Turn in time was set for six pm at the pinnacle of the heat from the record setting temperatures. With the pool lined with hungry guests, the pit-masters were scrambling to submit their entries to wow the judges. This pit-master had to take a pool break less than hour before turn in to fight the heat. What a relief! In retrospect, it may have been the saving Grace.
Competing in this swelter, nothing took the edge off like actually finishing and submitting the final batch of wings. The anxiety was washed away…well, most of it anyway, because the judging was underway.
The flavors were creative and amazing, covering the gamut. Classic buffalo, mango-citrus, honey kickin’, chipotle, teriyaki-ginger, sweet-hot orange, etc…The smoke ranged from classic wood, pellets, pucks, dust and even fresh soaked herbs. The smell in the air was amazing!
The battle field was covered with unique and homespun recipes with each pit-master concealing their secret ingredients. After submission, the pits opened for a free-for-all tasting. This is when judges were “sequestered” and fellow pit-masters gave taste tests to guests as well as sharing with each other. This was the most fun part of the evening. Getting real, honest feedback and sharing all the different wings gave a warming sense of camaraderie. (Think of rival boxers sharing a well earned beer with one another after a 12 round heavyweight fight.)
In the end, I squeaked out a one point victory in overall, with a three way tie for first in appearance. Since this was my first competition, I’ll take it anyway it comes. Using a recipe that I have practiced for some time, this has become a classic at our get-togethers. It is a sweet-hot teriyaki-ginger and I will be posting this WINNING recipe coming soon to you!
The following criteria were used to judge all wings:
- Smoke (1 ~ 5 points)
- Appearance (1 ~ 5 points)
- Texture /Tenderness (1 ~ 5 points)
- Flavor (1 ~ 5 points)