Juicy, Slightly Spicy, Perfect Skin. There’s a New King of Wings in Billings
Football season is basically upon us, and one of the most popular food items on gameday is chicken wings. In Billings, we’ve got plenty of options for great wings. Most pizza places serve them and they’re on the appetizer menu at many restaurants around town. Any bar that has “sports” in its branding will surely have at least one flavor of wings, and possibly an entire page of flavor options.
A selection of Billings’ best wingeries (I made that up) brought their wing game to the Billings Depot parking lot on Sunday for the inaugural Wicked Wing Fling. Bragging rights and trophies were on the line for People’s Choice Best Wings and Judge's Choice Best Wings.
A mix of food trucks and restaurants entered the competition.
An unseasonably cool day was unfolding, with a light drizzle of rain. I was glad I chose to grab a hoodie as I headed to the judge's table. Myself, along with eleven others were tasked with ranking each wing on a scale of 1 – 5. We were loosely following the EAT method of food competition judging (Execution, Appearance, Taste). Wings were brought to our table in unmarked containers, to eliminate any bias. This was a blind taste test.
More napkins, please!
Wings are generally pretty messy, and the first wing we tried had us reaching for more napkins and paper towels right off the bat. One after another, we munched our way through drummies and flats. Most were traditional style, tossed in sauces. Some were breaded and one was served “dry”. I’m a fan of dry style and the sample we tasted was delicious.
Scores were tabulated and a winner was announced.
While the official scores were being calculated, judges had an opportunity to wander the concourse and chat with the chefs. Everyone seemed to be having a great time, despite the rain, and a decent-sized crowd was enjoying the wings, drinks, and live music from the Brick House Band.
Judge's Winner – Copper Onion Bistro
Chef Kenny Rakstad has been on a roll lately. The Copper Onion Bistro recently won Billings Best Burger. Now, they’ll need to find space on their wall for another trophy as Copper Onion narrowly edged out the other top contenders to nab the 1st place victory. Their wing entry was cooked perfectly, with crisp skin, juicy meat, and a delightful, smokey, semi-spicy, raspberry glaze.
Dax’s Wingz N Thingz, The Local, and 406 Wingz food truck also had very strong scores. 406 Wingz mango habanero entry was fantastic, especially if you like your wings with some heat.
People’s Choice Winner – Dax's Wingz N Thingz.
Attendees were encouraged to vote for their favorites, and Dax’s won the People's Choice award with their delectable wing entry. They’re great people too; while participating in the Wicked Wing Fling, they were also delivering pizza to Scheels to feed 40 hungry Shop With a Cop kids.
Interestingly, two of the most popular places for wings in Billings (you can probably guess who they are) opted not to participate in the competition. Perhaps they’re short-staffed and couldn't send a couple of employees to the competition. Or maybe... They were scared they wouldn’t win? We jest. Kind of.
Who is your go-to place for wings in Billings? Reach out on the Message Us button on the Mobile App or drop a comment on Facebook.