Autumn weekends are synonymous with football, which means that you probably spend much of them glued to the TV while, yes, eating copious amounts of chicken wings. That combination has unofficially become the new “baseball and apple pie.” In fact, it’s estimated that 1.25 billion chicken wings were eaten during the most recent Super Bowl.
The thing about wings (besides being messy) is that there are seemingly hundreds of different ways to order them. Some people like them mild or sweet. Some like them spicy. And these days, some like them beyond spicy, pushing the extremes of the Scoville scale. Go hot or go home, right?
In honor of the union between football and wings, Tailgate Fan brings you all things wings.
The Wing King
All hail Drew Cerza, who is known in Buffalo, the birthplace of the buffalo wing, as the “Wing King.” Cerza is the founder of the Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, N.Y. And to distinguish himself from those less regal than he, Cerza wears a giant foam chicken wing crown. He is also responsible for creating the Chicken Wing Hall of Fame and the “official” rules for making the “Perfect Chicken Wing.” Cerza has made a career out of his love for wings, and for that we’re more than happy to call him the Wing King.
Joey Chestnut at Wing Bowl (Photo Credit: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
The record for most wings eaten is unofficially held by the great Takeru Kobayashi, who ate an astounding 337 wings in 30 minutes at Wing Bowl XX. After the competition Kobi said he could have easily eaten 100 more. Now, the short-form record, as recognized by the IFOCE, belongs to Kobi’s biggest competitor, Joey Chestnut, who ate 191 wings in 12 minutes at this year’s Buffalo Wing Festival.
Of course considering that Kobayashi’s eating isn’t recognized by the IFOCE, they refer to Chestnut as the wing king. Again, it really all depends on who you ask.
This is a silly record to claim since, well, unless you manufacture a wing, you can’t really claim your particular wing is any bigger than your competitors’. Still, some claim to have “the biggest wings on earth.”. In this case, bigger doesn’t always mean better. What it probably means is the wings are loaded with some sort of steroid. So stick with the natural wings; don’t buy into the “big.”
Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco/Getty Images
The hottest wing on record belongs to those who have braved a wing sauce using the Naga “Bhut” Jolokia chili, also known as the “ghost chili.” Many folks have been brave enough to eat it, but few eateries are willing to serve it up.
In fact, just this year there was a wing-eating competition in London that used the ghost chili sauce, causing at least one person to be hospitalized. After the eater downed two wings, he was unable to gasp for air and collapsed. Yes, they are that hot.
Everyone — and I mean everyone — claims to have the “world’s best wings.” Really, with the thousands of different sauce and flavor combinations, there’s no true way to judge which wing is the best. And that’s why we’re seeing awards split into multiple categories. For example, this year at the Buffalo Wing Festival, awards were given in seven different categories, including to those who were most creative (mango habanero sauce) and those who took the spice to the next level (the Scary Larry). Again, it’s a matter of personal preference. But if you’re looking for a more traditional flavor, Smokey Bones in Orlando, Florida, took home the 2012 title for “Best Traditional (Medium) Flavor.”
See other amazing Feats of Eating.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going.
Tom Lorenzo is a freelance sports, entertainment and pop culture writer from New York City. You can follow him on Twitter @TomLorenzo.