Chicken Wing-Eating Competitions Across America

Do you have a big appetite? Do you approach the all-you-can-eat buffet at the local strip mall like an offensive lineman in the offseason? If you’re ready to put your money where, um, your mouth is, maybe it’s time to enter one of the many eating competitions happening the world over most weekends of the year.

The type of food matters… a lot. So it makes sense to go with a competition based on a food that you might normally consume in large quantities. Most people don’t eat 10 hot dogs in a sitting, but eating 10 chicken wings seems much more natural. So consider one of these wing eating competitions for 2015.

Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap

Chicago, Illinois

Sure, you can eat a pile of wings tossed in a mild seasoning or drenched in sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, but what’s the challenge in that? At Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap in Chicago, those who want a bit of flame with their wings can try the restaurant’s infamous XXX Hot Wings. The sauce is made with the Trinidad Scorpion Pepper, ensuring these wings will bring the heat. If you clean your plate, your picture will be posted on the Wall of Flame.

SmokeEaters Hot Wings

San Jose, Cupertino and Santa Clara, California

When it comes to eating challenges, the Hellfire Challenge at SmokeEaters Hot Wings isn’t one to take lightly. Challengers have to eat 12 wings, covered in the restaurant’s Hellfire sauce, in 10 minutes. Here are the kickers: you can’t use any napkins or drinks, and you have to wait five minutes after eating for the afterburn. Feel up to the challenge? Then step up to the table.

Read more about competitive eating.

Wing & Rock Fest

Woodstock, Georgia
May 30-31, 2015

Just outside of Atlanta, the Wing & Rock Fest is one of the biggest chicken wing festivals. And it has a wing-eating contest to match. Competitors eat as many wings as they can in two minutes. The top three finishers walk (crawl?) away with awards, t-shirts, gift certificates and bragging rights. The wing-eating contest is free — aside from however you pay for it afterwards — and takes place on both days of the festival.

Big Kahuna Wing Festival

Knoxville, Tennessee
June 13, 2015

Ease into summer with the wing-eating contest held at the Big Kahuna Wing Festival. The contest consists of multiple heats, in which challengers eat as much of each chicken wing as possible. You must be willing to get your hands and fingers dirty, as utensils aren’t allowed. The larger festival is a celebration of all things wings; a wing-cooking competition is also part of the festivities.

National Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival

Buffalo, New York
September 5-6, 2015

Buffalo, New York is the birthplace of the buffalo wing. So when it comes to chicken wing-eating contests, it only makes sense to take on a challenge held there. The National Buffalo Chicken Wing Contest, held September 5 and 6, includes an eating contest sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating. Eating contests for amateurs and college students are also planned; after all, competitive eaters need to start somewhere. You can heat up your weekend, too, with the Nuclear Hot Wing Eating Contest, where participants eat as many spicy wings as possible.

Think you’re ready to enter a food challenge? Slow down a bit there, partner. Take a look at the challenge’s rules and regulations in advance to know what you’re getting into.

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at


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