When I first became a fat college student, one of my favorite foods to scarf my stress away with was chicken wings. My favorite place to go every Sunday to eat and drink while watching NFL games with my friends was a spot called Hoosier Wings. But not too long after we became regulars, the restaurant came under legal issues for getting caught repeatedly serving alcohol to minors, and was shut down. Wings Etc., being arguably the most popular wing chain in my local area, naturally became our next choice. After elevating the back-up to the starting position, I grew fond of Wings Etc., and have many great memories with many different people that bring me back to the tastes of cold beer and messy wing sauces in their varied locations.
But I must not get too sentimental, for I am here to be a critical consumer reviewer and will do my best to not let my personal feelings get in the way of my wing grades. But for anyone who knows how much of a brutally honest asshole I can be to even the things and people I love most, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Upon my recent trip to Wings Etc., I choose to review their Jerkin’ Barbie, Me-So-Spicy, and the infamous Wall sauces. Without further adieu, let us begin.
WING REVIEW (all scores out of 10):
Wings Etc. markets their wings as “jumbo” sized, and while they aren’t tiny, I have eaten much bigger at other local eateries. That being said, they definitely aren’t a rip-off and are a perfect size for someone who would casually eat 10 or more wings per sitting.
The wings are deep fried just the right amount and the skin, while thin, is usually at a preferred level of crispness. However, one problem that Wings Etc. seems to have is uneven and/or illogical sauce distribution. While during this last particular trip they put surprisingly the right amount of sauce on each different set of wings, most the time I have gone to any of their locations they completely over-slather and drench the wings in sauce, leaving a huge messy puddle at the bottom of your basket. If you don’t eat the wings very quickly, the ones sitting in the puddle often get soggy and are overpowered by too much flavor.
FLAVOR REVIEW (per sauce):
Jerkin’ Barbie: 10
Ever since my first taste of it, Jerkin’ Barbie has always been my clear favorite for wings sauces at Wings Etc. This sweet Caribbean BBQ blend tastes like chicken wing candy, but not in an overpoweringly sugary way. It is also one of their more mild sauces, so even those who tend to shy away from spicy foods can enjoy it.
I don’t usually get this flavor very often, but I never seem to have a problem with it when I do. A “sweet hot Asian” glaze that reminds you of the red hot pepper flakes in your orange chicken, it has a little bit more kick than most of their sauces but is balanced out nicely by the Asian flavoring.
Wall Wings: 8
If you’re wondering why they are called the “wall” wings, it’s because completing the “Wall of Flame Challenge” of 16 of these wings with no drinks, wet wipes, or bathroom breaks gets your photo taken and placed on the wall of the restaurant for all to admire. (I have personally defeated this challenge, but that is a story for another time). If you couldn’t guess by the challenge, they are also the hottest wings that Wings Etc. has to offer. Made with habanero, they attempt to make victims out of the taste buds of customers, but in all honesty for someone who goes into eating them expecting them to be unbearable, they really aren’t THAT hot… As far as the hot sauce itself, it actually tastes very good for something that is meant to make you uncomfortable. You will probably sweat a little bit and want a beer close by, but if you like spicy foods I would suggest trying it out to see how you fare.
OVERALL WING SCORE: 8.2
Wings Etc. could definitely use some work on not overdoing it with the baskets full of oily sauce, but as far as the flavors go they have some of the best variety and taste that a single wing place can offer (18 different sauces to be exact). They are also very moderately priced for a private restaurant chain, and the sports bar atmosphere is everything you’d expect from a wings and beer joint. If you are ever in the northern Indiana or southern Michigan area, I would recommend making at least one lunch break at a Wings Etc. location.