Every year, the preeminent chicken wing event is the St. Louis, MO metro area is, of course, the UCP Heartland Wing Ding. The 2016 event was held last night, and I was lucky enough to be one of the celebrity judges for the contest.
16 different St. Louis area restaurants not only sold their wings to the general public who paid to get into the foodie event, but also entered in one or more wings for consideration in the contest. The judging was split up into three categories: Best Traditional Style (with the flavor profile being based in the classic cayenne pepper sauce and melted butter, and can be grilled, smoked, fried and/or breaded), Best Specialty Style (anything goes!), and Best Dry Rub Style (non-sauced but with a seasoning covering the outside, and can be grilled, smoked, fried and/or breaded). There was a mind-numbing 38 individual entries across all three categories; although judges didn’t need to consume 38 entire wings, we were required to take a bite of each one.
Judging was subjective to the preferences of each judge, and included such criteria as appearance, texture, flavor, and juiciness.
Below is the full list winners for the 2016 Wing Ding:
1st – Southern – Nashville Hot Chicken Wing
2nd – St. Louis Wing Company – Miso Happy – Miso glazed, striped with Wasabi and Sriracha aioli and sweet soy, topped with toasted sesame seeds.
3rd – Three Kings Public House – Thai Sauced Wing
Judges Overall Favorite
The Kitchen Sink’s Traditional Wing
And here are my personal picks for top wings in each category based on the score I gave them:
SCOTT’S OVERALL FAVORITE
The Kitchen Sink
Since I’ve never even heard of The Kitchen Sink (much less been to it), it looks like a visit there is now in order!
Congratulations to all the winners!