500 isn’t an unfamiliar number to me. For my high school baseball team, I batted .500 as a junior and .522 as a senior, earning myself the nickname Mr. 500. Nine years later, on March 26, 2011, I found myself dancing with the number 500 again… only this time I’d traded in my baseball bat for a drumstick. It was time for me, The Ultimate Wingman, to eat wing #500.
In previous posts on this blog and my Facebook page, I’ve mentioned my Buffalo native / chicken wing aficionado friend, Pete Connolly. It was his girlfriend, Emily McCombs, who introduced the world to my Meaty New Year’s Resolution. Therefore, it was only fitting for them to witness the devouring of wing #500. Pete proposed we “wing” in this special achievement over a “Wing Ding” at his Hillside Mansion in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. It was a brilliant idea. I immediately accepted.
We decided to live stream the consumption of wing #500 on the Internet. To get the party started, Pete, who is also a Tae Kwon Do Blue Stripe, offered to break a few boards. His twenty pound cat, Jimbo, also agreed to make an appearance. Everybody loves a fat cat, right?
Finally, the day arrived. I woke up with my wing count at 470. Call time at Pete’s mansion was 4pm, but due to some NYC Transit commuting issues, I didn’t arrive until shortly after 5pm. This left me barely an hour and change to throw back enough wings to put myself in a position to consume #500 by 6:30pm – the time the live stream was scheduled to begin. When I rolled up to Pete’s humble abode, he was joined by his girlfriend Emily and his Tae Kwon Do friend, Tara, who came over to wing out and help Pete break some boards.
Aware that we were crunched for time, Pete put the deep fryer into over-drive.
Don’t let the picture scare you, folks. He’s harmless.
In the blink of an eye, the first batch of wings were served.
Sizable and sweating buffalo sauce, the wings looked wing-tastic. I wasted no time digging in. The meat was very tender and juicy, sliding off the bone on bite. The mixture of tenderness and juiciness reminded me of the wings from Bonnie’s in Park Slope, Brooklyn, that took second place at The Best Wings In Brooklyn Competition. The buffalo sauce had just the right amount of kick. Not only did the sauce satisfy my taste buds, but it assured me that my bowels were in good hands.
After putting a dent in the buffalo wings, Pete surprised us with two new sauces, BBQ and Honey BBQ.
BBQ appeared to be a little crispier than the buffalo wings we’d just ate and were sauced to perfection. Not too much, not too little. It took some effort to get the meat off the bone, but it was worth it. They tasted just like the BBQ wings at Croxley’s Ales in NYC’s East Village, only much meatier.
On to the Honey BBQ wings.
The thick golden sauce dominated the wing like the honey dominates the honey stick on the Honey Bunches of Oats cereal box. They weren’t as tender as the buffalo, but not as crispy as the BBQ. They were somewhere right smack in the middle. Their sweetness was sexy and won points with my taste buds.
It didn’t take us long to clean off the second plate. Before heading back to the deep fryer, Pete took requests. We all voted for more buffalo. Emily requested they be a little crispier.
To whet our appetites until round three was ready, Pete surprised us again with hand cut potatoes.
Shortly after, Emily’s request was fulfilled with a plate of crispy buffalo wings. These meaty bastards resembled the buffalo wings that I always rave about from Green Rock in Hoboken.
We fired up the live stream. Talk backs were live! Pete broke in the festivities by attempting to break a board with his head, but the board didn’t break, leaving a large welt on his big shiny dome – ouch! He shook it off and gave it another crack. His second attempt was a success. Tara, a Tae Kwon Do Purple Stripe, followed up Pete’s break with a 360 roundhouse kick that shattered the board on impact. Then, Jimbo, Pete’s 20 lb cat, who is a Garfield doppelganger if I’ve ever seen one, came out of hiding and did a cat walk across the living room. The live stream viewers were pumped, beating their keyboards with excitement, chanting FIVE – HUN – DRED, FIVE – HUN – DRED…
My time had come. This was the moment I’d been longing for since I started this journey on January 1, 2011. I grabbed a buffalo wing and devoured it. #499 DONE!
My next move was for a carrot stick, teasing the crowd as if it was #500. They were not happy with my joke, so I gave them what they wanted -#500.
Meaty, crispy, and in the presence of good people, it was everything I had dreamed of. I started to cry… not, but I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I was very emotional inside.
After soaking in the moment, I called it quits for the day. I’d eaten 30 wings and had no signs of digestive fail, so I decided to walk away a winner. If only I would have told myself that at the black jack table in Vegas three years ago…
Sorry, back to the story.
The party wasn’t over yet. Pete, the great host that he is, surprised us with dessert – hostess cupcakes and ice cream drumsticks! It wasn’t easy, but I managed to stuff them both in my belly. We were all in a serious food coma; nobody moved from the couch for the next hour. Think Fat Bastard times 4.
After finally managing to lift my bloated body from the couch, I helped Pete clean the deep fryer and he sent me home with a bag of wings. In total, he cooked 125 wings. Between the four of us, we ate 80. I had 30 of those. The “Wing Ding” was a great success.
I’ve tried wings from several establishments this year and Pete’s ranks right up there with the best. You’re probably saying that I’m talking him up because he’s my friend, but that’s not how the Ultimate Wingman rolls. I give credit where credit is due.
His first batch of buffalo wings reminded me of the award-winning wings from Bonnie’s in Park Slope. His second batch, the crispier version, were almost identical to those at Green Rock in Hoboken. The BBQ wings were a mirror image of those at Croxley’s Ales in NYC’s East Village, only meatier. Those comparisons will get you some serious Tums on this blog.
2011 Wing Count: 500
Sauce: Buffalo, BBQ, Honey BBQ
Rating: 4.526 Tums