Father’s Day not only means giving dad a new tool set, but it marks something bigger — something closer to the heart — the Hudak Annual Wing Cook-Off. Celebrating its 4th consecutive year, the cook-off featured more participants than ever and a more diverse realm of flavors. And since we were asked to present our wing recipe/s, critiquing each team’s presentation would be assumed downright partial. Instead, we are introducing what each team prepared, sharing our notes, and hope that you’ll find it inspiring for your next family grill time.
Team 1: Cork & Edie
Cork and Edie make up the veteran team in the group. They are the brain behind the celebrated yearly event. Without them, this family affair wouldn’t be a success. This year, they decided to go with a recipe that’s been in the family for generations — Grandpa Hudak’s Wing Recipe.
Sweet barbecue and almost honey aftertaste with hints of smokiness. Although it looks a little burnt, those charred crumbs of skin are pieces of heaven —- really goes well with balancing the sweetness. Also, we need to mention that Grandma Hudak recognized the familiar taste and was happy with the final result. Needless to say, this recipe was a definite home run.
Team 2: Nate & Sarah
The musician and the designer team up for an Asian twist on deep fried bbq wings. Unlike everyone else in our little soiree, they decided to deep fry the wings to get that crispy texture rather than grilling it. Considered as the rookies at the event, they proved that it’s no unfamiliar territory.
Ginger was definitely evident with the smell and taste. In their bbq sauce they used molasses to incorporate some sweetness and chopped jalapeno peppers to integrate a little heat into the mix. There was a nice balance of sauce and crispiness as you bit into each wing and a hint of spiciness to close it off. For their first attempt, they managed to intrigue palates around the table with high remarks.
Team 3: Adam
Another wing cook-off veteran, Adam has stuck with the same recipe since day one. With some added tweaking to the original recipe, the touch of surprise each year has always been a noted favorite among attendees.
Spicy, buttery, garlicky — these three words combined and added to anything should be a felony on its own. How can you resist? Each wing was well-covered by the savory, delicious Buffalo sauce that coated every corner of your mouth at every bite. The spiciness was more controlled this year compared to the past recipes. Catering to your target audience has always been a smart move and it showed as Adam was complimented with positive feedback.
Team 4: Steph
Every year, Steph has always come up with wing recipes that represent her style — random and daring. Utilizing southeast Asian flavors as the backbone of her recipes, she aims for southern style grilling topped with a little extra flare.
Marinated and baked in a ginger-soy-pineapple concoction, then grilled and balanced with a pineapple chunk bbq glaze, each juicy delectable bite reminded you that summertime is finally here. The tidbits of pineapple concentrated in each glaze coating finished the experience with hints of freshness and an appetite for more. Welcomed with absolute approval from across the board, she adds another successful wing cook-off under her belt (ninja belt, that is).
This year’s wing cook-off was paired with 21st Amendment‘s Hell or High Watermelon Wheat, a summer seasonal brew available from April through September. In it’s particular style, we thought that 21st Amendment did a great job in sticking with what it’s supposed to taste like — watermelon. Not overpowering, but more importantly slightly sweet and fresh. We’ll take this any given day compared to Opa‘s.
So if you haven’t yet and would like to try something new, head out and hunt for the Watermelon Wheat. In the southern WV/southwestern VA area, you can easily grab a six pack at the Vintage Cellar in Blacksburg, VA. Their website isn’t quite organized and user-friendly, but their vast selection of beer and wine from all over the world would make you wish you were best friends.