Winging it at a featured event during the 24th Annual Sea Witch Festival at Rehoboth Beach, local restaurants and food purveyors challenged internationally recognized food personalities and award-winning chefs, to take top honors in the 2013 Delaware State Chicken Wing Championship held Oct. 26.
“Wings are not just about Buffalo anymore,” said Peppers owner Chip Hearn - an adage proven true when Bethany Blues in Lewes became the Delaware State Chicken Wing Champion by achieving the overall highest cumulative score in the championship, and Port Dewey won first place in the Best Wings competition with Chef Inton Mouynivong’s Sweet Chili Chicken Wings with Mango, Pineapple and Red Bell Pepper.
Sponsored by Mountaire Farms, Peppers.com and The Ice Cream Store, the championship called upon the services of 14 judges, including television and radio personalities, representatives from the press, and food critics and bloggers, to declare a winner in each in three different categories: Best Wings, Most Unusual Wings, and Best Presentation - and to declare an overall state champion.
Locals prevail in Best Wings competition
Local entrants made a clean sweep of the Best Wings competition, claiming victory in each of the top five placements in the Best Wings competition.
Port’s Sweet Chili Chicken Wings with Mango, Pineapple and Red Bell Pepper also included sriracha, mae ploy sweet chili, and cayenne pepper. Second place was awarded to the Improv Wings of Chef Jared Martin, cooking on behalf of Peppers using BBQ sauce, mustard, butter, hot sauce, Cayenne pepper and garlic.
Kick N’ Chicken took third place with its Tazmanian Wings; relative newcomer Rehoboth Ale House garnered a fourth place victory with Chef Jodi Sowersby’s Garlic Butter Parmesan Wings; and Rehoboth Seafood Market took fifth place with Chef Brock Hutchison’s Tequila Chipotle Lime wings.
National stars gain ground in Most Unusual competition
The national stars evened up the race in the Most Unusual Wings competition, which was handily won by New Jersey-based Heartbreaking Dawns’ Chef Johnny McLaughlin’s Mayan Chocolate Sauce Wings served with homemade blue cheese ice cream - a bizarre sounding combination that the judges devoured.
But locals kept pace, with Bethany Blues garnering a second place win with its Whiskey Apple Cider Fall Spice BBQ Wings, and Rehoboth Ale House placing third with its Momma T’s Pesto Pollo Wings.
High River Sauces Chef Steve Seabury’s Japanese-infused Mothra Wings took fourth place and the Lloyd family’s Obis One Smoked Black Garlic Wings placed fifth.
Looking as good as it tastes
Local entrants took control once again in the Best Presentation competition, with Bethany Blues winning first place honors and Peppers coming in second. Heartbreaking Dawns slipped into a third, followed by The Starboard in fourth and Port in fifth.
After judging was complete, scores for all entrants in all categories were tallied to identify the entrant with the overall highest cumulative score in the competition - the entrant who would be named The Delaware State Wing Champion. That honor went to Bethany Blues. Second through fifth placements for overall highest scores were Peppers, Heartbreaking Dawns, Port and Rehoboth Seafood Market.
“The Wing Championship was so successful, with so many local wins and so much recognition for our local businesses, that we can’t wait to do it again next year,” said Hearn.
More information about the Delaware State Chicken Wing Championship, photographs of all winning entries, and recipes can be found at www.peppers.com.