What has 3400 legs and eats 30,000 chicken wings? The crowd at the Southern Wing Showdown, produced by our good friends at Taste of Atlanta.
We are at The Fairmont, an event facility in the middle of an impressive kudzu patch on the Westside. Evidently, so is a sold-out crowd of 1700 fellow wing-eaters.
Right away, you know this festival means business. There are ten deep fryers as well as twelve Big Green Eggs in the parking lot.
It’s hot out, and the chefs (fifteen from Atlanta and fifteen from the southeast) are working hard to win.
With over 19,000 square feet, the Fairmont is a huge facility, and even thought the crowd is large, we never feel crowded.
And with thirty different wings to taste, we never have to wait more than thirty seconds in line for food. Not surprisingly, the longest lines are at the bar.
Springer Mountain Farms supplies all the wings for the day.
There’s a lot of wingless chickens running around north Georgia. The wings have no preservatives and are all-natural, so they must be good for us.
Our goal is to taste every single one of them. Early on, we realize that we must share each offering. Otherwise, they are going to have to wheel us out of here. Spoiler alert: we do not reach our goal. Everyone here gets to vote for their favorite wing. Read on as we find out who wins the Southern Wing Showdown.
It’s a little overwhelming when you walk in. Where to start? How about with the first wings we see. We start chomping towards our goal with Vietnamese smoked wings from the Read House in Chattanooga.
Instead of our insightful commentary on each wing we eat, let’s let the captions tell the story for awhile. Ready for some serious wing photos?
There are some other diversions like the George Dickel lemonade stand and the Dixie Vodka booth. Although we do not try those, we took a risk(y) and tried the Chattanooga Whiskey.
Those ice cubes felt good after a lot of spicy wings.
The watermelon sorbet from High Road Ice Cream is the perfect way to finish off all of the different flavors we try today.
It is palate soothing and cleansing. We come close to our goal, hitting 21 out of the 30 booths. We are done for the day.
Or are we? Before we go, here’s the winner of the showdown, the Sichuan spiced wings with gochujang honey mustard sauce from Canoe.
Not to brag, but these also got my vote as the best wing. Look how plump they got them. They smoked them and they fried them. The sauce was just enough to get the flavor without burning out your taste buds. Canoe beats last year’s winner The Feed Company by a feather (get it?) to take home the top prize.
Disclosure time: Date Night did not pay for our entry to the Southeastern Wing Showdown. Thanks to Skye Estroff and the entire Taste of Atlanta crew for putting on such an excellent event. Don’t miss the next one!