On November 12, the Hungry Native team visited Sharky’s Cantina in Edgartown to partake in the third annual Wingfest Martha’s Vineyard. The competition benefits the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club and raised over $8,000 this year. While the wings (both boneless and traditional) are provided by Sharky’s, presumably to level the playing field, the competitors are responsible for the sauce.
Upon paying the $25 admission, we were given a wristband which entitled us to all the wings we could eat, and a Coors Light towel to wipe our soon to be sauce covered hands on. This year’s competitors; Edgartown Police Department, Vineyard Football Fans, Martha’s Vineyard Rod & Gun Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Martha’s Vineyard, Oak Bluffs EMS, Vineyard Vines, Edgartown National Bank, Tisbury School, Up Island Police and the two-year reigning champs, Edgartown Firemen.
The title of Hottest Wing wasn’t awarded this year, but the Rod & Gun club would have won hands down. Their sauce tasted of Habanero and rumors of secret spices from Africa were overheard. They were good, but it took about 20 minutes for our palates to recover after eating them.
The Up Island Police were serving their wings from a booth made to look like an old paddy wagon. They took a different approach from most, with a yellow/orange colored sauce that was fruity with maybe a touch of mustard. With a smell reminiscent of tequila and lime, the Edgartown Police wings had just a tiny bit of heat to go with the sweet flavor.
At the Vineyard Vines booth, the wings were coated in a sweet chili sauce, very similar in taste to a Mae Ploy.sauce. With perhaps the most traditional BBQ flavor, the Vineyard Football Fans’ wings had a very smoky aroma. They tasted of sweet hickory barbecue sauce with a touch of bright lemon.
In addition to the grown men in tiger costumes, the Tisbury School booth featured sweet and smoky Asian style wings with a hint of ginger. Continuing with the Asian theme, the Big Brothers & Sisters offered up wings that smelled like Chinatown, we thought we detected some Chinese five-spice powder in their sauce.
Edgartown National Bank’s pineapple and habanero wings were surprisingly complex, starting out fruity, but finishing with some serious heat. Serving their wings with the help of a practice dummy sporting an IV drip filled with sauce, the Oak Bluffs EMS team was well deserving of their win for best booth. The ranch sauce squeezed from a giant syringe sealed the deal. They called them “Cardio Clogger” wings and while they were hot up front, it quickly died down into a nice sweetness.
Winning for the third year in a row, and claiming “dynasty” status, the Edgartown Firemen’s wings were very well balanced, with a sauce that tasted of fresh herbs and just the right amount of spice.
Spike, Rob and Ben of the band Dunemoor played a high-energy set of songs perfect for an afternoon of beers and wings.
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