Buffalo Wings & Rings – Spiciest Dish in Columbus Series
Wings and Rings and spicy things!
August is National Chicken Wing Month if you were unaware (we were unaware), so we ventured to Buffalo Wings and Rings to try out their limited time Ghost Pepper Ranch flavor. Wings and Rings is just north of 750 of 23 and is overall easy to get to, but is definitely not Buffalo Wild Wings. I kept calling them the wrong thing on accident, so make sure you know where you’re going before venturing out.
Pretzels and a butt-load of dippin’ cheese makes Ron a happy boy. While the pretzels may look a little burnt on the outside, they definitely were not. Nice fluffy inside and a great pair with the tub of warm cheese. Plenty leftover for dipping fries, onion rings, burgers, any of the foods really.
The cajun fries presented a nice lead-in to the different sauces we’d selected. Heavily seasoned, but not distributed well initially (maybe because it was takeout?), we gave them a vigorous shake to get an even coating. Some paprika, garlic, and what seemed like a tiny hit of cayenne snuck in at the last moment, generating a quick nod of “ohhh, okay, so there’s a lil’ heat” from the Lady of the Farm.
Buffalo Wings and Rings does something interesting with their sauces. First, you select your style: grilled, tenders, traditional, or boneless (we went boneless because they were running a deal). Next you select your flavor, selecting from 14 different sauces including: Sweet BBQ, Roasted Garlic, Teriyaki, and more. Many of the flavors then allow you to select heat tolerance, with five options: mild, medium, hot, x-hot, and atomic. What gets done with your selection is still unclear to us. Once all of those are selected you can get your sauce on the side, light, or Xtra wet. I’m no math whizz, but that makes for a ton of combinations; definitely more than 20, but definitely less than 2 million.
The Ghost Pepper Ranch, described by Buffalo Wings and Rings as “The hottest of hot peppers meets cool ranch. It’s scary-spicy, yet tantalizingly tasty. Not for the faint of heart.” I looked down at the wings. “Oh, we’ll see about that!” I shouted into the kitchen, startling my dogs. The Lady of the Farm wandered by and I shoved on of the wings under her nose for a smell test. No reaction, but it is allergy season, so maybe a false negative. I looked at the sloppy wings and took the first bite.
A quick hit of the ghost pepper that fades into a mid-tier ranch dressing. As I took a beat to think about the history between midwesterners and Ranch, the ghost pepper started to creep back in. Starting on the tongue, I proceeded to get a few good slaps of heat. The thickness of the ranch made the first bite go down with a hefty spike of spice and left me surprised. A quick gasp for air as the heat coated my throat, and then it was gone.
I finished the rest of the chicken chunk, with the same rotation of heat, ranch, heat. How could this midwestern delicacy betray me? It acted as a Trojan Horse for the ghost pepper, lulling me into a false sense of safety, only to allow the ghost pepper to pop out and punch me at the back end of the bite. The sauce has the standard qualities of the ghost pepper and I’m appreciative that Wings and Rings chooses to use the actual pepper instead of settling for extracts or other cheap parlor tricks to hit that level of heat.
One thing still confused me with the heat; the quickness of its disappearance. Typically the ghost pepper hangs out, leading to a several minute linger, but the heat of the first wing had come and gone faster than a Big Ten 2020 Fall football season (too soon?). I shoved the next full wing in, maybe the quantity would help. Right on schedule, heat, ranch, heat. The third wing is when things changed a bit. By now my lips were starting to tingle and I didn’t realize it right away but my nose started to bleed. “Wings and Rings, so hot it’ll make your nose bleed!” I believe the two were unrelated, but the sniffles had begun regardless.
Getting through the fourth and fifth wing in quick succession, the throat heat started to build. Mouth-breathing commenced and I had gotten the heat I was expecting. I laughed as a tiny spicy high kicked in. Snagging a few fries, I sopped up the remainder of the ghost pepper ranch, trying to get every last ounce of heat. A few minutes later my lips continued to tingle. A ghost pepper sauce that brings the heat, well done Wings and Rings.
It was a bit of a roller coaster and had I casually been eating these wings, the heat may not have built up quite as much, but when all was said and done, this ended up being a fairly spicy dish. With the smattering of wings in our top 20, this is definitely a tough one to place. Had it been heavier with the ghost pepper, it likely would have crept into the top 10, but for the cooling effect the ranch brings, we’re placing the Ghost Pepper Ranch inside the top 20. Bumping Lucky’s Grille down a spot and sitting under the Winking Lizard Fire in the Hole wings, I was pleased with the true taste of ghost pepper Wings and Rings brought with their sauce. It is a limited time wing flavor and will be gone after August, but there are a few forums hoping it will stick around past National Chicken Wing Month.
Look below for more in our spiciest dish in Columbus series and hit us up if you have any suggestions that are not already on our list!
Hello spicy traveler, try our sauces!
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