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Old Skool – Spiciest Dish in Columbus Series

“I’ll be in the neighborhood later on, and I was wondering if maybe you wanted to get some frozen yogurt, or perhaps a whole meal of food, if that would be agreeable.”

That’s the only Old School quote we’ll use here, promises. Across the United States, Columbus is definitely not known as a BBQ city, but there are plenty of BBQ spots worth checking out. This week we traveled to Old Skool to see if they were just blowing smoke about their habanero wings.

Honestly we almost drove past it initially because it’s tucked into a small corner between Aladdin’s Eatery and the strip with Lineage and Condado. Thankfully we found it and got in just before the skies opened and dump out a Fake Spring II thunderstorm.

bbq at old skool by fartley farms

Blurry, but we still ate it.

The Lady of the Farm got the Two Meats / Two Sides, which comes on an old school cafeteria tray. She opted for the spicy slaw, onion rings, brisket and pulled pork. The above photo is a bit blurry, but that’s partially due to the dimly lit aesthetic of Old Skool (not a complaint). BBQ sauce-wise it leans toward the sweeter side and we definitely preferred the pork to the brisket.

old skool spicy slaw by fartley farms

If you look closely you can see a jalapeño.

I enjoyed the spicy slaw quite a bit and would definitely get that moving forward. With jalapeños throughout the slaw itself, it’s tossed in a somewhat creamy vinaigrette that takes away some of the bitterness of the peppers. Initially we were directed away from the spicy slaw as the regular is more creamy, but surprisingly the Lady of the Farm insisted on the spicy slaw. I think I’m wearing her down. She ate half of it, nose and cheeks sweating, an indicator that this is will be a bit spicy for most folks.

pimento cheese fritters

The geometry makes us happy.

Cranking up the spiciness, these are the Pimento Cheese Fritters with a Chipotle Maple Aioli. Lil’ crispy bois that are cooked nicely with a warm cheesy center? Hard to go wrong. The Chipotle Maple Aioli ended up having some kick, so we set that off to the side and used it for pretty much everything else that we ordered. Especially, the next item…

corn dog at old skool by Fartley farms

Corny boi.

That’s right, we’re talking about the one, the only, Buford Tannen, the house made corn dog! Unconfirmed, but likely named after Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen from Back to the Future Part III, this corny boi has a review of it’s own in case you’re looking for how good it is. We got distracted, what were we here for? Ah, yes, the wings!

habanero wings at old skool by fartley farms

Look at those char marks!

Old Skool has one of the more unique wing sauce lists we’ve seen, sporting Sriracha Honey, Habanero, Golden BBQ, Honey Chipotle BBQ, Buffalo and Thai Peanut Butter & Jelly (yes you read that correctly). As the spiciest sauce of the six, we staved off the desire to eat the Thai Peanut Butter & Jelly wings and got the Habanero, with blue cheese as the dipper on the side. Seriously though you see that corn dog back there?

habanero wings at old skool

Moving in for the close up.

As is tradition, I held the plate of wings in front of the nose of the Lady of the Farm. Her eyes widened and she let out a “whoo,” a sign of hope for me that these wings had some kick. As I picked up a wing, I heard someone in the back yell “don’t forget to tell people they’re house brined!” I nodded and started in on the first wing. Just before the first bite, a voice from outside in the thunderstorm yelled “also don’t forget to tell people the wings are smoked and grilled!” I nodded again and proceeded with the bite. I’d come to find later on that it was just me reading the menu out loud, but man am I good at throwing my own voice.

These wings have a nice aroma, with a very clear whiff of habanero and a bit of vinegar (while not being overly vinegary). The house brine and the smokiness play well with the flavor and I have to say that these were some of the best cooked wings we’ve had in a while. Something about the “smoked and grilled” just hits better. Two wings in, I wasn’t getting much from the habanero sauce. There was a tiny tickle of spice, but past that, the wings were just good wings. I sat before the fifth wing, waiting a beat to see if the heat would catch up, but it never did. It got one sniffle out of me, but past that this habanero sauce doesn’t register all that high on our list. I’m tempted to even say that the Chipotle Maple Aioli had more of a kick, but the habanero is likely spicier.

As a spicy dish in Columbus, the habanero wing sauce sits at #41, just above Melt Bar and Grilled and the Voodoo Zombie Jerk Chicken and below Harvest Pizzeria and their Spicy Yuma. At this point it’s safe to say that smoked and grilled wings are superior, but we’ll eat pretty much any wing with a spicy sauce on it. Definitely get your hands on the Chipotle Maple Aioli if you head to Old Skool and use it for everything (corn dogs, fritters, onion rings, fries, drink additive, etc).

You can find Old Skool at 2941 N High Street Clintonville, OH 43202

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!

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