Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sonya Thomas interview on CNN Headline News

Here's an interview with Sonya Thomas that was done a day after she demolished the chicken wing eating world record by putting away an estimated 173 wings in just 12 minutes.

Watch the video.

Cluckbucket cited on Wikipedia

Mention of the Smash and Small Bone Twist eating techniques have made it as a reference in the buffalo wing entry on Wikipedia.

Take a look for yourself by clicking here.

Peace, love, and grease!

Scott "The Cluckbucket" Roth

How to treat a woman

A good friend sent this over, we are simple creatures aren't we...especially when there are wings involved.

How to treat a Woman:

Wine her. Dine her. Call her. Hold her. Surprise her. Compliment her. Smile at her. Listen to her. Laugh with her. Cry with her. Romance her. Encourage her. Believe in her. Pray with her. Pray for her. Cuddle with her. Shop with her. Give her jewelry. Buy her flowers. Hold her hand. Write love letters to her. Go to the ends of the earth and back again for her.

How To Treat a Man: Show up naked. Bring chicken wings. Don't block the TV.

Nice work Brew, go '82 Cardinals.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Cluckbucket featured in new book - The Armchair Quarterback Playbook is being featured in a new book that just hit the shelves by Christopher Lee Barish called, The Armchair Quarterback Playbook. The book dubs itself as the ultimate guide to watching football and includes such content from the Cluckbucket as our wing eating techniques (the smash and the small bone twist), wing recipes, and several terms from our hot wing dictionary. You can find the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Borders, or you can buy it online for 20% off through the store.

> Buy the book now.

Book Description: Every weekend from August through January, 25 million Americans plop into their Lay-Z-Boys, crack open a beer, and watch football on television. At last, here is an illustrated book that celebrates their pastime and codifies their culture of extreme devotion like no other. The Armchair Quarterback Playbook is both hilarious and authentic, and is designed like a real football playbook complete with modified X and O diagrams. Everything a stay-at-home fan needs to know is here: how to redirect an interfering spouse ("The Listen and Respond Fake"), methods for keeping children at bay ("Intentional Grounding), equipment and etiquette tips, game food recipes, armchair quarterback vernacular, and more. Written by a certified "AQ," this is the perfect book for the football fanatic.
About the Author: Christopher Lee Barish has watched more than 20,000 hours of football since age seven. He lives in New York.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

National Buffalo Wing Festival - Media Coverage

The National Buffalo Wing Festival 2007 was a smashing success. The attendance was the highest ever and over 25 tons of wings were cooked and consumed. We've pulled together some of the highlights of the media coverage so that you can read up on what happened:

Wing Fest 2007 - One for the Record Books
National Buffalo Wing Festival 2007 - Day One Recap - video
Buffalo Wing Festival and beautiful day attract thousands
No ‘wingin’ it’ on sauces for old pals
Wisp of a Woman Is a Wiz at Wing Eating
Wing fest returns for Labor Day weekend

Peace, love, and grease!

Scott "The Cluckbucket" Roth

The Great Chicken Wing Hunt - Media Coverage

The Great Chicken Wing Hunt is over, but the media coverage of this epic event/documentary in the making is just beginning. I've complied some of the highlights of the media coverage so that you can follow along with the action:

Central N.Y. restaurant's wings named the best by filmmaker
Seneca Falls chef's wings are winners
Great Chicken Wing Hunt hits Auburn
Group searches for best chicken wing
Man sings about chicken wings
Hunt Minstrel Al Caster sings "All of Me"

Peace, love, and grease!

Scott "The Cluckbucket" Roth

Labor Day Wing Tour by the Numbers

Here are a few random numbers from this past weekend to astonish, amaze, and disturb you:

  • 500,000 = the estimated number of wings that were consumed over the weekend (the weight was 25 tons)
  • 20 = the number of industrial deep fryers that cooked the 500,000 wings
  • 27,000 = the estimated number of wings that the deep fryers could put out every hour
  • 74,000 = the number of people that attended the festival on Saturday and Sunday
  • 450 = the number of company owned and franchise Buffalo Wild Wing restaurants in existence (the co-founders of the restaurant were inducted into the National Buffalo Wing Hall of Flame on Friday night)
  • 120 = the estimated number of wings that I consumed on Friday and Saturday
    173 = the estimated number of wings that Sonya Thomas consumed in 12 minutes (which was a new world record)
    1,500 = the estimated number of wings that Ben "The Mighty Thor" Beavers consumed during the 15 day wing hunt from Manhattan to Buffalo
    850 = the estimated number of wings that the average wing hunter consumed

Monday, September 03, 2007

Weekend Recap and Thoughts Moving Forward:

This post really isn’t a recap of the weekend’s activities (since I think I’ve already done a pretty decent job of documenting the details in previous posts) but is more a few final thoughts on some recurring themes from the weekend and a note of thanks.

Let’s start with the note of thanks. First of all, oh behalf of both Steve and I, we would like to thank our wives (Kama and Allie) for letting us go on this journey. It was a great “activity” for Steve and I to do together and was pretty much a once in a lifetime opportunity that we really appreciate you letting us capitalize on.

The next note of thanks goes to the Wing King, Drew Cerza. We are very gracious to Drew for inviting us to be involved in many of the activities throughout the weekend – the pre-party for the festival, the wing judging, the channel 7 news interview, and the event itself. It’s evident from meeting Drew in person that he has a true passion for the wing and more importantly has a heart that is in the right place, even though the main focus of the event is to promote the goodness of the buffalo wing, Drew is really using that as a front to provide a venue that allows the people of Buffalo (and all the rest of us outsiders) to gather for two days and simply have some good family friendly fun – and that is truly something that he should be proud of.

The next note of thanks goes out to all of the places where we consumed wings this weekend. There are too many to name, and while we are happy to have gotten to eat your establishment’s prized wings, we’re also pissed at you because our bodies hurt right now and we don’t want to eat any other wings for a long time… :-)

The final note of thanks goes out to a group of devoted wing lovers who gave up 14 days (plus travel plus bodily recuperation time) of their lives to journey from Manhattan to Buffalo on the quest to find the best buffalo wing in the world. Your mental stamina and intestinal fortitude are truly amazing and we were honored to get to share some of the closing moments of the journey with you. And to Matt Reynolds, the leader of the pack, I think you summed things up pretty appropriately on the phone this morning when you said “it’s nice to meet a couple of guys that are so deeply passionate about the wing – but at the same time are actually pretty normal”. The same goes from us to you. Your outward passion for the wing is obvious, but even more impressive to us are a couple of things that we saw in you that might not always get noticed (1) the amount of time and energy that you have poured into envisioning, creating, planning, and coordinating the Great Chicken Wing Hunt is simply amazing and should not go unrecognized, (2) the quality of the individuals that you brought together and level of friendship that you shared with the hunters – even through the tough times - showed that you are a true leader, and finally (3) your composure under pressure and all of the elements that you had to deal with proves that you are in this for all of the right reasons, because somebody that was going through this process to simply make a buck, would have given up a long time ago. It was an extreme pleasure for us to get to know you and again we thank you for welcoming us into your wing team with open arms.

Now to a few of the takeaways from the weekend and we will intentionally keep this short because we will be following up these concepts with more in-depth discussions on this blog over the next couple of weeks.

1. There seems to be a bit of a divide amongst wing enthusiasts that we believe needs to be debated more thoroughly and that is this seemingly simple question - how far can a buffalo wing sauce recipe deviate from the original ingredients and still be considered a “traditional buffalo wing”? Sub-question – novelty/specialty wing flavors, how far is too far, seriously…?

2. Another question worth discussion – the boneless buffalo wing, is it an abomination of everything that is right about the buffalo wing, or a way to strategically spread the influence of the wing to others that may not be likely candidates to consume real wings”? Sub-question – do people that are introduced to boneless buffalo wings eventually graduate into consuming real wings, or do they simply stay boneless wing lovers for life?

3. And finally (for now), with all due respect to the people of Buffalo (and the rest of the original wing region) I’m going to make a generalization that won’t accurately catch everyone’s opinion but is a reflection of what I witnessed through numerous conversations in my 48 hours in Buffalo – the people of this region do not believe that good traditional buffalo wings can be found pretty much anywhere else in the world other than inside their region. And while I will not argue with you that your region is clearly the home of the wing, and the strongest overall wing region in the world, based on my experience of eating wings in many of the 49 other states and a few other countries – the wings that are being produced there are just as good, if not better in many cases than the ones that are coming out of your region. I know that this statement won’t be a popular one for many people to read, but I simply think that it’s time that we all begin to realize that the buffalo wing is reaching a state of maturity – where eateries in other regions have been able to not only reproduce the amazing work that you’ve pioneered, but they’ve also been able to evolve the wing to new levels that you might not be aware of – but may be pleased to experience…

As I said, much more to come on these three and many other topics, but for now we welcome your comments and thoughts…

Peace, love, and grease!

The Roth Brothers (Scott and Steve “The CluckBucket” Roth)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Wings We Ate

Looking back over the weekend a bit, we ate some great wings, a lot of good wings, some bad wings - but most off all, just a lot of wings.

Steve and I at the Anchor Bar - original home of the wing

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Day Two Recap

Day Two Recap:

Day two of our Labor Day extravaganza has come to a close and the crazy ride that began what seems like long time ago (but really was just a day) just continued to get crazier.

Niagara Falls: Today started with a wonderful diversion from the wing subculture with a side-trip to Niagara Falls. Steve and I drove the short distance (about 20 miles) from downtown Buffalo and spent a good amount of time seeing the falls from the American side of the border. Then we headed over to Canada to check out the sights from their perspective – and wow was it quite a difference. Since we were pressed for time we pulled a Clark Griswold at the Grand Canyon stop at a nice vantage point so that Steve could get out and snap some quick pictures. Then it was back to Buffalo only to sit in 45 minutes of traffic trying to cross the bridge and pass back over into the good ole’ US of A. The detour forced us to miss the 0.5K Running of the Chickens, but nonetheless left us with plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the day.

National Buffalo Wing Festival: We arrived at the official first day of the National Buffalo Wing Festival at about 2:00PM to be greeted immediately by organizer Drew Cerza who said “we’ve already got a 5:00 crowd”. Never having been to the festival before we didn’t quite know what to expect but Drew was right, the place had filled up nicely and lines were starting to lengthen. First order of business, find some chicken…

Our First Wings: I have never been to WingStreet before and the line there was short so we decided to head there first. I realize it’s somewhat lame to show up at the one and only wing festival and start off by eating wings from a chain that’s owned by Pizza Hut, but nonetheless, that’s what we did. To my surprise the wings were actually pretty good. We had some medium (they didn’t have hot unfortunately) and some spicy BBQ and the only thing that was a bit off about them was that there was some interesting glaze type of coating on both of the wings – not sure what that was.

Traditional Buffalo Wing Sauce Competition: We then proceeded to hit up about three more wing joints as we waited for the first main stage event of the day to get ready to begin - the Traditional Buffalo Wing Sauce competition (not to be confused with the national buffalo wing sauce competition that we judged the night before). This event featured four wing sauce cooking teams (two of which were friends of the CluckBucket – Ric Kealoha and Matt Reynolds from the documentary and fellow national sauce judge/competitive eater/chef/all around good guy Joe LaRue). Not long after the contest had begun we were on stage with Ric and Matt providing some strategic guidance on the direction of their sauce. They were challenged with the time-limit imposed on them as they like to have a while to let their sauce condense and also were facing the odds as they purchased an inappropriate ingredient the night before. Steve stayed on stage taking pictures and assisting while I went booth to booth to find the missing ingredient. After a good bit of searching, a replacement was secured and the team was done with their sauce. The judging occurred and much to the wing hunter’s delight, Ric and Matt’s sauce was crowned the champion. Matt called the entire gang of hunters on to the stage to assist in the acceptance speech and after briefing the crowd on the documentary, plugging the CluckBucket, and allowing Al Caster to play a few chords, the entire crew began to lead the audience in their official chant of “wings (pause) wings (pause) wings wings wings (pause) wings (pause) wings (pause) wings wings wings.”

Competitive Eating: Then it was time for more wings, a stop at a nearby brewpub, a chat with competitive eater Eric Badlands Booker, and then back to the main stage for the competitive eating contest. The contest was an epic 12 minute battle that pitted 15 of the world’s top competitive eaters against each other and their common enemy – the wing. After all was said and done, Sonya Thomas ended up on top by consuming 5.17 lbs of wing meat which translates into approximately 173 wings = and really bad indigestion. Nonetheless, we were there to see a world record broken – and were glad that Sonya could use the ideal eating conditions (75 and sunny) to reclaim her crown.

It was time to cash out the rest of our wing tickets so we loaded up on some very tasty chicken from the Wing Zone before filming some video commentary to wrap-up the day and heading for the exits.

The Anchor Bar: Back to the hotel to grab our car and then we finally headed out to the wing mecca, the birthplace of the wing, the Anchor Bar. Since arriving in Buffalo we had been given so many different perspectives on the Anchor Bar we truly didn’t know what to expect when we arrived. What we did find immediately was an 8:30 crowd that was bursting at the seams but fortunately we were able to snag a couple of seats at a bar table and quickly order up two Bud Lights and a plate of chicken. Now for what was somewhat a surprise to us (based on what others had commented earlier on), Steve and I both found that the Anchor Bar wings were hands down the best wings that we had on the entire trip. The sauce was truly a pure authentic buffalo wing sauce of Franks Red Hot and butter and the chicken was perfectly prepared, perfectly sized, and quickly delivered while it was still hot. Outside of the wings, the experience at the bar was great, it has a good down-home type of atmosphere and the people there were very friendly. Obviously things have changed dramatically for them over the years because of their notoriety, but they still manage to have a really good environment for wing lovers to visit.

A quick stop at the shady Wendy’s next door for some Frosties to cleanse the pallet and then we were off to meet up with the wing hunt team for what we thought was to be their final discussion and crowning of the “best buffalo wing in the world”.

Great Chicken Wing Hunt Deliberations: We found the team at the home of their gracious hosts in somewhat tattered spirits. Al and Ron really wanted the pizza that had been ordered a while before, Thor just wanted to call it quits for the night, and Ric needed red meat (apparently this was a recurring theme for Ric throughout the trip). The scientists/statisticians took a while to show up with the results and Matt finally was able to rally the troops around 11:00. Filming began and the statisticians revealed the findings of the wing ranking data that had been compiled along the hunt. Much like the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) process, the statisticians had devised a way to dwindle the 62 restaurants where wings were consumed down to a list of the top ten. To the credit of Matt and the statisticians, they did a lot of work with the wing ballots to capture questions about the hunter’s mood, general health, etc along the way so that their own personal issues would not influence their rating of the wing. After the top ten adjusted and non-adjusted were announced, the team deliberated and gave their opinions about the seemingly clear number one wing. That is – until I posed the following question – “Are you completely sure that the wing you are about to crown as the best buffalo wing in the world is truly a buffalo wing?” And from there the night seemed to unravel a bit. A pretty heated debate began that forced the wing team to think through what they were about to do and to also revisit the initial intentions and definitions that they had set forward at the beginning of the hunt…

Unfortunately, and this is the part that sucks for you, due to the sensitive nature of the film, I can’t talk in any more details about the deliberations of that evening at this point in time. What I can tell you was that Steve and I left the house at roughly 1:00 in the morning and no conclusions had been made by the team. They decided to sleep on things and gather their thoughts, and to reconvene at roughly 3:00 PM the next day back in Matt’s hometown of Lyons, NY.

What I can tell you is this, Steve and I left that evening very tired, but also very happy that we were there to witness all of the events of the day. It was a great day with lots of activity and again way too many wings, but it was very much worth it from both of our perspectives.

Peace, love, and grease!

Scott “The CluckBucket” Roth

Deliberations to Continue

After a scientific listing of the hunters top rated wings by a pair of statisticians and a lengthy debate by the hunters and the brothers Roth, no decision has been made on the best buffalo wing in the world. Deliberations to continue tomorrow morning.

Matt Reynolds engaged

Day one ends with a proposal and Lucie sying yes. Congrats Matt and Lucie.

And the winner is...

After a gruelling 12 minutes of gurgitation, the winner has been crowned. Sonya Thomas has sent a new world record by consuming 173 wings in 12 minutes. Here is how the top four ended up.

Sonya Thomas 5.17 lbs
Chip Simpson 4.33 lbs
Brad Shulo 4.1 lbs
Humble Bob 3.4 lbs

Competitors mentally preparing to eat.

The Mighty Thor plowing through his first tray.

Sonya Thomas walks away with the crown.

> See the rest of our pictures from the United States Buffalo Wing Eating Championships.

> See our behind the scenes video from the United States Buffalo Wing Eating Championships.

Peace, love, and way too much grease!

Scott "The CluckBucket" Roth

Wing eating competition begininng

My money is on Sonya Thomas, just got a pregame picture with her and wished her "good luck". She seemed very poised and focused, but loose and happy.

Sonya Thomas and the CluckBucket

Peace, love, and grease!

Scott "The CluckBucket" Roth

Dental Floss

Just met Mike and Lynn from Buffalo, they bring their own dental floss to the show. Brilliant.

Badlands is Rapping

As the opening act for the wing eating competition. Video and pictures will come soon.

Booker getting ready to rap.

Booker and the CluckBucket.

See the rest of our pictures of Eric Badlands Booker.

See the video we took of Eric Badlands Booker rapping. (coming soon)

Hear Badlands rap about competitive eating on his MySpace page.

Peace, love, and grease!

Scott "The CluckBucket" Roth

Scott McLintock takes blue cheese crown

He bobbed for wings in a swimming pool of bleu cheese and pulled out 14. He's the winner. Steve was on stage taking pictures.

Scott McLintock poses with his trophy

See the rest of our blue cheese bobbing contest pictures.

Channel 7 Interview

Just had a great interview, should air tonight

The Smell of Grease

The smell of bubbling grease outside the fest is intense. They have 20 deep fryers going nonstop with 6 baskets each that hold 35 wings at a time - that means they can cook over 4,000 wings every 15 minutes or over 16,000 wings per hour.

20 deep industrial deep fryers in a row.

Local cooks preparing the wings.

See the rest of our pictures of the deep fryers in action.

Peace, love, and grease (really!)!

Scott "The CluckBucket" Roth

Pearl Street Brewery

Randomly found friends of the Cluckbucket and people that read about us in the paper this morning. Good break to have a nice IPA and watch the Illinois Mizzou football game. Now back to the fest for the wing eating contest.

Side view of Pearl Street Grill and Brewery

Back view of Pearl Street Grill and Brewery, they had 3 very cool outdoor decks.

Festival Crowd Chants

After Ric and Matt won the sauce crown Al Caster played the wing hunt theme song and the crowd chanted "wings (pause) wings (pause) wings wings wings (pause) wings (pause) wings (pause) wings wings wings"

Hunters lead the crowd in the "wings" chant.

Al Caster plays guitar during acceptance speech.

Hunters win the traditional buffalo wing sauce competition

Hunters Ric Kealoha and Matt Reynolds just stole the show at the traditional buffalo wing sauce competition (and all four of the competitors sauces were much better than the 30+ sauces we judged last night). Their winning sauce kept pretty true to the original buffalo sauce. Steve consulted with Matt on the sauce flavor while I went booth to both to find missing ingredients, took pictures, and mingled with Eric Badlands Booker. Cluckbucket is being well represented. Pictures to come.

Matt begins to sample the goods.

Matt consults with Steve for his "expert" opinion.

The award winning sauce.

See the rest of our pictures from the traditional sauce competition.

Recipe soon to come on


Cluckbucket Featured in Buffalo Newspaper

See the article about the wing judging last night:

The Buffalo News: City & Region: No ‘wingin’ it’ on sauces for old pals

Oh Canada

Now over on the Canadian side of Niagra Falls, man we really got screwed on this border. Will post pictures tonight so you can see what I mean.

American Falls (Horseshoe in the far background) from the American side of Niagra.

Steve and Scott on the American side.

Horseshoe Falls from the Canadian side of Niagra.

See the rest of our pictures from Niagra Falls.

See the video that we took at Niagra Falls.

Now driving back to Buffalo on the Canadian side. Hopefully we can make it back in time for the running of the chickens, going to be really close.



Good Morning Wing Lovers

Another beautiful day has begun here in Buffalo. We are off to Niagra Falls for some sightseeing. Wings for breakfast, will post pictures later.