Chicken Fight IV: Bourbon BBQ Wing Competition at The Bimini Pub in Kitsilano

I was invited by epicmedia (Donnelly Group‘s PR company) to judge their 4th Annual Chicken Fight bourbon bbq wing competition:

Today's the day. Our annual #ChickenFight starts at 4pm.

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It was my first time doing anything like this. All the judges got free wings and beer, so why not?

Kitsilano area restaurants were invited to participate, and each team got 20 lbs of wings and a bottle of Jim Beam Apple Bourbon to use in their recipe. This year’s teams:

Unfortunately, lots of other restaurants backed out this year, including Au Comptoir and Fable 🙁 booooooo!

DISCLAIMER: I was not compensated in any way except for receiving free wings and all the beer I could drink. I was not asked to do this blog post. It’s my own personal take on the event. The last time I did anything remotely close to this was that one time I was on You Gotta Eat Here (Longtail Kitchen episode).

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The Bimini on West 4th. To be honest, I never find myself drinking in Kits. I tend to prefer drinking on the eastside — “Yeast Van” area in particular, and also Gastown.

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I’m still stuck on the proper pronunciation of “Bimini”…is it “BIM-ini” or “bim-MEENIE”?

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Another way in which Donnelly Group places and me don’t really mix — I’m not a big brunch person.

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But I do love pinball!! The KISS machine by Stern.

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You cannot have a KISS table without the tongue!

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I played a few games of The Walking Dead.

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It’s fun to hit this walker.

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The have skeeball too. Now I know what to do next time Wicca is shopping on West 4th 😀

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The trophies and poker chips for public voting.

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I do admire how Donnelly Group has embraced (is that the right word?) craft beer.

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The only non-craft taps are the Kronenbourg ones, Granville Island, and Guinness. Almost everything else is local craft. To have this in a somewhat mainstream-feeling kind of place is an achievement that shouldn’t be overlooked.

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Fancy version of beer pong.

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As much fun as I had during this event, this just isn’t my scene. Playlist leaned heavily on rock (not my taste, unless it’s classic rock), sports on the tv, plus the Kits college crowd is not my kind of thing.

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One of the teams out back grilling the wings. With six teams cooking one after the other, this event took about 3.5 hours, so there was a fair bit of waiting around between wings. So I drank:

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New Belgium Pilsner (4.8%). I think this might’ve been their “Blue Paddle Pislner”…the board didn’t specify which pilsner. It’s an ok pilsner but perhaps a bit old because this malty quality came out that reminded me of how past-their-prime IPAs can taste too malty, stale, and oxidized.

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Twin Sails Sticke Altbier (5.7%). A bit dubbel-like with it’s pruny, malty flavours.

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Yellow Dog Play Dead IPA (7%). One of the best BC IPAs around. Big juicy hops, I got a lot of pineapple on the nose, and a touch of grassiness. Different batches (in the cans at least) have tasted slightly different, but this one was pretty much on-point.

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Ed Garcia from CFOX emceeing the event. The other two judges were Meredith Geddes (CFOX) and Joe Leary (Just Here For The Beer).

And now for the wings!

The Kitchen Table

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The Kitchen Table did a wing marinated in apple miso, served with a parmesan dip. Needed more apple and miso. Otherwise a tasty wing but not distinctive enough. I did enjoy the dip — creamy, cold, subtle. They got extra points for the dehydrated apple slices on top.

Pat’s Place

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Braised in Jim Beam with chili and coffee, finished on the grill. Cheddar, apple, and jalapeno sauce on top. So they had an apple and cheddar theme here but the wing itself was bland. Some mild heat and hint of dry coffee, but not much actual cheddar or apple flavour. I did enjoy the sauce, although for the concept rather than actual flavour. One of my poorest scoring wings.

Charqui

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This unassuming wing was seasoned with oregano, pepper, salt, and Jim Beam. A simple, straightforward approach on the wing, which makes room for the other part of the equation:

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Three sauces! A bourbon blue cheese dressing (top), an apple/mint/bourbon sauce (middle), and a jalapeno hot sauce (bottom). I liked all of the sauces, especially the apple mint one, where the fresh mint flavour really woke up the palate. All these sauces went well with the simply-seasoned wings. But that’s not all! Charqui went the extra mile by providing a cocktail pairing too:

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Mint Julep. My first ever mint julep. Quite sweet but with a big fresh bitterness from the citrus zest. Not sure if this was a traditional mint julep but it paired nicely with the wings. This team got big points for effort and creativity.

The Bimini

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Marinated in chipotle, Jim Beam, and ginger. Glazed with more chipotle, onion, bourbon sauce. One of the saucier wings of the competition. Fine. Middle of the road. A bit boring.

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The Bimini team did provide an optional “suicide wing”. I passed on these cuz I didn’t want to blow out my palate 😛

Romer’s Burger Bar

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Black bean chili and green apple infused wings. Sesame cucumber aioli on the side. I did get a black bean flavour, but overall flavour was just ok. I did enjoy the aioli though. It almost had a tzatziki kind of thing going.

Bimini Beer Club

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This team got big points from me for using Unibroue Éphémère Apple in their marinade! They ran with the apple thing and added cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg, sugar, salt, AND brown sugar candied bacon on top:

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It totally smelled like apple pie. This team was damn lucky to have gone last cuz this was like a dessert wing. A sweet wing but it totally worked. Funny how the first team used dehydrated apple slices and the last team used fresh apple slices. Extra points for incorporating bacon too.

The Results

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The scoring sheet.

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The entire restaurant got to try each team’s wings as well, FOR FREE! Then they got to judge by putting poker chips into different mugs.

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Ed tabulating the scores. Judges’ scores were incorporated into the public vote.

Third place winner was The Kitchen Table. Second place went to:

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Bimini Beer Club! They brought a rubber chicken head, which scored them extra points but I truly did enjoy their wacky apple pie wings.

And in first place:

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Charqui! Well-deserved win with their simple, straightforward wings with a touch of creativity and fun.


Thanks to The Bimini for putting this on and inviting me!

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