Wing Wars

LI’s wing champs battle for supremacy

New York Best Wings Fest Ultimate Championships
Festival cofounders Robert Wittman and Matthew Kourie bring the ultimate championship to Mulcahy’s on July 30.

Things are about to get saucy.

Chicken wing champs from years past will face off for the buffalo battle of the century at the New York Best Wings Fest Ultimate Championships set for Sunday, July 30, at Mulcahy’s Pub. Matt Kourie, cofounder of NY Best Wings Festival, has built a colossal bill of competitors and judges who will converge to decide once and for all, who slings the best wings in New York.

“This is the ultimate championship. Fans who come will eat the best wings on Long Island and we will crown a champion,” said the confident Kourie. “We called on all of our past wing champs to either throw down or chicken out.”

Local wing lords answered the call and so far the combatants include Brews Brothers Grille from Franklin Square, Long Beach’s SwingBelly’s BBQ, Krave It representing Bayside, Queens, L.I. Pour House from Port Jefferson Station, Massapequa’s American Beauty Bistro, Long Beach-based caterer Matty Smokes BBQ and wing chain Wing Zone with more contenders still to be named.

The greatest wing slingers will face off July 30.

Kourie said the “Amaze-Wing” challengers will cross wings in categories including Best Buffalo Wings, Best BBQ Wings, Tastiest Hottest Wing, Best Unique Flavor Wings and Best Dessert Wings.

“The Tastiest Hottest Wing category is super intriguing,” said Kourie. “We’re not looking for wings that will just burn our judges alive, but wings that bring the heat without sacrificing delicious flavor.”

But for those who do want to feel the burn, there will be a Hottest Wing Eating Championship Wingsanity, with craft beer flowing like water throughout the event—to cool down both combatants and wing revelers.

Over the better part of the past decade, Kourie has become a master wing hunter, food follower and libation authority. He has also been a featured judge for numerous wing and food festivals, including the NYC Hot Sauce Expo, The Bacon & Beer Classic, The National Buffalo Wing Festival and many more.

“After all these years of being a wing hunter, I’ve gone through different phases of favorite wings,” he said, adding that he is currently burned out on overly hot wings. “Right now I am a Buffalo Wing purist and some places slinging wings like they do at Duff’s and Anchor Bar in Buffalo include Wander Inn, Press 195 and Charlie Meaney’s in Valley Stream.”

To Kourie’s wing-centric mind, any chicken wing worth having its bone cleaned must have a crisp exterior, juicy interior and a sauce or rub that offers a dynamic savoriness. And while even bad wings can be devoured by the dozen, there are some drab characteristics that can break Kourie’s wing-eating heart.

“There are some wings I call ‘Disgust-Wing,’” he said. “These are over-fried and all shriveled up. Also those Costco wings that are big and bulbous with absolutely no flavor.”

And then there’s so-called “boneless wings,” which, according to Kourie, do not truly exist.

“There are no such thing as boneless wings—only chicken nuggets and chicken fingers,” he said. “Now, de-boned wings on the other hand—that’s something you don’t see everyday.”

Kourie said the championship event will be the ultimate wing crawl under one roof and he implores wing aficionados to nab tickets before all are devoured. Tickets range from $30 to $55 and include Wing Lover General Admission all the way to Wing Hunter VIP.

Purchase tickets at www.eventbrite.com/e/ny-best-wings-fest-ultimate-championships-tickets-32179832746.

“The competition is going to be the toughest we’ve ever seen,” said Kourie. “This is the best of the best going head-to-head with fantastic wings. You literally cannot go wrong.”

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Steve Mosco
Steve Mosco, the former editor-in-chief at Anton Media Group, is a columnist for Long Island Weekly's food and sports sections. He fancies himself a tastemaker, food influencer and king of all eaters.

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