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At Buffalo Wild Wings, the sauce wins every time

Let’s say that my favorite wing places, like Miles Lab and Rulli’s, are my best friends. That would make Buffalo Wild Wings (also know as BW3 or just Bdubs) my brother.

Friends come and go, but Bdubs will always be there, and I’ll be visiting it for the rest of my life. Sometimes Bdubs really ticks me off, but eventually I’ll let it pass and a few weeks later I’ll be scarfing down some Asian Zing wings again.

I’ve been visiting Bdubs for a long time and I can reminisce about hanging out there in my youth and before I started a family. I’ve claimed that A.J. Wingers is the first place I ever ate wings, but Bdubs would be the second.

I moved to Elkhart in January of 2003 and no later than April that same year, Buffalo Wild Wings built a location in Goshen. It’s like the wing gods knew I was coming and couldn’t let me live in a Bdub-less area.

Bdubs is the original chain sports wing bar. They have beer, they have trivia, they have big screens to watch sports, they have a friendly wait staff, and they have wings.

Everyone’s future is uncertain, but in my future I can guarantee three things: death, taxes and Bdubs. Tweet this

No matter how food-network-snobby I get about wanting to eat somewhere unique, local or authentic, if someone says something like, “We can go to Bdubs,” I’m all like, “That is the best idea I have ever heard in my life.”

I have chosen hotels on business trips based solely on their proximity to a Bdubs, and if they are walking distance there is a good chance I will not make it to my meeting the next day. Even my 4-year-old son always chooses Bdubs if we ask where he wants to go out to eat, but I’m sure he’s just more excited about playing the Batman video game than scarfing down some Blazin’ wings.

For this occasion, I picked two of my favorite Buffalo Wild Wings sauces: Caribbean jerk and the Buffalo dry rub.

The best part of the wings at Bdubs is, by far, the sauces. Every sauce is different and has a unique taste. At most places, I stay away from the sweet sauces and stick to the Buffalo, but here I can feel free to taste whatever is on the menu.

The Caribbean jerk is the perfect mix of sweet and heat with that jerk flavor. The Buffalo dry rub is one of my favorite flavorings to put on wings. It’s not really hot, but it has a salty, buttery flavor that really enhances the crispness of the skin on a freshly cooked wing.

Other favorites are the medium (the hot is almost too hot for me), the Asian Zing (a great sauce that I prefer with the boneless wings), and for something extremely hot I recommend the mango habanero. I could go down the list and recommend plenty of other the sauces, too, because that is what differentiates Bdubs from other chain wing places — the sauces are superior here.

Now I’ll tell you about the problems I have with this place.

It is very hard to get fresh, hot wings. Sometimes I go in there and order food and only five minutes later the server brings out lukewarm wings that taste soggy, like they have been sitting out for a while. I try to order “fresh” wings when I go there, but it is still not certain that they will bring out the good stuff.

Granted, sometimes I’ve gone in there and they serve me the piping hot, crispy wings without me even asking — but that should be every time. The fact that I have to even ask for them fresh shows they have a habit of serving up less than top-quality wings. The wings are also overcooked most of the time, giving you more of a “chicken jerky” than a juicy wing.

I’ve been watching the prices rise all these years, too. Without the special, you can spend $15 for 15 wings, giving a CPW of 100 cents. That is a high price when the wings don’t come out fresh. The Tuesday special (which used to be 25 cents back in the day) is up to 60 cents a wing.

Food quality aside, Bdubs is a great place to relax, watch the game and get some incredible sauces with your wings. They’re everywhere, so it’s nice to go to a familiar place while vacationing (or moving) out of town, and know exactly what to expect before you get there.

Everyone’s future is uncertain, but in my future I can guarantee three things: death, taxes and Bdubs.

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