*Update as of 03/09/2018
This challenge format seems to have changed somewhat. The wings now cost £28. Apparently only beating the fastest time at the venue now will get you the meal for free. You are also limited to two flavours now.
I’ve gone back and had another crack at it, without the buttermilk batter wings. My time second time round was 9.16, letting them cool and also avoiding the breaded ones was a big factor in a much faster time. The Garlic parmesan still have some more coating than buffalo, but they were just too darn good not to get. If you really want to push the time, go Buffalo and BBQ flavours as they’ll be the smallest in volume.*
A new challenge has launched!
Absurd Bird has launched a new wing challenge across three venues. So, I went to check it out. The challenge consists of 24 large chicken wings of your choice of flavour(s). The choices are Buffalo, BBQ, Garlic Parmesan & Lemon, and Crispy Buttermilk. You have to place in the top 10 fastest times on the board to get the challenge free, win a T-shirt, and have your name added to the wall of fame. If you lose, you pay £24 for wings.
(I forgot to take a picture again… So here is one from Absurd Bird’s social media)
Wings are a funny food when it comes to eating challenges. For a start, they are a ‘debris’ food, i.e. you can’t just go all out unless you want to run the risk of chocking on the bones. You need to have a tactic to get through them fast. The other peculiarity, is the size. 20 wing can take you a minute, 20, or somewhere inbetween. The number of wings has little to do with how much you are actually going to be eating, and let me tell you, Absurd Bird was not messing around when they picked theirs. These things were huge.
Now, since I went on launch day, just finishing the challenge would mean I would be on the board, less pressure, but no one from London had set a good time, so the pressure was back on to change that. At the moment, the leader board is still quite empty, so you have a good shot at scoring an awesome meal for free. I’m sure it will get tougher the longer this is around, and more people conquer it, and we see faster and faster times. Hopefully, with some advice here, you can defeat this challenge without much trouble.
For my attempt, I split my wings across all the flavours. Now, even if you love one type, I suggest you do this, as with any food, a lot of one thing can get boring really fast. Flavour fatigue is real with challenges. I alternated between BBQ, Buffalo, and Parmesan, saving the Buttermilk for last. At the start I thought they would retain the heat the most due to the crispy batter layer, so I wanted to give them more time to cool. What I didn’t expect is just how good an insulation that batter was. Even at the end, they were steaming hot when I broke into them.
Flavour wise, my favourite was the Garlic Parmesan. That kick of garlic, oh wow, happy memories. Rich, juicy and full of flavour. Buffalo was pretty standard if you have ever tried the flavour, solid. BBQ was as expected as well, they were great at the start, but as usually happens, the flavour becomes too sickly sweet in large quantities for me. The Crispy Buttermilk are what you imagine when someone mentions fried chicken. A very generous layer of batter was crisp to the bite and the chicken inside was a good, juicy contrast. The only issues with these were the size and the heat. They felt twice the size of the others due to the batter. If you want to go fast, I recommend either avoiding these or just getting less than other flavours. If you do go for these, break them apart at the start to let the heat escape. On my run they caught me off guard as I had to let them cool which meant each took twice as long as the other variety.
Technique wise, you apply what you do with small wings, but it just might take a few more bites. I broke the wings into 3 parts with my hands. The drum, the flat, and the tip. For the drum, I just ate it like corn on the cob. Turn it sideways, bite down, and spin. For the flat, you can either grab where the two bones meet, pull apart, and pull the meat off that way, or just try pull the bones out before you bite it. Since these are large wings, don’t forget to use your hands as you go along. Whilst you are chewing, debone the next part and just keep going. For the tips, there isn’t much meat there. You can probably miss these out to save space and time. I tried my best to clean them. Nothing but clean bones when I do challenges, otherwise it feels like cheating and a waste to me. These are big wings. They are saucy. You will get dirty, just accept your fate and go for it.
The volume of food is considerable, even more so with the Buttermilk. It’s doable, but I definitely recommend not eating on the day if you are going to do this. I felt pretty full towards the end. I was told each wing is about 120g on average, so without sauce, the challenge is about 2,9kg, minus the bones, so realistically maybe just over 2kg. To put into perspective, I had 4 buckets of wings, and in the end one bucket was filled with bones. Overall, it took me 20 minutes and 14 seconds. Just missed finishing under 20, but not a bad result by any means. More importantly, it was good fun. Everyone got involved, from the staff at Absurd Bird to the other competitors, everyone wanted to make a good event of it, and that really stood out. Competing or not, finishing or not, I saw smiles all around… or maybe that was just hallucinations setting in from all the food…
I highly recommend giving this one a go, the earlier the better (less competition), at one of the following locations:
54 COMMERCIAL STREET , LONDON , E1 6LT
20 ST LAWRENCE STREET, CITY CENTRE, BATH , BA1 1AN
UNIT 22, GUILDHALL, QUEENS STREET DINING, EXETER, EX4 3HP