Alibi V.29 No.6 • Feb 6-12, 2020 

Restaurant Review

WInging It As We Go

Wing It Up brings chicken and waffles to the street

Wing It Up chicken
Everything here is perfect. Don’t be afraid to get a little messy eating it.
Dan Pennington

It’s no surprise to many that I genuinely love fried chicken in all forms, and wings fit the mold perfectly for all that is good about them. That crispy skin, the multitude of sauces and the ability to eat 12 in a single sitting usually add up to an all-around good time. This past Super Bowl Sunday, I made a trip to the Westside to hunt down a truck I had only found once, in a drunken exploration of downtown Albuquerque, to get my wing fix once more.

Wing It Up started operations last year, so they’re definitely a newcomer on the food truck scene, but just because they’re new doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re doing. Parked in front of Brewlab 101 (3301 Southern Blvd. NE), they had a bustling truck ready to pump food out as fast as you could order it. What was the best way to assess their chicken? When it comes to wings, I assume the only way to know if a place is truly good is by the quality of their sauces combined with the quality of the chicken.

Let’s get to the nitty gritty. Twelve dollars will get you 10 wings, a good deal no matter how you cut it. These weren’t morsel-sized wings either. These were meaty, bigger than your mouth can take in a bite wings. Of the 20 wings we ordered, we sampled the Sweet Red Chile, the Secret Rub, the Garlic Parmesan and the Golden BBQ. For good measure, we also grabbed two waffstix ($4 a piece, more on these later) and three Deep Fried Reese’s ($5). The feast that landed at our bartop was far more than I anticipated.

Let’s start with the Sweet Red Chile. They had a delightful punch of heat that wasn’t enough to scare off heat-sensitive folks, but left a warm tingle anywhere it touched. It had a great sweet flavor to it that wasn’t overpowering and balanced well with the heat. The chicken itself was equal parts tender and juicy, as it should be, and was earnestly a true complement to the sauce in every way possible.

The Secret Rub was doused in spice, and your first bite gave way to an explosion of tastes and scents as you processed everything that happened. It’s a bit peppery, a little hot and it has that je ne sais quoi that adds to the mystery of what you’re munching down on. It’s always a risk to try a secret anything, but this one paid out proper.

The Garlic Parmesan wings were sublime. There were straight-up small chunks of garlic hanging within the sauce and that strong parmesan flavor went perfectly with them, as most Italians will speak testament to. Surprisingly, this sauce went really well with the Secret Rub, due to a dropped wing making contact with a sauce spot. Maybe throw that combo in the mix when you go check them out.

Finally, here’s what I considered the best of the bunch, the Golden BBQ. It had all that robust BBQ flavor you’re looking for in a BBQ sauce, with a little more sweetness. With only five wings to split with this sauce between my companion and I, it became clear that a battle would break out for the last one, since no Solomon solution would do for this one.

The waffstix are the food truck answer to waffles. They’re literally waffles on sticks, and you can get them covered in syrup, chocolate or more. They were fluffy on the inside, a touch crispy on the outside and perfectly portable for the eater on-the-move.

Finally, the Deep Fried Reese’s. Arguably my favorite candy of all time, deep frying them in batter and then drizzling them with chocolate only made them all the better for it. The peanut butter was practically melting out of it when you bit in for the first time, leaving you with love in your heart (plus a little extra cholesterol for good measure.)

Wing It Up deserves your love. It’s a tough world out there for those getting their starts, and these were genuinely refreshing takes on wing sauces that broke the mold and tried something a little different. Hunt them down, don’t wait for their magic to find you. This is the food truck your life has been missing.