Have you heard there’s a new wing in town? It’s called a “hawg wing.” Visiting Buffalo, home of Buffalo wings, is always a treat. Despite a town known for blustering winters, Buffalonians get it right with food.
My mother had been telling me about hawg wings for more than a year. Finally over the Christmas holiday I got to taste these juicy little hog shanks at Braun’s Restaurant in Newstead, NY, “Home of the Original Hawg Wings.” The town of Newstead is a bit out of the way for travelers to Buffalo and the Niagara Falls area (about 30 minutes from Buffalo and 50 minutes from Niagara Falls). Braun’s itself is not a place tourists or business travelers would think of visiting, but the hawg wings make the trip worthwhile.
With its casual atmosphere, the restaurant is a great place to rub elbows with the locals. Fans of the movie, “A Christmas Story” will appreciate the fishnet stocking-clad leg lamp in the restaurant’s window.
While I don’t know the exact date these tasty bites were “born,” I do know in 2004 Braun’s hawg wings were awarded “Rookie of the Year” at the National Buffalo Wing Festival. Braun’s also won awards in the 2005 and 2006 festivals in the “Best Creative BBQ Wing Sauce” and “Best Traditional BBQ Wing Sauce” categories.
Buffalo wings are chicken while hawg wings are the shank of a pig. Like a Buffalo wing, the hawg wing is deep fried but unlike a chicken wing, it’s then grilled. It’s soaked in a sauce, ranging from hot and tangy to sweet and mellow. Each hawg wing is tender, succulent and about the size of a deck of cards. Since the hawg wings are served with a heaping pile of French fries, two wings are filling.
As a family of seven meat-eaters with hearty appetites, we ordered the 12 count portion ($28.95) of hawg wings and could select up to three different sauces out of four. We tried Braun-B-Que, Kickin’-Que and Sweet Apple. After hearing the waitress’s warning about the fiery fourth sauce, Spicy Cajun, we steered clear of it. A fifth sauce has been added to the line up since our visit: Fire Berry. A side of sauce is served with each flavor, too.
Kickin’-Que and Braun-B-Que won over our pallets. Kickin’-Que was closest to a true Buffalo wing flavor with the appropriate amount of kick. Braun-B-Que had zip with a hint of honey. Sweet Apple, however, was a disappointment. Our taste buds called out for a quasi-wing flavor but were met with the sweet and mellow taste of pork chops and applesauce.
The meal began with Braun’s signature appetizer, Pestagueze Dip with garlic and roasted pita ($7.95). The dip is full of olive oil, cheese, pesto and garlic, melded together in a gooey yumminess. Be sure to ask for extra pita wedges. Mozzarella sticks ($5.95) and salads ($4.29 – $7.49) complemented the meal.
Hawg wings are a relatively new food on Buffalo’s taste buds. A visit to Braun’s to savor the flavor is worth the trip.
11891 Main Street,
Newstead, NY 14001
Tel: (716) 542-2425
Mondays through Saturdays: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sundays: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.