Basil City and the PB&J chicken wing

PBJ wings.jpg

The PB&J wing from Basil City

By Danielle Sanzone

Update July 2013: Rochelle reports this place has closed.

As chicken wings go, I've always been kind of a purist.

I like traditional hot wings -- the kind they make at The Ruck. Spicy, please, with blue cheese on the side.

But a few weeks ago, my boyfriend came home with wings from a new pizza and wing joint on 15th Street in Troy. Peanut butter and jelly wings.

My first thought? "Ewww. Why would somebody do that to a chicken wing?"

But he'd been talking about Basil City wings for a few weeks -- and his coworkers had been raving about the place -- so I gave them a shot.

It took one bite for me to go "ewww" to "mmmm" and to make me curious about the 40 other flavors of wings on the Basil City menu. From bourbon, to teriyaki, to peanut butter and fluff.

Also: the Burning Human challenge.

Sean McCafferty has been working at pizza and wing places most of his life. He says he was 15 when he knew he wanted to work with food, and 23 when he opened his first place -- a diner in Hoosick Falls that he says "failed miserably." But he never gave up. Now he owns Bomba's in Scotia, where he offers about 50 flavors of wings. And about three weeks ago he opened Basil City in Troy, where he says the best 40 of his wing creations are available.

Basil City exterior.jpg

McCafferty says chicken wings are just a fun medium for him to experiment with different flavors. After years of making them hot, medium, or mild, he started playing. He says he was just messing around in the kitchen about five years ago when he tried peanut butter and jelly on a wing. He also added a little hot sauce. He experimented for years with the combination of sweet and savory until he found the current recipe.

PBJ wing CU.jpg

Now, peanut butter and jelly wings were new to me. But if you Google them, you'll find that they are, in fact, a thing. Brown's offered them a while back, as did Troy's Park Pub.

So, would I get them at Basil City again? Yep.

The full list of wing options at Basil City includes: traditional mild to extra hot wings, as well as BBQ -- honey or bourbon BBQ -- garlic parm, garlic butter, Memphis gold, chicken parm, bourbon teriyaki, peanut butter and fluff, Memphis bourbon, ketchup, and something called the Burning Human.

The Burning Human

Basil City Burning Human signs.jpg

The Burning Human is a super-hot wing -- its sauce is made from ghost pepper extract. How hot are they? So hot that the guys in the kitchen at Basil City don't even touch the sauce with their hands. They coat the wings in a jar. The especially brave (or crazy) can request the Burning Human wing eating challenge: eat ten of these super-hot, wings in 3 minutes or less and you get them free. No dipping. No drinks. Losers have to pay.

Basil City Rules.jpg

A burning wing challenge can break out at any time. Win or lose, every contestant's picture ends up on McCafferty's "Wall of Fame" or "Wall of Shame."

Basil City walk of fame.jpg

Basil City Wall of Shame.jpg

There are some really painful expressions in the photos from both the winners and losers.

Basil City loser.jpg

No. I didn't try them. Well, not at first.

This weekend, after finishing a few beers, my friend Andy decided he had to give the challenge a shot. So on Saturday night we headed over. Sean gave him several opportunities to back out, but Andy wasn't having it. He seemed to be doing pretty well -- at first. But he only got through about five wings before the 3 minutes were up. He did manage another 2 1/2 after losing the challenge. Still, in the end, Sean took his photo for the Wall of Shame.

And then, it happened.

I decided, "What the heck. I'll try one of the leftover wings." As I brought it to my mouth, I could see Sean in the background saying, "I wouldn't...do that." But it was too late. I had one bite of the Burning Human wing. Just one bite. It takes about 15 seconds for the ghost chile to kick in. And that's when my eyes started to tear up. After just one bite. I felt almost like I was about to have a heart attack.

As it turns out, Sean's attorney advised him to post the words "Eat at your own risk" on the wall. "Those aren't up there for decoration," he said to me about the signs.

Three blue-cheese-dipped garlic knots later I started to feel better. I finished a great slice of buffalo chicken pizza, but my eyes were still tearing.

Trying some of the other wings

Here are some thoughts on some of the wings I tried on my first trip to Basil City:

PB&J
Not what you'd think. A peanut sauce with something sweet and a kick -- like a Thai peanut wing.

Memphis gold with bourbon sauce
With its pretty sheen -- and alcoholic description -- it was especially appetizing. Starting off with a slightly crunchy surface, it was sweet but slightly tangy, too.

Garlic butter
Basil City Garlic Butter 2.jpg
Buttery, garlicky goodness. I'd definitely get this again.

Peanut butter and fluff
Basil City Fluff wings 1.jpg

Basil City fluff CU.jpg

Sweet. A lot of sweet. Very, very sweet. And I have a sweet tooth.

All the wings at Basil City are the same price: $3.99 for a half order (5 wings) and $7.49 for a full order (10).

Find It

Basil City
2304 15th Street
Troy, NY 12180

271-2274

Tues-Thurs: 3 pm to midnight
Fri-Sat: 3 pm to 2 am
Sun: 3 pm to 10 pm
Closed Mondays

Comments

I've completed the challenge in 2:15. They were spicy but not crazy. The flavor was good although Buffalo Wild Wings might be a bit tastier.

I don't know how you ate 10 of those....kudos.

First off, good luck to the new business.

Second, and I hate to send people to another establishment, especially one on the wrong side of the Hudson but peanut butter & jelly wings aren't anything new. Take your little behinds up to the Park Pub at Frear Park. They've been doing them pretty well for a couple of years now.

Although I haven't tried Basil City, The Park Pub is the original PB&J and it would be hard to beat....

When I saw "PB&J chicken wing" I thought, "Well, that's nothing new, they had that at (the now-closed) Bomba's in Waterford." Then I read the article and it turns out it's the same guy. I never was adventurous enough to try the PB&J and PB&fluff wings when the Waterford Bomba's was open, but I wish Sean the best of luck with his new establishment and I hope his wings find the audience they deserve.

Brendan, the fact that the Park Pub also does PB&J wings was included in the above story, with a link, but I'm definitely interested in trying out other versions of the wing now so thanks for the reminder.
Is it on their everyday menu?

I just had smokey bacon bourbon wings at an establishment in Johnstown, PA that was incredible maybe some one in the Albany area can try to duplicate. I can't wait to try some different flavored wings at Basil City.

I have had the same experiences Danielle. I went to Basil City for the first time 2 weeks ago and have been back about 4 times since. The wings are to die for and the pizza is far and away the best in the capital region. I have been telling all of my friends to go there.

So . . . this question is for everyone at AOA: Is everything terrific?

How does the floor taste at Basil City? "It's AMAZING!"

How is Matt Baumgarteners latest fast food joint? "TERRIFIC!"

Are you running out of superlatives yet? People tell me that reading this blog is very alienating to Albanians and now I see why. You people have nothing negative to say about anything. Are you running for office?

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