By Andi Prewitt
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Don’t even think about strolling into one of Portland’s Fire on the Mountain locations on Super Bowl Sunday expecting to leave with an armful of wings — unless you secured that order weeks in advance. While the Fremont store alone can crank out those saucy nuggets at the rate of 750 every 15 minutes, the rest of the city already called dibs on every morsel, leaving you to make do with a 50-piece box of Chicken McNuggets from a drive-thru to feed your viewing party of now-disappointed guests.
Scheduling your takeout from Portland’s most beloved wing spot ahead of any big sporting event is sound advice, including the University of Oregon-Oregon State University Civil War matchup at the end of November. But just in case you forget to call in before game day, FOTM has provided you with one of its recipes so you can recreate those glistening, crispy wings in your own kitchen.
Before we get to the chicken — the staple of the holiest of American sports rituals — it’s important to acknowledge a key supporting player at any football feast: pizza. And while best known for its wings, FOTM has its sauces doing double duty, slathering both the renowned free-range poultry as well as its newer neo-Neapolitan-style creations. One of the more popular house-made rotating condiments is Buffalo Nam, which finds itself nestled between gooey mozzarella and a medium-to-thin crust with a slight char in the “Almost Famous” Buffalo Pie.
The Buffalo sauce mixed with Vietnamese garlic paste keeps company with a classic marinara, giving the base some spunk in the form of a heat that builds on the back end. Tangy blue cheese crumbles temper the slow burn along with bitter, but refreshing, chopped green onion, both of which are added after the pizza has spent about four minutes in a 650-700 degree oven.
While not wood-fired, FOTM admiral of customer happiness/operations manager Mac Mullette said their baking method blackens the crust enough to mimic the authentic process. The resulting edges offer a satisfying crunch followed by a pillowy inside that’s perfect for soaking up a side of blue cheese. In fact, if you came to FOTM looking to chow down on wings, this pizza will satisfy those cravings when ordered with bite-sized chunks of succulent chicken. The complex flavors of the fusion pie are best matched by FOTM’s Shocks of Sheba IPA. Four hop varieties in the flagship beer provide a bitter kick that intensifies the heat of the Buffalo Nam sauce without overpowering other flavors.
Tongues of steel seek out FOTM’s bar snack with a smack. There are, of course, a range of wing sauces, and not all of them threaten to burn a hole in your esophagus. Perhaps the best part about the variety, though, is how each veers from region to region, country to country. Gather up all of the FOTM bottled sauces and you might just have yourself a miniature United Nations in liquid form.
The Bourbon Chipotle Wings remain firmly planted in the U.S. when it comes to flavor, with a tongue-tingling moderate level of heat. While gnawing at the meat bathed in chestnut-hued sauce, the experience meanders from smoky to sweet. Hints of molasses and tobacco combine with a building swelter. If a good, old-fashioned Southern church revival could be summed up in a single dish — this might be it. Relief from the spice can be found in FOTM’s Wonderin’ Rye. The sessionable golden ale has a chewy malt backbone and pilsner sweetness that shines after a nip at the wings.
Spending the length of the game grazing on savory food might have you ready for something sweet, whether that’s to celebrate your team’s victory or to find solace following defeat. A Fried Twinkie is a multipurpose dessert, then, and a friend to all sports fans. The snack cakes, coated in pancake batter before taking their boiling bath, emerge as a puffed-up version of themselves before they’re hit with a blizzard of powdered sugar. A crisp outer layer envelopes the spongy interior with a funnel-cake aroma that places you at the state fair midway. The Twinkie almost dissolves with the first bite and has captured the essence of a giant, warm Nilla Wafer in its transformation — the closest you can get to a hug in your mouth. A rich, dark beer like the Electric Mud Stout balances the carnival sweetness of the fried confection. Smooth chocolate notes will have this beer going down like a TGI Friday’s Mudslide without the tawdry presentation.
So why do we always gravitate toward wings and pizza when it comes to football season? Operations manager Mullette has a theory. They’re portable, for starters. “I think that just the finger food, you know, being able to kind of snack as you go — rather than an entire entree of something — will help with sitting over the long process of a football game,” he added.
It’s true — those hand-sized portions are practically begging to be snatched up. But they’re also foods that are now forever associated with letting loose and having fun. After all, it’s pretty hard to be in a bad mood when chicken wings are in the room. Just remember: order early.
Almost Famous Buffalo Pie
Paired with Fire on the Mountain Shocks of Sheba IPA
6-ounce chicken breast
1 pizza crust of your choosing; we use a 23-ounce crust for our 18-inch pizza
3 ounces of your favorite marinara sauce
3 ounces of Fire on the Mountains Buffalo Nam sauce; sold in restaurants or online at portlandwings.com in 12-ounce bottles
10 ounces shredded mozzarella
3 ounces blue cheese crumbles
6 ounces charbroiled chicken
6 ounces green onions, chopped
Cook chicken breast until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees, then put in fridge to cool. Cut into bite-sized pieces once chicken is cool enough to handle.
—Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
--Stretch out room-temperature pizza crust to the desired size and thickness.
--Mix marinara and Buffalo Nam sauce in bowl until well incorporated.
--Ladle sauce onto pizza crust and spread evenly to within about 3/4” of the edge of crust.
--Top with mozzarella and spread evenly over sauce.
--Top with chicken pieces and spread evenly over pie.
--Sprinkle blue cheese crumbles evenly over pie.
--Place pizza directly on oven rack or cooking stone, bake for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.
--Take out of oven and sprinkle green onions on top.
--Cut, serve and enjoy!
Bourbon Chipotle Chicken Wings
Paired with Fire on the Mountain Wonderin’ Rye
Chicken wings (quantity depends on number of people you are cooking for); we recommend 6-9 wings per person
Canola/soy fryer shortening or durable cooking oil with high smoke point
Fire on the Mountain Bourbon Chipotle sauce; sold at restaurants or online at portlandwings.com in 12-ounce bottles (we recommend 4 ounces of sauce for every 6-12 wings)
Celery stocks cut into long sticks
Your favorite blue cheese dressing for dipping; we sell house-made dressing at all restaurants
--Heat oil in deep fryer to 350 degrees. Oil should just cover the wings, so adjust amount based on number you are cooking. It’s best not to cook too many at a time so all sides of wings can come in contact with the oil and cook evenly.
--Cook wings for 10–15 minutes until golden brown, crispy and reach a minimum temperature of 165 degrees. They should be much hotter than this if you cook for the suggested time.
--Remove wings from oil and allow excess oil to drip off for 20 seconds, then transfer into big mixing bowl.
--Add Fire on the Mountains Bourbon Chipotle sauce and toss the wings thoroughly until coated.
--Plate wings and garnish with celery sticks and a side of your favorite blue cheese dressing.
Paired with Fire on the Mountain Electric Mud Stout
1 box Twinkies
1 bag Pancake batter
Canola/soy fryer shortening or cooking oil with high smoke point
DIRECTIONS—Heat oil to 350 degrees in deep fryer or big stockpot.
Prepare enough pancake batter to submerge and coat however many Twinkies you’re making; we make it a little thicker than what you would want for pancakes.
--Dip each Twinkie in batter until completely and evenly coated and gently drop into hot oil.
--Turn Twinkie after a couple of minutes or when submerged part is golden brown (it will be floating in the top of the oil).
--Once Twinkie is golden brown on all sides, remove from oil and allow excess oil to drip off for about 20 seconds.
--Plate Twinkie, dust with powdered sugar.
Monthly recipes and pairings from your favorite brewpubs around Oregon.