Last Updated on April 10, 2020 by Jeremy
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Normally when we think of getting fried chicken wings, we think of heading to a gastropub where we can enjoy a dozen or so along with a few pints of beer from Pittsburgh breweries. We do this mostly because of the availability, but also because ordering wings for takeout was never really something on our radar.
That is to say, until we tried Big Shot Bob's House of Wings. After having these, there may be no going back.
A Feast of Flavor at Big Shot Bob's
In a way, looking at the menu at Big Shot Bob's is overwhelming. Their main product is, naturally, chicken wings which are available in various quantities in both bone-in and boneless styles.
This is the easy part. Deciding what flavors to get from the roughly 100 unique options, on the other hand, is not.
Working your way through the menu here is tricky as it is organized alphabetically and split only between Classic Flavors and Signature Flavors. This makes it tricky to sort through it all to compare those with base styles like barbecue, mustard, and the like as there is no rhyme or reason to many of the names.
In fact, even after looking over the menu for the better part of an hour we still somehow overlooked options that we would've possibly liked to try in our first visit (our fault) and were a little disappointed that a good number have little-to-no helpful descriptions at all (“The Most Interesting Flavor in the World” is simply described as “not hot, very interesting” which is to say, not helpful either).
Ignoring that, if you're like us and want to sample several of the wing flavors here, you're going to have to order in multiples of six (or eight for boneless) as flavor splits are only allowed on bulk purchases of 50 wings- with two flavors being the unfortunate max choice there. So we did what any good reviewers should do and ordered six unique flavors with a cross-section of barbecue, mustard, butter, and buffalo bases to at least get a solid taste to start.
They were the following:
- Bigfinewoman2000 – A dark barbecue base with black magic seasoning.
- Game Changer – A ranch base with butter, garlic, and parmesan.
- Gold Fire – A hot gold barbecue base.
- Napoleon Dynamite (with boneless wings) – A Buffalo base with cayenne.
- Talk of Beaver Falls – Described as hot and tangy only and one of their most popular flavors.
- Uncle Ricos (with boneless wings) – A honey mustard base with spices and garlic.
First, we should note that we ordered some as conventional bone-in wings and others as boneless. While this may have just been a fluke from our visit, we thought that all the bone-in wings had a fairly impressive crunch to them and overall enjoyed the size for what you get. The boneless, on the other hand, were less crispy and left a bit to be desired despite having a decent amount of meat.
Next up, the sauces. The Talk of Beaver Falls lived up to its reputation as being one of the chain's most popular and offered a really strong tanginess that was balanced with a heat that builds up as you eat and a strong pepper note on the back-end. Next time we may order the Walk of Beaver Falls instead as it is billed as being even hotter, but if you like spice this was by far the biggest kick out of our selection.
From there, Game Changer was also a favorite as the ranch, butter, and parmesan melded really well with the crispy chicken wings. If you are a garlic or butter fanatic, then this is the wing for you. However, die-hard ranch fans may think this one is light on that end of the flavoring. Likewise, Uncle Ricos also had a really nice balance of the honey mustard with the spices.
Bigfinewoman2000 and Gold Fire were a bit hit or miss as the dark barbecue base was somewhat on the sweeter side and the Gold Fire had a strong mustard flavor. Both could've used a bit more of the spices to balance things out. Likewise, the Napoleon Dynamite was more or less a fairly solid Buffalo base all around. It wasn't as strong on the cayenne as I would've liked, but at the same time it is hard to mess with the classics.
We rounded out our meal with an order of fries and opted to save the sandwich menu for a later visit. These came in a monster portion and were thick cut and lightly fried. I'd say they were a bit on the doughier end and could've stood to be fried longer, but as vehicles for dipping in the various wing sauces, we devoured them all the same.
Overall, I was fairly surprised with our first visit to Big Shot Bob's. Despite some oddities in the menu that made ordering tricky, we really enjoyed the wings here and look forward to sampling our way through the dozen upon dozen of sauces in the future. While you could argue that the wings here are more expensive than average, and the splitting flavors limitation is also a bit odd, we can overlook that for this one all the same.
Big Shot Bob's has several dozen locations all over Pittsburgh with more or less the same menu available at each. We ordered from the Sharpsburg location at 918 Main Street. Note that some locations are cash only.