I have some friends who have been talking up Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company for a while now. I’ve had it before as takeout at said friend’s house multiple times. It’s been pretty good, so when I saw they had grilled wings on their menu, I knew I had to make a visit. I’d been anticipating this one quite a bit. So on a recent Thursday night I rounded up a small group and made a rush hour trek out to Arlington. Rocklands does have a location in Georgetown and one inside Capitol One Arena. They also have a restaurant in Alexandria. But given we were heading out at rush hour an had no tickets to any games, Arlington seems to be the most accessible for us. I’m not sure if there is a “best time” to get to Georgetown. Rush hour definitely isn’t it.

I’m really hoping we just caught Rocklands on an off night. If I’m able to give them a try again, I’ll re-adjust their score if it was indeed just a randomly bad evening. The wings were small, which I’d be told beforehand to expect. There was nothing hot ‘n’ spicy about these wings, and they left a lot to be desired.

 

How they rate: Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company, Hot ‘n’ Spicy Chicken Wing Review

Texture:

The texture was disappointing. Looking at these little drums and flappers, it’s clear they were grilled. I’m just not sure when. Probably not right before they were served to us. Visually they carried the classic grill marks and scorched skin that have me salivating as soon as the tray was dropped off at the table. Sometimes looks can be deceiving. When I bit into it the skin was soggy, and had no crunchy texture to it whatsoever. They were lukewarm. If I had to guess, they’d been grilled several hours earlier and were sitting in large pile under a warmer.

Sauciness:

The wings had a light coating of sauce on them. I asked a server what kind of sauce they had on them and I was told it was their BBQ sauce. Their sauce isn’t very thick, so it stands to reason that there’d be little sauce left on the wings after grilling.

Flavor:

I do enjoy Rocklands BBQ sauce, so the flavor was good…but it was hard to get past the texture, the temperature, and wondering wether or not these had been reheated in a microwave. They have a soup pot full of BBQ sauce that customers can ladle into little cups. I got one of my own for another part of my meal, and it had a good burst of flavor thanks to the plentiful, half dissolved onions that had been roasting in all day. However, I have a hard time thinking of these as either hot or spicy. Not only were they not actually very warm, but there is no heat whatsoever to the sauce.

From Start to Finish:

Well, considering I didn’t start with a terrific bite, it’s not hard to see where this is going. They didn’t get any better as I went along. I really wanted to like these and they certainly looked the part, but there was no helping the texture. I can only imagine, but I bet receiving fresh wings off the grill would have jumped the review by a solid 25-30 points. Such a shame.

Accompaniments:

The wings were served with a one of those normal small cups of blue cheese. I went back to the counter and asked for two more cups…but they only gave me one. There was no celery present, however there was a condiments bar that allowed me to create my own interesting mix of pickled crudités. I filled up several cups of a spicy pickled daikon radish and pickled onion and greatly enjoyed both. Not ideal, but if I had been served those in the place of celery without having to go find it on my own, I probably would have went wild over it. Instead, it was an afterthought.

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Rocklands Barbeque

Sunday: 11am-9pm

Mon-Thurs: 11am-9:30pm

Fri & Sat: 11am-10pm

Value:

$8.99 for 8 wings | $1.12/wing