My never-ending quest to find the best wings in DC takes us this week to Kenny’s Smokehouse Market, formerly Kenny’s BBQ at the corner of 8th and Maryland on Capitol Hill. Kenny’s has long been a staple on the Hill, operating for over 20 years. They even received a visit from President Obama once. And some have speculated that Kenny’s was the inspiration for Freddy’s BBQ Joint on the Netflix series House of Cards.
I have visited Kenny’s a few times before ownership changed hands last year, and was never impressed. Because of that, it took me a while to give it another try. Today was that day. I finally headed over to the new Kenny’s to give it a shot. But I never ended up with any BBQ, because I was pleasantly surprised to discover two options for wings on the menu: slow-smoked wings, and Buffalo wings. So, of course, the BBQ will have to wait.
I inquired about the wings and was told that their smoked wings are seasoned and served dry (without sauce). In addition, they are smoked whole: flats and drums still connected. The menu says there are 8 wings in the small serving, and it is, but you get 4 whole pieces. The Buffalo wings are separated and deep fried, and can be prepared either mild or hot. Though I’m not a huge fan getting both the flat and drum connected as one piece, the smoked option was to tempting to pass up, so those are the focus of this review. But you can bet I’ll be back for the Buffalo wings soon!
How they rate: Kenny’s Smokehouse Market, Slow-Smoked Wings Review
I’m going to stray from the usual focus on crunchiness here, because you won’t find that sort of a bite in a smoked wing, unless it’s overcooked. These wings were perfectly smoked. The meat was very tender and fell right off the bones! You could see slight red smoked tinge that you often get from the smoking process.
Because these wings were served dry, I expected that I was going to be forced to give them a low sauciness rating. However, as is mentioned often on this blog, different cooking methods yield different results on purpose. While they technically had no sauce on them, they were some of the juiciest wings I’ve had in DC. So much so that I actually had to reach for a new napkin several times to clean my hands. Juiciness = Sauciness. These were a success.
There was a savory seasoning on the outside of the wings that complimented the juicy smokiness of the meat under the skin. I’m not even sure if it was anything more than salt and pepper, but it was really good. The fat from the skin basted the meat as they cooked, and it gave them a full pure chicken flavor than you normally don’t get from deep fried wings.
From Start to Finish:
I wondered how good they’d be by the time I finished, mostly because I was afraid that without a good sauce the flavor would get old quickly. This was not the case. The last bite I took was as good as the first: tender, juicy, and full of flavor.
I ordered two sides to go with it, but the only other accompaniment was a dinner roll. It fits with the BBQ theme, but felt really out of place on my tray. There was no celery, and I had to ask for blue cheese. Thankfully it was provided without any additional charge. I get that it’s a BBQ joint, but swapping out the roll for some blue cheese should be a no-brainer.
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Kenny’s Smokehouse Market
Mon – Sat: 11am-9pm
$10 for 8 wings | $1.25/wing
$18 for 16 wings | $1.12/wing
$9 for 8 wings | $1.12/wing
$17 for 16 wings | $1.06/wing