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.
By Andi Prewitt
Of the Oregon Beer Growler
It’s the time of year when thoughts turn to that momentous meal. The food is warm and filling. There always seems to be enough servings to feed a platoon because you never know when an unexpected guest will drop by. People we love are invited, but those we despise never fail to show up as well. Sometimes the day ends with wide smiles and robust embraces. However, it’s not uncommon for the occasion to slide into a disappointing funk — heads wearily resting on palms, eyes welling and enough cuss words clouding overhead you could almost choke on them. But no matter the outcome, you vow to do it again. It’s tradition, after all.
While Thanksgiving also happens during November, the meal we’re really focused on is the tailgater. Every week, millions of fans across the country stake out a patch of parking lot, lay claim to it by erecting E-Z UPs and lawn chairs, then prepare to do battle with a platter of ribs and any supporter of the opposing team who might wander into their territory. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat is what drives the tailgater. Luckily, either outcome is aided by a steady supply of craft beer.
The food at this somewhat simple form of recreation has traditionally been undervalued, perhaps because tailgating itself hasn’t been seen as the community-building activity that it really is. A day devoted to eating and bonding shouldn’t revolve around bean dip and Bud Light. This ain’t no weenie roast. Elevated menus are now becoming more common at these asphalt buffets outside of football arenas everywhere. And just a little more than a mile from Oregon State University’s Reser Stadium, there’s a brewery offering up some unique game day ideas that will fill your stomach and surprise your tastebuds no matter what goes on record as the final score.
Flat Tail Brewing is settled in the heart of downtown Corvallis along the Willamette River. Inside on a Saturday during football season, you’ll undoubtedly find the Beavers on the big screens and fans decked out in orange and black in the seats. Co-owner/brewer Dave Marliave describes Flat Tail as a brewery with homey, sports pub roots that also happens to serve boundary-pushing beer styles and food. The menu gets seasonal makeovers and saw its most recent update in late October. Given the brewery’s attention to not only beer but also food, along with its enthusiasm to root for the home team, Flat Tail seemed like the perfect pub to ask for advice about creating the perfect tailgating meal. Marliave and co-owner/chef Iain Duncan chose a mix of dishes from the new and traditional menus: halibut tacos, the Fricken Chicken sandwich and The Monty.
The action on the field hasn’t yet started, but the festivities are well underway. You don’t want to fill up too quickly, so tacos with a light fish as the primary protein keep the energy levels up as you build to the main course. Savory, deep-fried halibut and creamy avocado slices temper the pucker on Flat Tail’s Cucumber Session Sour, which was Marliave and Duncan’s suggested pairing. A unique and refreshing choice for a tailgater, this beer is crisp and tangy, which cleanses the palate after each bite of the taco’s spicy pico de gallo. The Cucumber Sour’s flavors are so bright it tingles and that helps to highlight the fresh tomato, onion and jalapeno topping.
You’re likely several beers in, so it’s time to refuel with some hearty fare. Marliave and Duncan wanted to depart from the traditional hamburger or hot dog for the main course and instead recommended the Fricken Chicken. It’s a dish that’s familiar in format but edges out of bounds with the flavors. Flat Tail’s effervescent Tailgater Kolsch is the perfect partner as the sandwich’s Sriracha ranch/mayo and chimichurri marinade pack a middle-of-the-road heat that slowly builds with each bite. The clean and crisp beer underscores the satisfying layers of crunch in the dish — from the breaded chicken to the sliced red onion to the deep-fried-to-a-golden-brown pickle chips. Bobbing between tangy and sweet, the spread and frickles add a twist to what could otherwise be a run-of-the-mill sandwich. Marliave described this as a “slam a beer with your buddies kind of meal.”
Whether you’re throwing high-fives to anyone within arm’s reach or cursing the final score, The Monty is going to help you celebrate or console. Flat Tail managed to find a way to improve French toast by using the buttery bread as the building blocks of a breakfast sandwich. Marliave and Duncan went with an analogous beer pairing — the 6 a.m. Stout. The creamy, smooth beer has hints of sweetness while roasty coffee notes balance out the dessert-style final course. Additionally, the stout can stand up to the rich and savory white cheddar and ham tucked in between the slices of bread. And if you end up having one too many on game day, The Monty might be your morning savior. It’s no surprise, then, that this dish is on Flat Tail’s “Hangover Fix” menu where you can get what’s truly the breakfast of champions all day, every day.
With months still left before this football season comes to an end, you have an opportunity every single week to create a menu and experiment with beer pairings. The food is approachable and you don’t need to be an expert chef to elevate your tailgating grub. Marliave noted that a trip to the local grocery store is all it takes to craft an interesting dining experience: “You can go to Safeway and make a pretty amazing meal and get some pretty incredible beer, you know? Unlike spending 30 bucks on a nice bottle of wine and going out to dinner and spending another 80 bucks on food is kind of the traditional way that people have looked at pairing. Now you can do it in your kitchen or even, you know, as we’re talking about today, you can do it tailgating.”
Paired with Flat Tail Tailgater Kolsch
By co-owner/Chef Iain Duncan
4 boneless chicken breasts, 5 ounces
4 favorite sandwich buns
4 slices swiss cheese
24 sliced pickle chips dill or sweet-fried
2 ounces Sriracha sauce
6 ounces favorite ranch dressing
sliced tomato and red onion
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
3 minced garlic cloves
1 chopped shallot
1 chopped jalapeno
1/2 cup minced cilantro
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced oregano
3/4 cup olive oil
Sriracha ranch sauce:
2 tablespoons Sriracha
1/2 cup ranch
1/2 cup mayo
— Marinate chicken breast overnight in chimichurri mixture.
— Grill chicken breast.
— Frickles: beat eggs and milk, dredge pickle in flour and cornmeal mix, deep fry until brown.
— Layer on bun with frickles, Sriracha ranch, lettuce, tomato and onion. Makes 4 sandwiches.
Paired with Flat Tail Cucumber Session Sour
By co-owner/Chef Iain Duncan
1/2 pound fresh halibut cut into bite-size pieces
2 limes, juiced
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 cup cornstarch
For pico de gallo:
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
7 jalapenos, diced
1/8 cup cilantro chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lime juice
Toppings: pico de gallo, avocado, sour cream, taco-sized tortillas
— In a bowl, whisk eggs, lime juice, ancho chili powder, salt.
— Add cut fish and let sit for 10 minutes.
— Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl.
— Toss marinated fish in flour mixture, sift out fish, and deep fry in oil until brown.
— Assemble tortilla, halibut, top with pico de gallo, avocado and sour cream. Makes 8 tacos.
Paired with Flat Tail 6 a.m. Stout
By co-owner/Chef Iain Duncan
4 slices of favorite bread
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound sliced ham, turkey or bacon
16 slices of white cheddar
— Heat oven to 400 degrees.
— Beat eggs, half-and-half, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in bowl.
— Dip bread in egg mixture and fry until brown on both sides.
— Build a sandwich with 2 slices of cheese on each piece of bread and put meat in the middle.
— Bake for 10 minutes. Slice in half, sprinkle powdered sugar on top and serve with syrup. Makes 4 sandwiches.
Monthly recipes and pairings from your favorite brewpubs around Oregon.