October 11, 2013

Russell’s Pic II

It is no surprise to anyone who asks when I say that Pic-A-Lilli Inn’s wings are my favorite by far. But did you know that there are other Pic’s out there, such as Pic-A-Lilli’s in Atlantic City and Russell’s Pic II in Hammonton? They are all part of the family, and when Bonnie Lynn told me to stop into her uncle’s bar to grab some sweet wings, you know I did just that.

Russell’s Pic II is a little house-looking bar right off the White Horse Pike in Hammonton, not too far from the original Pic on 206. I’ve been meaning to get in there for quite some time, but never found myself in the area. It seemed that time presented itself when I happened to be in that neck of the woods needing to drop off a groundhog (it’s a long story, but I assure you that it is not a bathroom reference). Either way, I was hungry and the bar was close, so my wife and I went in to order some grub. It’s not a very large place, but they did have some room towards the back, which is where we sat, and an outside deck for those nicer days. We ordered up some beer and grabbed the menu to see what was in store for our lunchtime craving.

It didn’t take long to find what I was looking for as a big cartoon bird dressed like a bad ass super hero led me to the wing section. How do I know he was bad ass? Well he had pretty awesome reflective sunglasses and a couple of beers in his hand… and a freakin’ cape. And we all know capes are bad ass. But I digress. The wings, or Super Wings as they are called (see, now it all makes sense), came in a quantity of six, and according to the menu are “Internationally Famous.” I’m not quite sure what that means except if someone was visiting from a different country and said “Hey I heard of these.” It’s almost like Union Jack’s claiming to be “The World’s Best.” How could you really know that? However, famous is famous and it was up to me to find out why. So I ordered up six of these bad boys in the Spicy sauce while my wife, who prefers a boneless approach, took up their Tails in the Spicy as well. For those who don’t know the chicken lingo, “Tails” refers to chicken breast tenders that are dipped, fried, and served smothered in wing sauce (See photo on right). I love eating at a wing joint with my wife for this very reason: I get to try, and EAT, more varieties of wings without looking like a crazy undecided customer. Seeing how I already got a side of the Xtra Hot and Infernos to try, this was a plus.

My wings came out in a silver bowl, and right away I could smell the honey used in the sauce. One bite confirmed that these wings were definitely on the sweeter side (as opposed to Pic where you can taste more of the pepper). The flavors in the sauce were incredible though. There was a candy-like quality to it from the sugar and honey which married nicely to the pepper flavors, though I did feel the honey was a bit heavy handed. Not by much, but enough to mute the heat levels and steer the dish slightly away from the Buffalo side of things. The chicken, however, was cooked to perfection. The meat was so tender it fell off the bones which also made tearing apart the wing joints super easy. And while I’m talking again about super things, I have to admit that these Super Wings, were Super Puny in size. I’ve seen this plenty of times before when I go in one time and get great sized wings, but the next time they are small. I’m sure this has to do with the chicken supplier, but I would hope that these things would be more consistent like the way they are prepared. No matter the size, the flavor reigned supreme and I couldn’t get enough, so I reached over to my wife’s plate to try out those Tails.

The Tails were huge chunks of fresh meat, and like the wings, were tender and juicy with the same incredible sauce. I dipped them into the Xtra Hot and Infernos to see what the other sauces brought to the table. From what I tasted, the Xtra Hot didn’t have that honey flavor and brought a good amount of heat. So, my brilliant brain decided to mix it into the Spicy to crank up the pepper flavor and heat that were slightly lacking. And man did it do the trick! Those two combined was like the perfect sauce: sweet and hot, with a touch of candiness. The Infernos on the other hand, wasn’t really as hot as the name implies. It had heat, don’t get me wrong, and is the kind that crept up on me and hit the back of the throat, but was very bearable.

Overall, the wings at Russell’s Pic II were incredible. The way that they prepared their chicken, being so tender, and the flavors they were able to achieve with their sauce was more than enough to make me want to come back again and again. I highly recommend stopping in and trying them out for yourself, especially if you like Pic-A-Lilli’s wings but was like “Man I wish there was a place that was close by and made them a little sweeter.” Either way, you will not be disappointed.

Russell’s Pic II
386 White Horse Pike, Hammonton, NJ 08037
(609) 567-9886