NEWPORT NEWS—In response to the chicken wing shortage that is currently gripping the country, Smoke Restaurant co-owner Steve Walters took matters into his own hands and created an alternative that he calls “thwings.”
“He came up with the idea at home, then brought it to the restaurant,” says Chef Reginald ‘Reggie’ Baltimore. “We tinkered around with it to the point where we perfected the marination and smoking processes to give him the product that he really wanted.”
“Thwings” are chicken thighs that may not be as well-known as their wing counterparts, but Smoke is hoping they’ll catch on in a big way. “It’s very popular,” says Baltimore. “It’s the biggest thing out now and we’ve been selling a lot of them. I guess people are trying them and putting the word out on how good they are.”
The dish is offered as an entrée instead of an appetizer, but it includes two sides, a corn muffin, and four brined and smoked “thwings” for $14.
Have people been reluctant to try them because they’re not as familiar as chicken thighs? According to Baltimore, not at all.
“I know that some people are locked in on their wings and they’re used to having them all the time, and sometimes people are in their comfort zone and not willing to try something new, but I haven’t heard anything negative about this,” he said. “They’re very tasty.”
Baltimore is quick to give some credit to the team members who smoke the meats. “It takes their magic to make it work,” he added.