For the past month or so, my brother-in-law has been trying to coordinate a trip with me to JoJo’s Tavern located in Hamilton, NJ. According to him, they have the best wings in his area, and after many failed attempts to meet up, our schedules finally coincided leaving us JoJo’s bound. So I head into Hamilton, park the car and walk into this small and friendly place. As I take my seat at the bar and the attractive bartender hands me my beer, I begin to understand why Bill frequents this pub… though he may claim that it’s because of the food. But then again that’s why I’m here, I suppose, so let’s get to it.
Now, I don’t know if it was because of the conversation I was having or the bartender acting as a distraction, but for some reason I ordered Mild with a side of Hot when they also carry a Medium sauce – which I would’ve preferred. When I realized what I had done and tried to fix the situation, I was let in on a little secret. I was told that it is all the same sauce… the heat levels just dictate how much sauce they put on the wings (if you want Mild, they lightly toss them in the sauce, and if you want Hot, they drown them). I was curious to see how accurate this claim was and waited in anticipation for my wings to arrive.
The wings came out piping hot and looked awesome. The side of Hot that I ordered came along side the wings in a fancy-pantsy gravy boat that made me chuckle. I sampled a wing with just the Mild, then (with pinky out) I poured the Hot sauce over the rest and tried one of those as well – and you know what… she was right! The sauces tasted exactly the same. Lucky for me, the sauce was delicious so it really didn’t matter. It had a tangy taste with a little sweetness that reminded me of something I would find on a good plate of ribs. Now bring in a little pepper flavor and it works wonders on these wings as well. The flavor was outstanding and each bite was better than the last. Though Bill handles heat like a penguin in a desert (sweating over the Mild sauce) I, on the other hand, wish it packed a bit more as I could barely get a sizzle on my lips.
The chicken itself could have used a bit more work though. Other than the size, which was a tad larger than the norm, it was pretty much the type of chicken you would find at any average bar selling Buffalo wings. There are people out there who base a great wing just by the sauce alone, but this critic is looking for the whole package. I wish there was some more tenderness to the meat and a bit more flavor to the skin, but that’s just me being picky.
Though JoJo’s is well known for their Tomato Pie, don’t overlook the fact that they also carry a great wing dish. If you are in the area and haven’t done so already, I would recommend stopping in to grab a plate and try them for yourself ’cause you’ll be happy that you did. So, thanks to Bill and his Hamilton-onians who have been trying to get me here for some time.