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The Dish: PB&J BBQ wings
Where to Get It: Takoda, 715 Florida Ave. NW, (202) 525-1252, takodadc.com
What It Is:
A plate of fried chicken wings slathered with a cooked-down sauce of barbecue spices, grape jelly, and creamy peanut butter. Chef Damian Brown cures the wings overnight before frying them to a salty, sweet, and juicy finish. He tops them with Virginia peanuts. Vegetarians are in luck: Takoda recently introduced a fried cauliflower variation.
What It Tastes Like:
The wings have all the ingredients of a traditional PB&J sandwich, but the overall flavor profile is more subtle. Brown creates his sauce the same way he likes his sandwich—with a lot of jelly and a touch of peanut butter. The barbecue sauce has the acidity and sweetness of the grape jelly, while the chicken ties together the salty and savory notes.
When Brown interviewed for Takoda’s executive chef position, he had beer on the brain, and he knew he had to be creative with his menu when it came to beer pairings. The challenge? He doesn’t drink. So instead of tasting different beers for inspiration, he turned to combinations he knew couldn’t miss, such as the simple marriage of flavors in a PB&J. Not surprisingly, Takoda General Manager Sean MacDonald thought the idea was crazy. “I know peanuts get used a lot in Thai cooking, for example, but this was really pushing my personal limits for what I thought peanut butter could be used for,” he says. Brown notes that the dish gets weird looks, but manages to win over diners when they try it.