“People were kind of put off at first,” Skover says. “Then they tried it, and kept coming back.”
Paisano’s peanut butter-and-jelly hot wing went on to win the night’s top wing title. It was so popular that the restaurant is now working on scaling up the recipe so the novelty can be added to its regular menu.
Skover’s business partner, Mark Slater, came up with the PB&J concept. “It seems like lately he’s been doing a lot with peanuts,” Skover says. “I don’t know if it’s a peanut phase.” Initially, Skover suspected Slater was doing decidedly the wrong thing by saucing wings with peanut butter. The first experimental batch tasted like disappointing pad Thai, and the following four iterations weren’t much better.
“We almost abandoned it,” Skover says. “Then we got to the point where we were like, ‘this is really good.’”
Adding more heat; allowing the marinade to rest for a week and garnishing the wing with crushed peanuts and cilantro “made it more believable as a wing,” Skover says. At the Wingapalooza, the wing was served with a squiggle of strawberry jelly; Skover and Slater are working out whether the jelly should be applied by cooks or served on the side.
Because of its uniqueness, the freshly-fried peanut-butter wing seemed like a good fit for an event at which most vendors were scooping Buffalo-style wings out of chafing dishes. But the restaurant has also recently developed a Summer Heat wing, made with pineapples and jalapeno, and a garlic Parmesan wing.
“It’s really good,” Skover says. “But we wanted to do something that you couldn’t get somewhere else.”
For more information about Paisano’s wing roster, call 762-1135 or visit paisanosji.com. Paisano’s has locations on James Island and in West Ashley.