At the National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, New York, this Labor Day Weekend, patrons will have the chance to try wings from restaurants all over the world, including Mexico, London and even Laramie, Wyoming.
Double Dub’s food truck will be competing at the festival for the first time, and owner Trent Weitzel couldn’t be more excited.
“It’s something I’ve always dreamed of ever since I started doing the food truck and chicken wings and everything,” he told the Boomerang earlier this week. “I’m getting nervous about it; we have to drive out and just get all of the sauces prepped and everything ready.”
Weitzel said it’s been a dream almost seven years in the making, and he’d been actively trying to enter the festival for the past five years. Despite telling festival organizers about the buzz his wings have generated, like a shout out in national magazine “Eat This, Not That,” one small detail continued to keep him out of the festival each year:
“They wouldn’t let me in because I’m not a brick and mortar (restaurant),” Weitzel explained.
Determined that this would be his year, Weitzel called organizers and tried the last item in his arsenal, mentioning one of his regulars was former University of Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, who now plays for the Buffalo Bills.
“I told (them) I don’t like name dropping, I really don’t, but I really want to get into this festival really badly and just show people how good my wings are,” Weitzel said.
He said the organizers told him they would be open to letting him in the festival if Allen would call, text or tweet and vouch for Double Dub’s wings.
Weitzel called the number he had from when Allen was ordering wings multiple times a week, hoping it was still the right one.
It went straight to voicemail.
“He ended up calling back,” Weitzel said. “I told him the scenario, what was going on and he was more than happy to call.”
With the Bills’ quarterback on his side, Weitzel was in the festival.
Although it’s considered a buffalo wing festival, to keep an even playing field all the wings are cooked by the festival “so it’s not a smoked wing versus a deep-fried wing,” Weitzel said. Competitors bring their sauces for the different categories, which range from creative spicy to barbecue, dry rub to traditional buffalo sauce.
Weitzel has entered three different categories. He chose his WWII sauce for the traditional buffalo sauce category and his WWIV sauce for the “Traditional: X-Hot” sauce category.
“I just figured it’s a chicken wing contest, it’s a buffalo contest, you might as well try to see how your buffalo sauces stack up with everybody else’s,” he said.
Known for occasionally playing with unique sauce flavors and combinations at his food truck in Laramie, Weitzel also plans to enter the craft sauce category with his Pony Up sauce, a horseradish sauce.
Weitzel started the food truck after cooking wings with his friends transition to cooking wings for parties and events. After getting and outfitting the truck himself, the demand for his wings continued to grow with community support.
Although the competition usually requires a physical restaurant to compete, Weitzel said he’s not interested in transitioning away from the food truck. The low overhead costs and flexible hours with the truck help him to spend more time at home with his four children.
Next week Weitzel and 11 of his friends, supporters and business partners will make the drive across the country for the festival.
“I’m just really excited about going and kind of nervous,” he said. “The unknown is pretty nerve-wracking.”
Still, Weitzel said he’s pretty confident his wings will perform well at the festival. His wife is from New York, and they’ve had a chance to scope out the competition at a previous year’s festival.
“I know what I’m getting myself into, and I’m ready to kick everybody’s butt,” he said with a laugh. “It’s a lot of fun having the backing of the community helping me out, the different businesses and stuff, it’s just a lot of fun.”
The food truck’s schedule can be found posted on its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/WWDoubleDubs/.