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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Traveling Cowboys: Wing Night With the Two Cowboys in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Waterton Wing Night Wings

"Wing Night is a ceremonial and sacred evening during which many chicken wings will be eaten by a gathering of gluttonous friends. Each step of the preparation and consumption of the wings is carefully orchestrated and held holy. Deviation from tradition (i.e. inviting your girlfriend, not eating til breathing is difficult, leaving early, not toasting the first wing, not getting everyone a beer when yours is finished or you get up, bringing non-wing food to the gathering, de-winging during the meal) is strictly and violently forbidden. The only consumables other than chicken wings welcome at wing night are blue cheese dressing, celery stalks, and beer - lots and lots of beer."

We checked in with three establishments in Waterton Lakes National Park's Town Site to find more out about their wing offerings. We were spoiled for choice in what is essentially a really small town. Here is what we found.


Zum's Eatery and Mercantile 

Zum's is an institution when it comes to southern-style fried chicken in Waterton. As a result, their chicken wings didn't disappoint. They know their chicken. It was lightly breaded, well cooked and succulent to the bone.

The sauce didn't have the kick we were looking for. Instead, it had the flavour that complemented the wing nicely. The challenge with southern-style wings is that it is a rich wing. You will have to pace yourself not to fill up too quickly.

Is it a typical Wing Night wing? For the Cowboys, it needed more heat and we will probably not run out of beer, as you should when having Zum's hot wings. It is more your Sunday lunch kind of wing. Add the restaurant's amazing patio and scenery and you have a must-do stop in Waterton where you can take the whole family for fried chicken.

Thirsty Bear Kitchen and Bar

The Thirsty Bear is the Bar and a favourite hangout in Waterton. All bars need hot wings on the menu at the Thirsty Bear didn't disappoint.

The Cowboys would have liked to have a few more than three choices of wings on the menu. Considering the gourmet-feel the rest of the menu offers patrons, it may have made the choices too hard. We usually get distracted by the Truffle Mac n Cheese. If there was a way to dip our wings in that we may just have gotten ourselves into trouble.

For this particular occasion, we tried the hot wings. It came with a unique Dill Dip (get the Aussie to say it ;-)) that was almost as good as the Mac n Cheese. Go for the dip when you visit! The wings needed more heat to be classified Cowboy hot, which is probably acceptable given the delicate flavours of the dip.

The Thirst Bear stands out for its excellent selection in craft beers. If Shameer's cook can make the wings hotter, they may just get us to drink (a lot more) of the delicious local beer.

Trappers Mountain Grill

If there is one place that spared no expense in laying out the red carpet for the Cowboys it was Steve West and the crew at Trappers. Here comes the disclaimer: You will probably need a VIP access pass to the Trappers' inner circle to get the buttery smokey gourmet wings laid out for us during our visit. What we tasted was from Trappers' test kitchen. We took one for the team and every bite was worth it!

I think we convinced Steve to put the new flavour wings on the menu if he can manage to repeat the feat and make the food cost work. A lot of labour and love went into making these wings and it was the most flavourful wings we've tasted thus far.

Steve is not going to like what comes next. Sorry, Steve, we needed more heat. Not burning heat. Rather, more flavour heat. Something that made us thirsty. The beers were huge and icy cold and we were dearly looking for an excuse to have even more beer. We didn't get it. We ended up looking for more wings instead!


Waterton has a variety of food establishments and a great community of people. While chicken wings may not (yet) be a good reason to make the trip, who knows, it may become one in the future.

Please support Waterton's businesses. Say hello to the people of Zums, Thirsty Bear and Trappers. Tell them the Two Cowboys sent you and ask for parmesan with your wings.

We thank them all sincerely for indulging us while we are trying to find the best Wing Night wings in Canada and hope they will have us back after seeing and reading the above.

Hendrik van Wyk
Winging Cowboy

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Zum's Wings

Trappers Wings

Thirsty Bear Wings

Winning Wings!

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