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Jul 10, 2012 01:25 AM

Soul Fire's "All You Can Eat Wings for $9 " Mondays: Such a Deal!

So we did get to Soul Fire tonight for their Monday Allyoucaneat Wings Night. It's across Harvard St. from the old Marty's location, just off Comm Ave. I must say , I was perplexed that I could find no recent CH Soul Fire threads, particularly about the Wings Night , because I see a lot of CH posts looking for lower priced eating deals. At 6pm we were the 3rd party in the large room and when we left at 7:15 it was full. Seems that lines-out-the-door is a common scene for Monday nights there. Btw, excellent AC for these dog days of summer.

As usual, a few mentions on CH tipped us off about Soul Fire but it was a CH link to the pigtrip blog that really caught my attention because the very thorough reviewer/blogger put Soul Fire in Boston's #1 Top Tier for BBQ.

How it works: When placing your order for the Wings option, you choose your sauce, or , for newbies, they can bring you a sampling of wings in different sauces and then you can tell them what sauce(s) you want on the refills. They just keep bringing them as you order them. The wings are all cooked in advance and then refried a short time and tossed with sauce. They are large and perfectly moist; not one of our three hundred and fifty two were dry ;-} Being averse to oversweetness in bbq sauces, we tasted a few and settled on the Soul Fire and Pit Boss and plain/no sauce. The sauceless ones were good for tossing with the sauced ones which were all rather oversauced (she said, working her way through a mountain of napkins by meal's end.) The PitBoss is 3 parts Soulfire to 1 part Sweet Sauce, so the Soulfire is the least sweet (except for the Buffalo version which is 'hotish') and it has a nice bit of cumin. We tried the wings, the baby back ribs, coleslaw, pota.salad,and mixed greens salad. ( pigtrip had highly rec'd their fried chicken but we forgot to try it.) The coleslaw was particularly good . The pota salad was pretty good; it had good crunch and some mustard element(neither was even close to swimming in mayo); the cornbread was unadorned, moist, and sweet but not too cloying (unless you hate sugar in your cornbread, which would have made it unbearable in your book.) Green Salad was generous, good and basic but with bottled dressings. The baby back ribs were very meaty but a little dry , but we both were rather focused on the wings. For our taste, we would really like to see them offer more items that are less sweet (how 'bout some of those great jalapeno hushpuppies from Red Eyed Pig and some interesting cornbread variations and some great onion rings , a spinach salad and homemade green salad dressings?


As you might guess, Soulfire is quite popular with students, families w/ little kids, etc. I had fun talking w/ the manager. How many wings do they sell on a typical Mon night? 3500-4000! (about 450 lbs.)
Their top selling sauce is the SoulFire and they go through 60-80 gal. each week.(That's 12-16 5 gal pickle or paint buckets!!) Last night was the opening of their first sister Soul Fire- in Brigham Circle.

Hope some of y'all will try and enjoy it. I'm not familiar with a better cheap eats deal out there.

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  1. $9 used to buy you 90 wings at Asgard... but now it only will buy 36

    1. My fav wing joint has 25 cent wings on tuesdays and they are great buffalo style. So $9 would be 36.. i can barely eat half that!

      48 Replies
      1. re: hargau

        Heck, an order at Buff is around $9.00 and I can't finish it...

        1. re: StriperGuy

          I think my wing limit is about 15... call me when we have all u can eat sashimi..

        2. re: hargau

          which wing joint is that, hargau?

          1. re: GretchenS

            The Black Sheep in Sterling. It is not just a wing joint, its a bar with live music and the best pizza around these parts. They happen to have the best wings i have had in massachusetts, after living in Rochester ny for 7 years i find it tough to find decent wings around new england. They also have Ghost Pepper wings that will kill ya! I did a write up about them but the mods here insisted it must be moved to the Southern New England board that nobody reads... Oh and the 25cent wing deal is only tue night..

            1. re: hargau

              I have a kid in school in Rochester. Wings in western NY are better. They're simply better made.

              1. re: lergnom

                yep.. I always say that just about any corner pizza place up there has better wings than what we call "the best" around here...

                1. re: hargau

                  Is the rest of the chicken tastier there, as well, or are they just bred to have better wings?

                  Having spent three miserable years myself in upstate New York, my theory is that the wings taste better in Buffalo because there's nothing more exciting to do. Into the bleak emptiness of what passes for life there, chicken wings descend like gifts from heaven -- and consequently taste heavenly.

                  1. re: FoodDabbler

                    ha, love that poetic riff.

                    But seriously, folks, none of you want to try Soul Fire? Leader of the #1 Tier?

                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                      By your own admission though you didn't really try it out either. You were "rather focused on the wings", which aren't BBQ. You had some baby backs which were dry. That's not a great endorsement of their BBQ.

                      I've been there before a couple of times. I thought it was good but not outstanding.

                      1. re: jgg13

                        sorry? i didn't try it out? i wrote that long piece and ate 12 diff flavored things but i didn't try it out? and wings w/ bbq sauce are not bbq?hmmm jg, we speak diff languages. The post was about Wings Night and that is what i was asking chs about.

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          fried wings w/ bbq sauce isn't what pigtrip was talking about when he was describing "BBQ".

                          Unless I missed something, the only BBQ that you described were the baby back ribs.

                          Edit: To be more clear, I was being a bit facetious w/ my original response. You went to SF due to it showing up in the top tier for BBQ in the region on pigtrip. But then in the midst of a feast you had but a single BBQ item, which by your own admission was hardly the top thing you ate. And then you ask us why we aren't rushing to try the place listed as being the top tier of regional Q.

                          1. re: jgg13

                            Guess my question was muddy. I really am asking why CHs, very often in search of a 'good deal' ,are not all eating here/posting about the deal- Mon nights?

                          2. re: opinionatedchef

                            I don't know how many dining companions were there, but eating 350 "oversauced" wings would overshadow the rest of my meal (and my palate would have been shot well before that, even with just the "12 different flavored things"). The wings did seem to be the bulk of your meal and review, so if hounds want to repeat that, don't they have to wait next until Monday??? As others have mentioned, you didn't have a lot to say about their BBQ from this initial trip.

                            After reading the Pigtrip site (which is a great resource and Gary from there has also contributed here on chowhound), what stood out to me was Soulfire's fried chicken which has been mentioned here before but still never registered to try... and your experience certainly called out the wings, but probably more likely to grab some party wings from Mayflower (along with some chicken hearts), marinate them my way, and grill them instead. I might even throw a few chicken backs on there for gnawing bits off the bones (great with inner-beauty style flavors). For BBQ, I still want to try Blackstrap no matter what tier it comes in, but not rushing to many of the others on the pigtrip list right now and not as much of a fan of that ranking as the rest of the site. BTW, former regular poster 'joanie' always posted a fair bit about the pleasures of a regular stop at soulfire.

                            1. re: itaunas

                              Far be it from me to accuse opinionatedchef of figures of speech, but the 352 was surely hyperbole.

                              That or, with her much-stated ou. expectations, she was dining alone.

                              1. re: FoodDabbler

                                yep, fd, you done grokked my winking eye. Can you plse explain to me though- why aren't the wings in bbq sce not bbq? alot of bbq places cook or smoke their meats and sauce them later. To me, the bbq sauce is what makes those wings bbq, but this idea is heresy to the Q disciples?( And, certainement, cierto, mochiro, certo, I am not suggesting that stirfried , poached or sous vide whatever w/ Q sauce -is barbeque.) I'm guessing that the offended will reply that cooking the item over a wood fire is prerequisite to it being called bbq. But for me, the experience of the wings was bbq like.Thnx fd.

                                p.s. should i change my moniker to hyperbollweevil?

                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  Might as well call McDonalds chicken mcnuggets dipped in bbq sauce bbq?

                                  1. re: Infomaniac

                                    Given that I don't like wings no matter what you call them, I'm in no way offended. It's just that words are best used correctly, and by definition, barbecuing is the act of cooking meats for a long time over low heat, almost always with some kind of smoke element that permeates the food. Sauce has nothing to do with it, and indeed, many barbecue purists either don't use sauce at all or, grudgingly, will allow it to be served at table.

                                    Wings are (usually, I don't know how Soulfire does theirs) par-baked and then deep-fried. While there are plenty of barbecuers -- myself included, if I'm in a hurry -- who will finish a rack of ribs or a brisket in a slow oven once it's gotten all the smoke it will hold, once you've ventured to the deep fryer, you have decisively moved away from barbecue. Wings ain't barbecue, no matter what you put on them.

                                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                      I've tried to be a fan of wings but I can't see myself ordering them no mater how inexpensive they are.
                                      To me, and many others like yourself, when I bbq, it usually involves smoke and low heat and always a rub, never sauce. I'm not a purist, it's just the way I prefer it., and how I noticed it was done when I was young.
                                      I think of bbq sauce as a condiment like ketchup where you would dip something into it, rather than slather or coat your meat with it.

                                      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                        >by definition, barbecuing is the act of cooking meats for a long time over low heat, almost always with some kind of smoke element that permeates the food.

                                        That is merely one definition of bbq. There are many, many more if you take a world view of the term.

                                        1. re: LStaff

                                          To most folks who are serious about their food there is the classic "low and slow" of true BBQ and then there is grilling, or cooking out, which is not BBQ at all. Jenny is referring to the term as used in the most formal sens, and in that case it really only means one thing.

                                          When I see folks throwing a chicken slathered with bottled BBQ sauce on a hot grill and cooking it for 30 minutes (which many in Boston would call BBQ) it is a pretty big stretch; to BBQ afficionados, to call that anything other then grilled chicken is anathema.

                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                            I own my own smoker, use my kettle grill to slow roast meats on indirect heat, (have tried to make texas beef sausage which came out tasty but not right -- recipes welcome), and just about my favorite thing is slow roasted whole racks of beef ribs (costel√£o) over a live fire. It also pains me when Latinos and Brazilians say that American BBQ is awful because all we do is grill burgers and hot dogs (and meat steeped in ah-so sauce).

                                            However, LStaff has made a point that I have wanted to for a long time. Italian restaurants like Santarpios were selling their grilled meats as "BBQ" here long before we had Southern style 'Que in Boston. The Newbridge was too. Portuguese often like the derrided baby backs too, because they grill well and consider their spatchcocked chickens "BBQ." And there are African Americans families originally from the South which grill their ribs (represented also in a few local restaurants). While we may not like it that style, in the context to New England some of the communities have been using the word longer than most (any?) of us. And BTW, not everything in the South is slow smoked either -- take Rendezvous for example. Like its important to differentiate between battered and breaded fish and chips, it is important to understand how meats are cooked so its important to figure out what someone means by "BBQ," but in Boston I don't see the need to say that word means only slow cooked, primarily smoked, meats.

                                              1. re: itaunas

                                                You have an entirely valid point, and I admit that I was taking a purist definition of barbecue. But I still say that once a deep fryer is involved, as it is in most wings recipes, you have definitively moved out of the realm of barbecue.

                                                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                  I used to be of the school that would give barbecue a broader definition. But after multiple pilgrimages to Lockhart, Taylor and Luling Tx. I am more of a purist subscribing to the low and slow with smoke definition school. Btw I have had cooking success with ribs and pork butt but none with brisket. And to keep this somewhat on topic, the owner of Soulfire is my neighbor and I am ashamed to say I have never been. So this was a good thread to get me over there.

                                          2. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                            par-baking wings = fail.

                                            No wonder the wings at most places in MA suck.

                                          3. re: opinionatedchef

                                            Yeah, basically. The absence or presence of BBQ sauce doesn't have an effect on something being BBQ or not. Even if one really wanted to push that bit of semantics, it is still certainly not the definition that pigtrip is using. I'm not knocking their wings (never had them) nor the deal, and I'm glad to know that it exists. I mainly just found it amusing.

                                    2. re: jgg13

                                      According to the menu, Soulfire has 2 types of wings. Straight fried. (Traditional) and rubbed, smoked, and flash-fried wings.

                                      Smoked wings = BBQ. Not sure if the OP had the smoked ones or not.

                                  2. re: FoodDabbler

                                    They are better there. I grew up in CNY, and your average corner pizza place has wings comparable to what Buff's serves.

                                      1. re: Gabatta

                                        Gabatta is right, they dont cause Buffs are not all that good. The average corner pizza place in upstate ny is much better than buffs...

                                        1. re: hargau

                                          it must be something you grow up with. the idea that chicken wings are far superior in central new york rather than newton seems hysterical to me. they are just f***ing wings. i dont get it.

                                          1. re: hyde

                                            Granted it wasn't buffalo but I spent several years in the capital district and I don't remember the wings being remarkably better than what I can get at a lot of places here. They were more ubiquitous sure, but it was also 20 years ago and wings were less common outside of upstate NY.

                                            1. re: jgg13

                                              Albany area has decent pizza. Wings, not so much.

                                              1. re: steve999

                                                Fair enough, but then blanket statements such as "The average corner pizza place in upstate ny is much better than buffs" needs to be completely rephrased. Last time I checked, the Albany area is in "upstate ny".

                                            2. re: hyde

                                              So the idea that someone could cook something better and make a better sauce doesnt make sense?? Is that like saying the idea that some guy in China (or italy) can make noodles better than a guy in newton is hysterical too?? come on, its just flour and water! Or that someone at x steakhouse can make a steak better than dennys is hysterical, its just a slab of meat... Or that such and such place can make a lobster roll or a salad better.....Cant you say that about just about any subject on this site??

                                              As for wings, i have had my share of crap wings in new england (most of them).. Soggy, slimey, too big or too small, watery/crappy sauces, cooked too well/rare, frozen etc.... Just reminded myself of some i had at a place in Maine claiming the best wings in maine which arrived with the centers still frozen, the skin soggy and the nastiest sauce i have ever tasted. Had to send them back, and their reaction was "yea we have been having a problem with people saying that lately"....

                                              1. re: hargau

                                                IMO, this area's wings usually fail due to the fry job and come out as you say - soggy and slimey, bloody in the middle, or overcooked. What I remember about the best wings I had in NY (in ulster and rockland counties) was the super crispy exterior without drying out the meat. I'm assuming they were double fried like a good french fry. I'll give a little leeway on the sauce, but can't get past a bad or even a mediocre fry job.

                                                Only been to buff's a half dozen times in the last couple of years and they have been not quite crispy enough and the meat is still somewhat dry. I asked for them crispy once and the meat was as dense and dry as an eraser. I find them passable enough to satisfy a craving, but not great.

                                            3. re: hargau

                                              Totally disagree. Wings are not rocket science, I've had em all over, and Buff's gets em right 99% of the time and that is over the course of MANY years.

                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                amazing.. this coming on a site where people will debate the best french fries for months.. potato with some salt.. yet they will say there cant be wings better/worse than others cause they are so simple to make.....

                                                1. re: hargau

                                                  "amazing"? You must have missed that Amigo has Mexican, Cheeks has Texas bbq, etc.

                                                  1. re: eatntell

                                                    I don't recall anyone saying that Sweet Cheeks has "genuine texas bbq".

                                                  2. re: hargau

                                                    Lot's of places DO mess up wings (Donohues in Watertown for instance) but Buff's just nails em... How many times have you actually eaten there?

                                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                                      I personally have only been to Buffs once and have 0 desire to go back.. I would rate them as "ok"... Yea better than many around this area, but nothing i would go out of my way for. Oh and my gf likes "boneless", i know blasphemy.. but whatever.. theirs were frozen tyson strips... Their "extra hot" sauce wasnt very spicy and i found the wings dry. The atmosphere meh and the service horrible but again im in it for the food so those are just side notes...

                                                      But what do i know, i hate ECG too and everyone on here worships them..

                                                      I would rate the Chicken Bone in Framingham much higher than Buffs. My favorite in the area would be Black Sheep Tavern in Sterling. (although they use frozen prebreaded boneless too but basing rating on the real wings anyway)

                                                    2. re: hargau

                                                      fair enough. possibly my dismissal of the subject as "just wings" was a bit of hyperbole. (not that there is any of that on chowhound usually).

                                                      but i stand by my statement that i find it difficult to believe that dozens of places in ny state have wings that are THAT much better than buffs or chicken bone generally.

                                                      if possible that and garbage plates may make living in Rochester more tolerable, as everyone i knew who lived in that area drank heavily and the several weeks i spent there one winter were enough to last the rest of my life.

                                                  3. re: hargau

                                                    I have to agree with hargau. I was recently in Rochester, NY and ate near campus at a sports bar with decent food. The wings were outstanding, better than any I've had in Boston. The difference is that this is a regional specialty and people grow up expecting it to be a certain way. I could compare that to having a lobster roll in Indiana. Sure they can make one. It might be pretty darned good but they didn't grow up with them so the sense of the lobster roll just isn't in there.

                                                    That said, I prefer the wings at Angela's Coal Fired Pizza but they aren't the same thing at all.

                                                  4. re: Gabatta

                                                    Here's the difference: In the Rochester/Buffalo/Syracuse areas, you don't have to search out the 2 or 3 places that might do wings correctly, because almost all of them do.

                                                    In New England, 9 out of 10 places have no goddamn idea how to make Buffalo wings. I've had several places bring out little pieces of dry (no buffalo sauce) fried chicken that listed "Buffalo Wings" on the menu. Christ - it's just red hot and butter. Pour it over the wings in a bowl and shake them up. Plate them. Serve. Definitely not rocket science.

                                    1. When it comes to wings, there are cheaper deals (but may or may not be better deals than Soulfire).


                                      BTW, the price of fresh wings in the Asian markets has almost doubled in last year. Used to be <$1.50 per lb, now ~$2.50 per lb.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: eatntell

                                        It will be interesting to see Soulfire's $9 all you can eat wings compete with Penguin's $0.15 per wing specials, as they are both on Mondays and currently next to each other in Brigham Circle.

                                        1. re: rlee21

                                          Soulfire is in Brigham Circle?

                                          1. re: drb

                                            Yes, they just opened a branch a couple of days ago. Right next door to Penguin, in the former Brigham Circle Diner space.