Burning By Brew Metropolis: Merge’s Volcano Korean fried rooster


Milwaukee is probably not recognized for its scorching climate, however that does not imply that the Brew Metropolis cannot carry the warmth – particularly from the kitchen. That is why Senior Developer Nick “Energy Palate” Barth and Tradition Editor Matt “Powder Puff Palate” Mueller are on a journey, burning their buds and torching their tongues throughout city to seek out town’s spiciest dishes. Seize your fork and a hearth extinguisher – that is Burning By Brew Metropolis.

The subsequent cease on their capsaicin-rich quest?

Volcano Korean fried rooster

1932 E. Kenilworth Pl.
(414) 226-5160

The summer time warmth is again – and so is the warmth of Burning By Brew Metropolis. Certainly, we’re again! It has been awhile! The final time you noticed us was in all probability all the way in which again in March at WMSE’s Rockabilly Chili, both on Fb Stay or, in my case, on the ground of the Kern Heart surrounded by involved volunteers and possibly a paramedic.

I ought to clarify …

You see, for the second straight yr, Nick and I dropped by the Rockabilly Chili fundraiser to pattern a number of the metropolis’s best stews – and, in fact, hunt for the spiciest contenders of the bunch. We toured the handfuls upon dozens of tasty choices and located 5 robust, uniquely heated chilis to gulp down for our standard Fb Stay phase – however sadly, I overlooked a key a part of consuming exceptionally spicy meals: consuming one thing BEFOREHAND so your abdomen and coronary heart do not begin actively rebelling in opposition to your physique. And lo, shortly after we logged off, my abdomen and coronary heart started actively rebelling in opposition to my physique, sending me spilling to the ground, woozy, dropping feeling in my fingers and questioning, “Huh, is that this what a coronary heart assault looks like?”

Fortunately, it wasn’t; it was just a few very intense and potent heartburn, and I used to be again on my ft throughout the hour. However nonetheless, while you’re laying on the bottom in public, head within the fingers of a kindly stranger/former nurse, surrounded by buddies speaking to you in hushed and anxious tones, you begin considering that possibly, simply possibly, you must take it a bit simpler in your digestive system for a bit.

Two months and a newly refreshed abdomen to scald later, I am prepared to go again with Nick on our quest to eat town’s spiciest dishes. (And to eat bread or one thing beforehand … moron.) Our first cease again on the street to candy, scrumptious hell: Merge.

Discovered at 1932 E. Kenilworth Pl. within the former Yield and Yokohama house, Merge introduced one thing totally different and distinctive to the East Aspect when it opened final November – which is saying one thing contemplating the bar for “totally different and distinctive” is about fairly excessive with portray, mini-golf, an underground bowling alley, a again alley speakeasy and axe-throwing throughout the block. However that is precisely what Merge did when it opened as Milwaukee’s first KFC bar – and whereas it might be finger-lickin’ good, this ain’t the Kentucky Colonel’s KFC. That is Korean fried rooster, a course of that options double-frying your wings, leading to a tasty, addictively crispy and crunchy outer pores and skin. Take that, Sanders. (Enjoyable truth: Do you know he was truly sued by KFC for libel as a result of he very overtly disliked what the corporate was doing to his meals? He’d in all probability have a coronary heart assault from a KFC Double Down – and never within the standard method you get a coronary heart assault from a KFC Double Down.)

Anyhow, again to the good things. Merge then takes its crackling little pebbles of meaty perfection, covers them within the sauce of your selecting and serves them up within the restaurant’s enjoyable, trendy environment that includes retro video video games on its screens – dibs on “Mario Kart 64” – and massive eye-catching murals on the partitions. The sauces vary from bourbon barbecue to honey mustard, Nashville scorching rooster to Asian-inspired flavors like soy garlic and candy and spicy. However in fact, the concoction that caught our eyes and buds was the Volcano sauce, an additional spicy Korean chili sauce. And whereas you will get these items slathered on a number of the different creative gadgets on Merge’s menu – such because the rooster tacos, the crispy fried cauliflower appetizer or the Volcano rooster cheesesteak – while you go to a Korean fried rooster scorching spot, you get the Korean fried rooster.

So would Merge’s Volcano Korean fried rooster provides our style buds a heat welcome again – or one thing a lot, a lot hotter? Let’s dig in!


Nick: Merge’s Volcano sauce makes use of capsaicin powder to gas its burn, which has a few fascinating results. First, I did not detect the same old aftertaste we see in extract-based sauces. Second, it may be higher named Rocket Sauce for its multi-stage burn. It is instantly kinda-hot, like a warning shot throughout the bow. Ending the primary wing, you’ve got received a strong, regular burn going. However by the point you end your order, it is grown to a satisfying roar that pulls up simply in need of a stinging contemporary pepper burn. It peaks out at a stage that is nice if you happen to’re at all times searching for the spicy menu gadgets however aren’t searching for a challenge-level plate of wings.

Matt: Contemplating my latest bodily warfare, maybe it is best that Nick and I restart our journey with a reasonably tame entry. That is to not say these Volcano Korean fried rooster wings are flavorless – removed from it – however they’re little to be intimidated by, even with the added kick from the capsaicin powder. The meaty wings and the remainder of the flavors combined within the sauce give your mouth an excessive amount of to style to get overly targeted on the warmth – although it’s positively current, a slowly rising and radiating burn that warms your style buds and moistens your forehead, threatening to get pin-pricklingly spicy like a habanero or extra capsaicin-heavy sauce however with out fairly reaching these thermometer-breaking highs. I would like one other batch of those wings – however the warmth is extra a passenger on this journey than the motive force.


Nick: It did not take lengthy for the mouth burn to subside, however the Volcano rocket developed right into a heat stomach for a couple of hours and was positively current for a closing stage … later.

Matt: Whereas the warmth positively grows and escalates, the burn will principally be gone by the point you are completed racing a couple of laps on Rainbow Highway.


Nick: Take away that multi-stage warmth, and at it is coronary heart, it is a fairly tame sweet-and-spicy sauce. In that, the event focus was clearly on taste. The gochujang and oyster sauce combo give it a darker colour than the hearth engine crimson you see on normal scorching wings, and mix for a richer, extra satisfying style as effectively. I like gochujang, and the applying right here is sort of a barbecue sauce with a distinctly Asian vibe. It is well-rounded sufficient that no huge notes stand out. A bit salty, just a little candy, just a little umami kick. Very wealthy and really satisfying to eat.

Matt: The warmth of the Volcano sauce is not as a lot the star as the general taste profile, which is that this fascinating, full-bodied, umami-rich expertise that ricochets round your style buds like a bouncy ball – one which’s been gently lit on fireplace, because of the additional enhance of the capsaicin. Kind of salty, kind of candy, kind of fishy, kind of savory, the sticky sauce is an explosive taste expertise – simply possibly not in the way in which you are predicting from the inflammatory title. Slather that sauce – and its sudden however not unwelcome cheesy texture – onto meaty, juicy rooster wings, that includes crispy pores and skin that pops with every chunk because of the Korean frying course of, and you have got a wing that sings.


Nick: It is a nice instance of correct use of capsaicin powder or extract: take a factor that tastes good and make it scorching, not the opposite method round. Merge took a crispy Korean fried rooster wing, slathered it in a wealthy and engaging sauce, and bumped the warmth up. They’re tremendous satisfying to eat and positively price a shot if you have not tried them but.

Matt: On the earth of rooster wings, it is laborious to face out. Merge’s could not have the ribald and reckless burn of Jonny Hammers’ firecrackers – and even the habanero sauce down the block at Hooligan’s – nor the longtime legacy of Factors East Pub’s meaty nuggets only a mile over, however they could simply be essentially the most uniquely flavorful scorching wings within the space. You may keep in mind these wings, no milk or medical care obligatory – a welcome outcome for me!

Burning By Brew Metropolis warmth index

  1. Jonny Hammers’ Too Sizzling For A Regular Individual wings
  2. Leff’s Fortunate City’s ass kickin’ rooster wings
  3. Asian Worldwide Market’s papaya salad
  4. Cantina’s tacos
  5. Unique Meat Grill’s Desert Warmth Burger
  6. Sizzling Head Fried Hen’s 414 Fireplace fried rooster
  7. Tangled’s Chong Qing Beef Noodle
  8. Kim’s Thai’s 10-pepper beef larb
  9. EE-Sane’s papaya salad/scorching and spicy beef
  10. The King Crab Shack’s loopy cajun crab legs
  11. Margarita Paradise’s Diablo burrito
  12. Purple Rock Saloon’s TCB ghost pepper wings
  13. Hooligan’s do-it-yourself habanero scorching wings
  14. The King & I’s Volcano Hen
  15. O’Brien’s Candy Reaper wings
  16. Guadalajara’s Chile de Arbol salsa
  17. Glorioso’s Italian Market’s Human Torch sandwich
  18. Kawa’s Hell Fireplace ramen
  19. Merge’s Volcano Korean fried rooster
  20. Sizzling Head Fried Hen’s Nashville scorching rooster
  21. Wisconsin Cheese Mart’s spicy cheeses
  22. Stone Bowl’s yook-gae-jang/jjampong
  23. O Yeah Hen and Extra’s Nashville scorching rooster
  24. Camino’s Honky Tonk Hell Nashville rooster sandwich
  25. Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub’s Powerful Man rooster wings
  26. Huan Xi’s scorching pot
  27. All Issues Jerky’s Carolina Reaper beef jerky
  28. Shaker’s Cigar Bar’s jammin’ jerk pulled pork tacos
  29. Guadalajara’s Bistec en Chile de Arbol


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