Here, Eat This

Houston's Best Sandwiches: Bun B's Hot Wang Sandwich at Antone's

The Antone's Hot Wang sandwich, co-created by Houston rapper Bun B, is an interesting take on the classic hot wing.
The Antone's Hot Wang sandwich, co-created by Houston rapper Bun B, is an interesting take on the classic hot wing. Photo by Jeff Balke
When it was announced a couple weeks ago that legendary Houston rapper Bun B had teamed up with Antone's to create a signature Hot Wang sandwich, there was no doubt where I was headed. As part of a citywide effort to raise money for local charities in September, it was already for a good cause. Good thing it was also tasty as hell.

It's almost an un-arguable fact that the Antone's Original po' boy is the sandwich that best represents the city of Houston. It's a classic and a perfect mix of cultures into one delicious melting pot of awesome, much like the city itself.

It makes sense then that the purveyor of the Original would try to create another Houston classic and turn to none other than Bun B for help. The end result is a well executed, delicious addition to a shop with plenty of already great sandwich choices.

First, let's discuss what the Hot Wang is not (besides not being from Popeye's).

It is not made of wings. This might sound obvious to wing eaters, but maybe not to everyone. This is a fried chicken breast.

It is not all that "hot." Yes, it has a little heat at the end of each bite, but don't worry if you aren't into spicy stuff. This won't send you running for a glass of milk.

It is not heavy on the blue cheese. My niece hates blue cheese, so she was skeptical even though I love it. This has a "blue cheese ranch" dressing, which is definitely much more ranch than blue cheese, so no need to be nervous about moldy cheese on your sandwich.

Now, for what it is: really good.

Antone's has expanded its offerings since the days of only pre-wrapped deli sub sandwiches. They now have shrimp po' boys, a fajita-style cheesesteak named the best in America and other fried and griddled fare. You have to hand it to them for branching out. This Hot Wang fits right in with their menu.

Like a lot of really good sandwiches, this thing is a literal hot mess. The chicken, doused in hot sauce, and covered in ranch with a healthy helping of crispy bacon on a crunchy ciabatta roll is a four- or five-napkin affair, at minimum. Also, like so many sandwiches, getting a bite that includes everything is incredibly satisfying.

The heat, as mentioned, is relatively mild with just a touch of after burn, cooled by the ranch dressing. The chicken remained remarkably crispy despite the fact that I took it to go — same for the bacon — but I might recommend eating this one in. Like all great fried things, it benefits from being eaten right out of the fryer.

I can also say you should bring your appetite. It's not a massive sandwich, but it ain't tiny and it's incredibly rich. I could see asking for pickles next time to cut some of that richness, but it wouldn't be an improvement so much as a way to keep my body from begging for mercy.

This is part of an ongoing effort to showcase different sandwich options over the next few months. The list of additional celebrity chefs includes Whitney Merciless of the Texans, Suffers singer Kam Franklin, several notable chefs, artists and business folks as well. So, get this one while it is literally hot.

I'll definitely be back before the end of the month to make sure Antone's doesn't pull a McRib on me.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke