The American Series, Pt. V — Buffalo Chicken Wings

In the sacred domain of Sunday sports, the holiest day of them all is Super Bowl Sunday. And if there is a culinary sacrament most cherished by its practitioners, it would be the Buffalo wing.

Buffalos don’t have wings. But chickens do, and the story goes that a guy with a bar in Buffalo, New York stumbled upon the fabled recipe while either trying to stimulate his patrons to buy more drinks, or trying to use up a mistaken delivery of chicken wings. Whatever the truth, we say thank you.

You could veer from tradition and try this recipe with Tabasco or some other spicy red sauce rather than Frank’s Red Hot (available online or in most well-stocked grocery stores); you could use margarine or olive oil rather than butter, or bake your wings instead of frying them. People do all sorts of crazy things in life. I recommend staying as close to the original as possible. My own contribution to the canon of Buffalo wing knowledge is dredging the wings in flour before frying. And I’ll sometimes use a nice blue cheese such as Maytag or Point Reyes for a more elevated touch.

I don’t know where or under what circumstances we will watch the Super Bowl, or who we will root for. Since the Steelers are out, it likely won’t be at the home of our friends from Pittsburgh, where we become rabid Steeler fans by association. We don’t usually care who wins and more than anything it’s a reason for a party. We may simply stay home and watch the game mostly for the commercials. But one thing you can count on, like death and taxes — there will be wings.

*   *   *

Original Buffalo Chicken Wings
serves 2-8, depending on hunger level and determination

1 lb. chicken wings, cut into wingettes and drumettes
1 cup flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
salt & pepper
1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Original hot sauce (or to taste)
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing (recipe follows)
4 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and cut into sticks (optional)

About 2 hours before cooking, place the wings in a large bowl with 1/4 cup salt and water to just cover. Toss to combine, and brine for 2 hours.

Drain chicken. Dredge chicken wing segments in flour. Cook in two batches: heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook half the chicken wings, about 5 minutes per side, until browned and crisp (add a little more oil as you cook as necessary). Drain on paper towels, and cook second batch. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Heat oven to 350. In a large bowl, toss chicken wings with hot sauce and butter, place on large baking sheet, and cook in the oven for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally in the sauce.

While the wings are in the oven, make the blue cheese dressing (below). Remove wings from oven, add a little more hot sauce if desired.

Serve with blue cheese dressing and, if you’d like, with celery sticks.

Blue Cheese Dressing

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup cream
2-oz chunk hard gorgonzola, Maytag or Point Reyes blue cheese
dash of rice wine vinegar

Combine mayo and cream in a bowl, stirring vigorously with a fork until smooth. Crumble blue cheese into mayo mixture, and mash with a fork, stirring occasionally, until much of the cheese is incorporated and dressing is thick. Add a dash of vinegar and stir again. Place in fridge for one hour before serving.

Beverage suggestion: a nice hoppy pale ale.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ben
    Jan 20, 2012 @ 00:13:51

    I make chicken burgers with blue cheese crumbles in them and serve with a side of Franks/butter to dip the burgers/bun in French dip/au jus style.


  2. medrat
    Jan 20, 2012 @ 01:10:42

    Epic recipe. This is one I’m definately gonna try. Yum. Had a wing night place in college that charged 25 cents a wing…and they were good. especially after a few beers. great combination. they should be called beer wings. thanks for this post


  3. mom
    Jan 20, 2012 @ 04:49:20

    If the Niners make the super bowl and you still don’t care who wins we will have a
    strained relationship, Love, Mom


    • paul
      Jan 27, 2012 @ 03:39:22

      I was so disappointed when San Francisco didn’t make it past the Giants. That said, I do feel like the Niners are coming into a great run over the next few years.


  4. glennis
    Jan 23, 2012 @ 05:57:50

    I roast ’em instead of frying and I can’t tell the difference, but I do always use Franks. But I will try brining them – that sounds like a good idea.


    • scolgin
      Jan 23, 2012 @ 14:41:23

      With the flour/frying, they crisp up when you put them in the oven. Nice touch, although subtle, and perhaps not worth the extra calories.


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