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Buffalo Wings


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I first started eating Buffalo Wings in Medford, Mass, from a joint called Cookoo's Nest (they were in Somerville, I lived in Medford). They were exceptional. The wings were plump and well sized. Not the skimpy rat-legs served so often, not the behemoths that are never quite cooked enough. The sauce ranged from crazy hot to Heidi fucking Klum hot (my labels). They were a deep ochre color, almost buttery in flavor, with a complex spice mixture. Nowadays, all hot wings seem to be doused in a generic, glowing red "louisiana" hot sauce, poured out of a gallon plastic jug.

Anyone know of a good Buffalo Wing hot sauce recipe? Any Bostonians know whether Cookoo's Nest is still around? Last I heard, it was in Rosie's Bar. (Is that what it's called? In Davis Square, near Chippies.)

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I don't know, but for wings I use: chipotle and adobo blended, garlic powder, onion powder, a bit of hoisin, salt and pepper.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Heidi Klum sauce hey, id like to taste that one...

there was a thread about htis recently w a few recipes...but I just use Franks Red Hot w a little butter but am still looking for a killer sauce...my prob is that I dont have a fryer...I bake them...

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My hispanic neighbors often serve a wonderful salsa that I believe is just a tomato (maybe 2?) with a ton of peppers. I think it is run through the blender, but what really makes it is that they "fry" it in a bit of oil. If Jaymes is out there, perhaps she can describe the process better? While I don't think this is exactly what you are talking about, it could be a more-than-acceptable substitute.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I've given my recipe (which was lifted from an excellent wing joint in Buffalo) on another thread.

What you have to deal with is that authentic Buffalo wings use bottled Louisiana hot sauce (Frank's was the essential brand before the brand was sold to some huge conglomerate who proceeded to dumb it down) as a base. It is then doctored in various clever and not so clever ways.

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Butter is the not-so-secret ingredient in some of the best wing sauces, which is probably why you're describing those wings as "almost buttery." Then again the "almost" may come from margarine, which is prevalent in prepackaged wing sauces such as from Anchor Bar. I also doubt the spice mixture was particularly complex. Two or three spices and most Westerners will call it complex. It was most likely a standard-issue pre-mixed chili powder, typically a mix of various dried chiles, garlic powder, cumin, and miscellaneous other stuff.

You want better wing sauce than that all you have to do is use better ingredients: Real butter, dried chiles ground in your own spice grinder, fresh garlic mashed with the mortar and pestle, fresh ground cumin, cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and some source of sweetness to flesh out the spiciness (you don't want a sweet sauce, but a little sweetness helps give depth to spices). If you want to get more of a Tabasco type flavor you need to use pickled hot peppers. Then you deep-fry the heck out of the wings so they're cooked a couple of shades darker than the soggy ones that most wings places dish out, and you toss them with your sauce.

Incidentally, there are two ways to control hotness in wings: Hotter sauce and more sauce. Many wings places only have one sauce, and they just add more and more the hotter people order their wings. Not a great idea from a balance perspective. Much better to engineer the sauce such that it packs the punch you want when applied in a light glaze.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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A commercial deep-fat fryer doesn't do anything magical, it's just a tool designed for one purpose and therefore it's "better" at its job than a multipurpose tool like a stockpot. Its larger capacity and powerful heating elements mean that when you put cold food in it doesn't cause much of a temperature drop -- that's the big enemy of frying. Temperature is thermostatically controlled for precision. There are drainage and filtering mechanisms. They're great tools. But if you put a healthy quantity of oil or shortening in a stockpot you can do exactly what they do in any restaurant. You just need to do a few things right: Use plenty of oil, use a thick-walled pot that retains heat (a cast-iron dutch oven is ideal; a wok also works), use a deep-frying thermometer and monitor temperature religiously, and most importantly fry in small batches.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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SS. if you dont have a fryer can you heat a few inches of oil in a stock pot or something and pop the wings in when it gets to a certain temp?  Or do you need a fryer...I have been drying my wings out in the oven...

In Julia Child's Kitchen, she suggests (in many recipes), deep frying in an electric skillet. I got one at the Salvation Army for about $2.00 and it works great. Not as deep as a deep fat fryer, but it doesn't take up a ton of space. You could probably use a stock pot (or whatever), but I do think that having an idea of how hot the oil is and how much it cools down when one adds the "fryee" is important?

If you purchase an "over the counter" deep fat fryer (or waffle iron, for that matter), pay attention to how hot it will get.

The price of the electric skillet was just right, considering how seldom I "deep" fry. Unless i'm wrong, the biggest thing is to make sure there's enough oil to cover the thing you're frying -- it doesn't have to be several inches deep, but I could be wrong?

(I make great wings)

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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No baking thermometer. You need a deep-frying/candy thermometer.

In terms of the cooking fat, you have a lot of choices. It depends on whether and what flavor you want to impart to the food you're frying. There's also a cost issue. Canola oil is certainly a good middle-of-the-road choice. I like peanut oil but it's just not practical pricewise, especially since I never reuse my oil. Most commercial establishments use shortening not oil, but that's for stability reasons that don't much matter at home.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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awbrig: which oil? Yes. That is, anything with a relatively high flash point. And you need a candy/deep-fry thermometer, not an oven thermometer: one you can clip on to the side of the pot. Otherwise it will get too hot for you to hold and you'll drop it into the oil and splash oil all over yourself and get a 3rd dgree burns and have to go to the hospital and then your wings will burn and where will you be? In the hospital with burnt hands, burnt arms, and burnt wings. Not good. :sad:

I use canola oil for what little deep frying I do. Inexpensive, and more neutral than peanut which is probably better but I don't like the flavor. The stock pot is okay. In fact, the more oil you can use, the less the temperature will drop when add the food to be cooked, which means the food will be less greasy.

Just dry the wings really well with paper towels, fry them (you can flour them first but that is not advised), and when they're cooked and drained toss them with melted butter mixed the same abount of with the hottest hot sauce you like (Tabasco, Frank's, Crystal, Cholula -- my personal fave, Melinda's, Louisiana, etc.). That's all it takes. Except for some celery sticks and Maytag blue cheese crumbled into Total yogurt (thinned with a little buttermilk if you must).

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I agree that most places simply do not cook their wings long enough for the skin to become crisp. During my senior year in college I helped run a hamburger/buffalo wing joint (Dunburgers if you where in Ithaca in 1989) where we would sell a few hundred pounds of wings a week. Getting the skin very crisp was key. For regular wings it was just butter and Frank’s hot sauce. For hotter wings, I would add increasing amounts of chipotle into the sauce and more Frank’s on the finish product. I used to take pride in being able to bring even the most diehard wing eater to tears if they requested my nuclear wings. Even using the basic sysco supplies, we were able to produce a damn good buffalo wing.

The byproduct of my employment is that I can no longer enjoy wings. I used to spend several afternoons every week preparing the wings; which entailed taking 10lb bag of wings and parceling them into 10 count bags. We sold them in 10 piece servings and have the portion prep work done allowed one person----usually me--- to handle the post last call rush. Even the sight of plate of wings reminds me of the afternoons I spent elbow deep in raw wings.

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  • 4 weeks later...

found a new recipe..cant wait to try...

Spicy Buffalo Wings

Ingredients:

4 pounds Chicken Wings

1/4 pound Butter

1/4 cup of Red Hot sauce

1/4 cup of Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon of Dave's Insanity Sauce (or your favorite brand of "insanely" hot sauce)

1 tablespoon of vinegar

cooking oil

Celery & Blue Cheese are optional (just like at Hooters)

Lots of Beer to wash it all down

Prepare the wings by cutting them into two sections and toss the tip... they don't need it anymore and you're not gonna eat it.

Start getting your deepest frying pan (or your fryer, if you have one) warmed up with enough oil to cover one layer of wings completely. You can tell when the oil is hot enough by sticking something like a wooden match or the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. If the oil bubbles around it, it's hot enough to fry. If you put food into oil before it is hot enough, it will just soak into the food and make it excessivly greasy.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the vinegar and the Red Hot, Tabasco & Dave's Insanity Sauce. If you've never tried Dave's now is the time, and for Christ's sake, go easy on the Insanity sauce if it's your first time! Even the teaspoon we're adding can be throttled back on. Why are we adding three different hot sauces? Cause each of the two off the shelf sauces has a slightly different taste and the Dave's adds the serious heat. When the butters all melted and everything is mixed together, turn off the flame but keep the pan warm so the butter doesn't separate.

Fry the wings about 10-12 minutes... don't try to cook them all at once unless you have a huge fryer. Six or seven at a time may be all your pan can handle before the oil bubbles over. When they're done, drain them off and toss them in the hot sauce (you can transfer the sauce into a larger bowl to make this easier).

Serve em up with the celery sticks and blue cheese dressing... they can really help take the edge off. Oh, and don't forget to drink beer with them... it's the most important part of the winged experience.

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The one Buffalo wings recipe I keep going back to is by Paul Prudhomme. The wings are coated with hot sauce and melted butter that has been allowed to cool slightly and sprinkled with a heavy dose of paprika, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. The butter makes the spice mixture adhere to the wings as long as everything is around room temp. They're then skillet fried in oil, drained and dipped in a sauce of butter, hot sauce, and more of the same spices.

PJ

"Epater les bourgeois."

--Lester Bangs via Bruce Sterling

(Dori Bangs)

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  • 4 months later...

Awbrig,

did you ever make those wings? How did they turn out?

My friend and I have decided to have a fondue/buffalo wing dinner this weekend and neither of us have ever found a recipe we were happy with.

Unfortunately the only hot ssauce we have access to is Tabasco, so we are limited here.

Suggestions?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 1 month later...
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