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The definitive Buffalo wing post


pork
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(Excuse the pedantic tone. You guys weren't exactly the target audience for my writing, but it's food related so I figured you wouldn't mind having it here as well.)

Buffalo wings. Tangy, spicy, crispy, chewy morsels of everything that is good about life.

Buffalo Wings...were first prepared at the Anchor Bar on Main Street, near the corner of North Street, in Buffalo, New York on October 3, 1964. Teressa Bellissimo, co-owner of the Anchor Bar with her husband Frank, had the idea of deep frying chicken wings and tossing them in hot sauce for her son Dominic and his friends. One evening, on a spur of the moment, Teressa presented her son with a deep-fried and sauced creation, and they were an instant hit.

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In order to make buffalo wings you will need:

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Frank's Red Hot brand cayenne pepper sauce. No other sauce will do, sorry, not even the sauce they sell at the Anchor Bar. Not even Franks "Buffalo Wing Sauce" which has fake butter stuff in it. You don't need that. You need:

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Melted butter.

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A deep fryer. Do not even try to bake, broil or grill these things. You can, and they can be good, but do not under any circumstances call them Buffalo wings. Fill that motherfucker to the fill line with oil and preheat to 360 - 370F (180 - 190C)

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If you don't have a deep fryer, you can make do with

1. a large heavy pot, a

2. a candy thermometer OR

3. a probe thermometer

4. oil (peanut is good but any deep-fryer-worthy shortening is fine really)

5. a spider

6 - 9 stuff that will be covered later. That picture was from a 2004 post about doing it without a fryer.

But this way is a pain in the ass and you stand a decent chance of setting your house on fire if you don't know what you're doing, so don't.

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A bunch of chicken wings, separated into wing and "drummette" sections, wingtips removed.

What? You went to the store on superbowl morning and they didn't have the wings prepared that way, just whole chicken wings? Don't fret, you can do it yourself. I prepped 10 lbs (4.5 kg) this way in about 20 minutes. You just need a sharp chef's knife or boning knife.

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Stretch the wing open like a "V" and cut down the middle of the skin flap to the main joint. At this point you could disjoint the wing with both hands, and cut the wing really easily; but, that would take for fucking ever, so

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cut into the joint and locate the big white ball of cartilige. Try to cut through that instead of hacking through the bones themselves. It's much easier.

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Pretty soon you won't have to open the skin to know where to cut it easily.

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Cut the wingtip off at the other end of the wing section, also through the joint.

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There you go. "Drumette," wing, and wingtip. Throw the drumette and wing into the bigass bowl of soon-to-be-delicious wings.

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Put the wingtips into a freezer bag for your next batch of chicken stock or court-bullion. OK! Lets cook!

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Working in smallish batches, throw the wings in the fryer. How small depends on how small your fryer is. Use a thermometer if you need to, you don't want the temperature of the fryer to go under 300F (150C) or so when they go in. My fryer holds a gallon and a half of oil, so I can fry a pound to a pound and a half of wings at a time, tops.

When you first put them in, they will occasionally want to stick to the bottom of the basket. Wait at least a minute or two before dislodging the pieces, or you will tear the skin. With a commercial fryer, you can dislodge them by pulling the basket out, waiting a few seconds for it to drain, and bashing the basket against the backsplash of the fryer in a stabbing motion. I don't recommend this with a home fryer. Use long metal tongs.

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After about 5 minutes (your mileage will vary) the wings will start to float. Conventional wisdom says they are done at this point. They're not.

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After about 8-9 minutes the chicken will start getting crispy brown patches around places where the skin is cut or sticking out. This is a good thing. How brown they get total will depend a lot on how new your oil is. In these pictures I am working with brand new blended vegetable/peanut oil, so these will not get all that dark.

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After 10 minutes, I'm done. (My fryer was running a little cool. I recall them taking no more than 8 in a commercial fryer.)

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Drain the wings completely, tipping the basket to allow oil to run off the edges of the wire. Wiggle the basket to get them loose if they're stuck. Put the basket on its rest for a second.

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Put sauce and butter in a metal bowl with the wings and toss to coat. See below for ratio.

The sauce-to-butter ratio is a matter of taste. You will want to experiment. I like mine mostly sauce. I used to have a six-year-old regular at my bar (the boss' daughter) that liked them very mild. Since you are working in batches, even if you make too much sauce in your wing-tossing bowl, it can go into the next batch. No big deal. Don't bother to clarify the butter, but do try to avoid getting mostly whey from the bottom of the pot, this will make the wings soggy.

Rough ratios, each for 1 lb of wings:

Hot: 1 oz butter, 3 oz sauce, pinch of crushed red pepper (optional). Sauce should be fairly red. I usually go with a touch higher ratio, but again, that's my personal taste.

Medium: 2 oz butter, 2 oz sauce. Sauce should be orange.

Mild: 3 oz butter, 1 oz sauce. Sauce should be on the orange side of yellow.

MEGA DEATH HOT BALL CUTTER ATOMIC: Fuck, put whatever you want in there. I ain't eating that shit. Tabasco can be added to a batch of "extra hot" if you must, but any hotter and you might as well be eating fried turds, because you can't taste anything with pure capsicum extract or whatever you wannabe toughguys get on your wings.

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Ok, just to make sure we're on the same page here.

DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT RANCH DRESSING.

I love ranch dressing. Just don't put it on my beloved wings, ok? Put your wife to work and have her make some blue cheese dressing. You didn't go to all that trouble to drench these fuckers in stale Kraft cheese and sodium benzoate, did you?

Blue Cheese dressing:

2.5 oz (70g) blue cheese (Saga or Maytag is fine, no need to get too fancy here.)

4 tbsp buttermilk

3 tbsp sour cream

2 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp vinegar (whatever kind you like is ok)

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

mash all ingredients together and refrigerate at least an hour or three for the flavors to come together. Then taste and adjust seasoning, buttermilk, and/or vinegar levels to your preference.

I usually add a little more buttermilk and vinegar when the dressing is intended for wings, allowing for maximum dippage.

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Serve with celery sticks. I wish I had plated some, but I was headed to a superbowl party. Here is some of my output:

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They should really be served RIGHT THEN, hot. But since I was going to a party I let the wings cool on a wire rack. Any attempt to "keep them hot" will result in the nuclear hot insides steaming the crispy skin you spent so much time making. Better cold and crisp in my book. To be fair though, buffalo wings simply do not travel well and do not keep well. (They don't spoil, they just dry out.) So you're better off making them when you're hosting the party.

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Make sure you evaluate each batch for "quality control."

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Enjoy with beer, football, and friends!

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Yeah were do a get a fryer like that! Nice wing 101 course though.

I like to add a dash of worchester sauce and a good 4 tbs of cayenne pepper, oh a few drops of satan's blood. Then again I like em Hot!

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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I have a fantastic wife. She got it for me, ordered online. She knows my disdain for "consumer" models of just about anything.

it's pretty much this one: http://www.anvilworld.com/products/Product...8719;=50&ID=127

but with the large single basket.

edit: holy crap, I never looked it up before. That thing cost me three hundred smackers!

Edited by pork (log)
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yeah, countertop fryers with dual baskets are splash-burns waiting to happen. I worked at a joint called "the Farmhouse" in Christiansburg, VA, where in addition to the two Vulcans at the fry station, each station had its own countertop model (homemade fries were a side option with everything). When working fry I had to drop and filter up to seven fryers a night. Those little bastards with the dual baskets dropped their baskets into the oil at the slightest provocation, splashing the unfortunate operator.

Edited by pork (log)
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Another option is to marinate the wings in hot sauce overnight, and then toss them in flour prior to frying. The flour creates little nooks and crannies for the sauce to cling to. But either way, wings are wings, you know?

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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Great walk through. Thanks!!

I dreamt of getting a big deep-fryer myself, but I reconsidered and just used a 4 litre stock pot.

I find I can get my oil temp to stay above 350 even with 10 wings frying happily. I don't think many countertop fryers can claim to do that.

Cheers.

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Over here, you'll see that I had success with buffalo wings that do have holding power and stay nice for a while. In fact, those in attendance we happier with these than the fried and tossed variety. Maybe not the real thing, but plenty good.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I love a purist. Nice work pork.

They should really be served RIGHT THEN, hot. But since I was going to a party I let the wings cool on a wire rack. Any attempt to "keep them hot" will result in the nuclear hot insides steaming the crispy skin you spent so much time making. Better cold and crisp in my book. To be fair though, buffalo wings simply do not travel well and do not keep well. (They don't spoil, they just dry out.) So you're better off making them when you're hosting the party.

I have a solution that works.

I had to fry the wings an hour before our super bowl party. Let them cool. Five minutes before everyone arrived I melted the butter in a 12" pan on the stove, mixed in the hot sauce and a pinch of salt, then added the wings and tossed them in the pan with the sauce just long enough to heat them up. Worked great.

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What?  You went to the store on superbowl morning and they didn't have the wings prepared that way, just whole chicken wings?  Don't fret, you can do it yourself.  I prepped 10 lbs (4.5 kg) this way in about 20 minutes.  You just need a sharp chef's knife or boning knife.

I've found kitchen shears actually work best for this. You grip the back indent with one side of the shear and the front with the other and just snip. Much cleaner cut 90% of the time.

When you first put them in, they will occasionally want to stick to the bottom of the basket.  Wait at least a minute or two before dislodging the pieces, or you will tear the skin.  With a commercial fryer, you can dislodge them by pulling the basket out, waiting a few seconds for it to drain, and bashing the basket against the backsplash of the fryer in a stabbing motion.  I don't recommend this with a home fryer.  Use long metal tongs.

Suspend them in the oil for 10 seconds before dropping them so they form a non-stick skin. Easiest way to do this is to drop them in using the spider.

DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT RANCH DRESSING.

I love ranch dressing.  Just don't put it on my beloved wings, ok?  Put your wife to work and have her make some blue cheese dressing.  You didn't go to all that trouble to drench these fuckers in stale Kraft cheese and sodium benzoate, did you?

What if I make my own home-made ranch dressing? :sad:

PS: I am a guy.

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So Pork ....  you gotta be from Buffalo, to do those so pure, so right. (?)

Acually I am from the DC area, with Pittsburgh and Philly ties. I learned them from a guy from Buffalo. He opened a bar in Blacksburg, VA called "PK's" back in 1992 or so. He taught me the basic recipe and I've been a disciple of the pure wing ever since. Thanks though! :smile:

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I've found kitchen shears actually work best for this.

I will have to try this next time I have to cut them myself.

Suspend them in the oil for 10 seconds before dropping them so they form a non-stick skin. Easiest way to do this is to drop them in using the spider.

What keeps them from sticking to the spider? :laugh:

What if I make my own home-made ranch dressing?

shhhhh! ok you can use homemade ranch, but don't tell anyone I said so ABSOLUTELY NOT! :raz:

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Very nice. I've been to the Anchor Bar and being someone who LOVES wings but hasn't really had good ones here in San Diego, I thoroughly enjoyed my double order. I've been wanting to make my own wings and your post has inspired me to give it a go. Thanks.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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I really really want that fryer. My god. I did buffalo wings for the first time the other night and mostly followed this. (of course I made them before I saw this). Thanks for the walk through!

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Fantastic demo pork. I like making these at home as well, but I don't have a badass deep fryer like yours. What I use is a pretty large, heavy cast iron skillet. I've never used a thermometer to see whether or not the oil is hot enough; I just used the method of holding my hand over the oil and when it "feels right" to the palm of my hand, in go the wings (or whatever I'm frying). Then I make the buffalo sauce from Frank's Hot sauce, cayenne, a few drops of Tabasco, melted butter and sometimes a whole crushed clove of garlic and let those simmer for a few minutes. Then, when the wings are done--about 10-15 minutes--I drain them and coat them the same way you do. I agree, they really don't travel well.

My blue cheese dipping sauce (great as a salad dressing as well) is comprised of:

Equal parts blue cheese, purchased whole and then crumbled, buttermilk, mayonnaise, and sour cream (I usually do 8 ounces each, but have been known to do 16 ounces each since it keeps well), the juice of one lemon, a few drops of Tabasco Sauce, cracked black pepper, and salt to taste. One caveat is that I had assumed that today's supermarket buttermilk was the same all over, but an acquaintance in New York said that using the exact proportions described above, hers came out too thin. When I make it, it's always nice and creamy and thick. It appears that Washington DC area supermarket buttermilk is thicker than what she purchased in New York (I think she said she picked it up at a supermarket called Albertson's, which we don't have here).

Glad to see that you've demystified this great snack and inspired people to make these at home.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Shalmanese,

Please dont make ranch.. Strictly blue cheese is really the only way.. I offered a feta and a blue cheese dip this Super Bowl.. The feta was an interesting addition.. But Ranch is just out. If you dont like blue cheese, then just put big chunks in the dip and eat around it.. :biggrin:

Edited by Daniel (log)
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I don't care for bleu cheese either and use Ranch instead.

The wings still taste great.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Whoa. That fryer is IT.

I love wings; my faves outside of mine are from Mr. Spots in Ann Arbor. I've been to the Anchor Bar once and it was not the revelation I expected. Sauce is only OK, and their wings were actually too big: too much meat. I prefer medium or even smallish wings to get a more agreeable skin/meat ratio.

I find that sauteeing a little garlic and black pepper in the butter before adding the sauce gives them a nice flavor, and lately I've been brining them and then drying them in the fridge overnight, which makes makes them uniformly seasoned and crispy.

Thanks for the walk-through, Pork.

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Whoa. That fryer is IT.

I love wings; my faves outside of mine are from Mr. Spots in Ann Arbor. I've been to the Anchor Bar once and it was not the revelation I expected. Sauce is only OK, and their wings were actually too big: too much meat. I prefer medium or even smallish wings to get a more agreeable skin/meat ratio.

I find that sauteeing a little garlic and black pepper in the butter before adding the sauce gives them a nice flavor, and lately I've been brining them and then drying them in the fridge overnight, which makes makes them uniformly seasoned and crispy.

Thanks for the walk-through, Pork.

You and I are on the same page as far as the size of the wings goes, Meez. I love the crispiness of the medium-small size, myself. When I get them out they are of the huge-but-rubbery style more often than not and I will tend to reject them based on texture even before the taste begins to enter the picture.

Here's how I learned to make Buffalo wings (conceit: this came from a friend who attended college in the opposite part of NYS, Troy, in the early 80's. Probably not Anchor Bar style but still pretty authentic to us Long Island kids at that time):

- We deep fry the (smallish) wings in a wok

- 50/50 Franks to Tabasco along with the butter, plus a shot of Italian dressing (which seems to be key). Powdered Cayenne or crushed piquin are used to go 'atomic'.

- Drain the wings on paper towels before adding them and the sauce to a plastic milk-shake shaker with a sealed top- give a good shake before serving.

- I don't see the point of the whole blue cheese vs. ranch discussion. Both are superfluous to me. (That means my wife gets double the sauce :wink: .)

I do like the idea of drying the wings overnight, but not so long ago somebody suggested dredging them in corn starch prior to deep frying. It gives a VERY crispy end result and allows the sauce to adhere in a much better way. I LOVE them that way, although the whole point of doing it only lasts about 5 minutes. Then they lose that quality. But if you're going to eat them immediately that's the way to go.

Edited by TongoRad (log)

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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