Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing
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.
In order to make buffalo wings you will need:
- 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:
- Melted butter.
- 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)
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.
- 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.
How to Prepare Unprepared Chicken Wings
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
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.
Pretty soon you won't have to open the skin to know where to cut it easily.
Cut the wingtip off at the other end of the wing section, also through the joint.
There you go. "Drumette," wing, and wingtip. Throw the drumette and wing into the bigass bowl of soon-to-be-delicious wings.
Put the wingtips into a freezer bag for your next batch of chicken stock or court-bullion. OK! Lets cook!
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Buffalo Wing Sauce
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.
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.
Serve with celery sticks. I wish I had plated some, but I was headed to a superbowl party. Here is some of my output:
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.
Make sure you evaluate each batch for "quality control."
Enjoy with beer, football, and friends!
Here are some plated. Ok, the things on the right are actually chicken feet. They don't make great wings, so don't try that. I did so you don't have to. If you're feeling experimental, try Sam_I_Am's Buffalo Shrimp.