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Nov 5, 2010 09:36 PM

Anchor Bar Wing Sauce Recipe?

I understand that it's possible that no one knows the secret recipe the anchor bar has for their original medium buffalo wings, however if you do know it or have a recipe of your own thats very close... I would love for those of you out there to share it.

I know that real buffalo wings are never breaded, always fried fresh, not frozen, use franks hot sauce, include butter and are always served with blue cheese dressing. I was just curious if vinegar may have also been a part of the secret sauce. I know that the Anchor bar may not have the best wings in the universe... but still I love and appreciate them.

Thanks in advance everyone... even if I am beating a dead horse lol.

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  1. I dug up a little research and came across recipes that "claim" to be the original and just thought I would share and get everyones opinions. The funny thing is... is that the recipe could be so obvious and easy thats why people have no clue to what it is. I think it could just very well be franks and butter or margarine.

    6 tablespoons Louisiana Hot Sauce
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine - not butter
    1 tablespoon white vinegar
    1/8 teaspoon celery seed
    1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
    Dash of black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
    1 to 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
    Carrot and celery sticks
    Marie's Bleu Cheese Dressing

    The Sauce: This makes enough for about 30 "wingettes." Mix all the ingredients in a small sauce pan over low heat until the margarine is completely melted. Stir occasionally.

    The Wings: Fry the wings in a deep fryer set at 375 degrees F using vegetable or peanut oil. Fry 15 wings at a time for 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the wings for a few minutes then put them in a bowl. After all the wings have been fried, pour the sauce over them, cover the bowl, and shake to completely coat the wings.

    They can be eaten now, or you can put them on a baking sheet and bake them for a few minutes to get an extra-crispy coating.

    Serve with carrot and celery sticks and Marie's Bleu Cheese Dressing and cold beer (Genee Cream Ale is traditional).
    Source: Ladies Home Journal - August 1991 - This is supposed to be the REAL Buffalo Wing recipe from the Anchor Bar in Buffalo.


    4 to 5 Lbs Chicken wings
    Freshly ground black pepper
    Salt (if desired)
    4 Cups good quality Vegetable Oil
    4 Tbs butter or margarine (1/2 stick)
    5 Tbs Louisiana-brand hot sauce (the "Frank's" we've been talking about) or Tabasco sauce
    1 Tbs white wine vinegar

    1. Chop off the tip of each chicken wing, and discard it. Chop the wing in half (cutting at the joint) to make 2 pieces. Grind on fresh black pepper and sprinkle with salt if desired.

    2. Heat the oil over high heat in a deep skillet, Dutch oven, or deep-fat fryer until it starts to pop and sizzle (around 400 degrees F). Add half the chicken wings and cook until they're golden and crisp, stirring or shaking occasionally. When done, remove them to drain on paper towels and cook the remaining wings.

    3. Melt the butter or margarine over medium heat in a heavy saucepan, add the hot sauce and the 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Stir well and remove from the flame immediately.

    4. Place the chicken in a plastic tub with the sauce, shake well, dump onto a warm serving platter, pour the sauce on top, and serve.

    taken from "Totally Hot! The Ultimate Hot Pepper Cookbook".

    7 Replies
    1. re: BlackRose

      I have used the recipe you attributed to the Anchor Bar from the Ladies Home Journal for years. Although the bottle sauce the Anchor Bar markets now does not have the same flavor as the above recipe. When I was at the Anchor Bar a few years ago the sauce was better in the restaurant. Whether authentic or not it is the best sauce I have had.

      1. re: BlackRose

        I was mentioning the butter vs margarine thing to a friend recently who challenged me as to how it could possibly make a difference. I've not tested it myself, and am curious if anyone here actually has. If so, exactly what, if any, was the difference noticed - or is this just one of those thinsg that everyone knows to be true but has never tried themselves?

        1. re: jgg13

          I hate margarine so I never have it in the house. I imagine its flavor would be largely covered up by the heat and vinegar of the Frank's, though, so it's probably an acceptable substitute.

          1. re: jgg13

            when you use butter it is fine with immediate use but if you refrigerator leftover sauce it looks broken or splotchy. The margarine stays more emulsified with the other ingredients. I always have butter in the house but I only keep margarine for the wing sauce.

            1. re: folprivate

              doesn't the "splotchiness" go away when you reheat the sauce?

              1. re: ZenSojourner

                Not completely....don't misunderstand me it still tastes great just doesn't look as good after being refrigerated and reheated. I think the vinegar you add using the recipe that Black Rose & I referred to, and the vinegar in the Frank's and Tabasco react with the butter fat as opposed to the fat in the margarine. Or maybe it is the acidity of the peppers.

                1. re: folprivate

                  Well maybe I'll just have to try it both ways and do a taste test!

                  What a shame, to be forced to eat more wings!


        2. Another great recipe that claims to be the original.... I guess it all boils down to what taste you prefer... who knows... I just love wings!

          This is a wing recipe from a guy who used to cook wings for a living in

          Get some Durkee's Frank's Original Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce, there
          is "no" adequate substitute, you may have to ask your grocer to order it,
          or call Durkee/French's at 714-526-3363. If it's the little bottles, get
          two or three of them, I get the gallon jug from a restaurant supply place,
          cheap! It used to be called Frank's Red Hot Pepper Sauce, then it was
          Durkee's Louisiana Hot Sauce, but there already was a brand name Louisiana
          Hot Sauce. Still tastes the same!

          Acquire some margarine. Only margarine works right (correct taste and
          resistance to burning). Neither oil nor butter will substitute.

          Get the wings cut up, and start heating up the frying grease. Some
          revisionist (or health-conscious) types insist on other cooking methods,
          but there is nothing like the real crisp-on-the-outside moist
          -and-chewy-on-the-inside texture of fried wings.

          Make up the sauce. Put the Durkee's and margarine into a skillet or
          saute pan big enough to comfortably hold one fryer-load of wings. The
          total amount of sauce at once should be about a quarter of an inch in the
          bottom of the pan.

          The proportions are:

          Equal parts is the nominal starting point (called "medium" in Buffalo).
          A bit of tingle, but not very spicy.

          Undiluted Durkee's doesn't taste as good, but is pretty hot. Three to
          one, Durkee's to margarine is about as hot as I like it.

          For the really timid (like kids) just a splash of Durkee's in the margarine
          gives a little flavor but no noticeable hot. The idea is to cook up the
          Durkee's and margarine to a bit thicker consistency. It should simmer for
          5 minutes or so, then be kept hot.

          You can make up just one batch of sauce for a bunch of wings. You can just
          add more ingredients to the pan as you use up the sauce. When you add more
          ingredients, you can adjust the spiciness.

          I use this to satisfy everybody, I start out with all the margarine I plan
          to use, and put in just a splash of Durkee's. That makes a few wings for
          the kids. Then a bunch more Durkee's to make the wings medium. Still more
          Durkee's to get it the way I like it.

          Fry the wings. They're cooked when the bubbles slow down significantly.
          This takes seeing it once to know just how much bubbling corresponds to
          "done," but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to get it right. At home,
          I put the "drumettes" in first, because they take a minute or two longer
          to cook. As always with frying, be sure that you don't put in so much
          food that the temperature of the fat drops below 325 or so, and have the
          heat on so it gets back up to 375 ASAP.
          As the wings finish cooking, take them out and drain thoroughly. I
          generally put them in a strainer held over the fat. Don't pile them up
          in a bowl, or the fat will cool and congeal before it runs off!

          Once the wings are drained, put them in the sauce and get the wings covered
          with sauce. The official restaurant way to do this is to toss them in the
          air, but your stove cleaner may not appreciate this.
          Use tongs to pick the wings out of the pan and let the sauce drain off.
          Toss the wings on a grill or in a hot oven for a few minutes at this point
          to "bake on" the sauce.

          Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing on the side. Yes, the
          BCD *is* for the wings! But make sure it is good BCD, with nice chunks of
          good cheese. (One of the sadder realizations of my growing up is that there
          are some things you just can't get, restaurants get a special Kraft dressing
          that comes only in five-gallon containers that must be continuously
          refrigerated. Great stuff, not available to you and me.)

          Blue Cheese Dressing

          1 cup mayonnaise
          2 tbs. finely chopped onion 1 tsp. finely minced garlic
          1/4 cup finely chopped parsley 1/2 cup sour cream
          1 tbs. lemon juice 1 tbs. white vinegar
          1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
          Combine and chill for an hour or longer. Makes 2.5 cups.

          11 Replies
          1. re: BlackRose

            I just made wings myself tonight - I lived in Rochester for many years and have eaten LOTS of good, authentic Buffalo wings! We even made a special trip to Buffalo to go to the Anchor Bar a few times! Anyway, my wing sauce tastes pretty close to the Anchor Bar, although I have no idea whether or not the ingredients are exactly the same. I use about 3 parts Frank's Hot Sauce (NO SUBSTITUTIONS) to one part butter (I like them pretty spicy/vinegary, but I sometimes cut it back to a 2 to 1 ratio), plus soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. I don't know what the exact amounts are, but I typically make 2.5 cups of sauce for a 10 lb bag of wings (90-100 wings), and that includes a stick of butter (plus a couple of pats sometimes), 1.5ish cups of Frank's and probably 2 T. of soy sauce, 1 T. of Worcestershire and 2 t. of garlic powder.

            It goes without saying that I deep fry my wings naked and just toss them in the sauce, putting them in the oven is heresy to me! I usually toss them as soon as they come out of the fryer, then let them sit a second, then toss again and serve. This recipe has the seal of approval from all of the people with whom I went to college - and we ALL ate a LOT of wings while we were there!!!!

            1. re: biondanonima

              You rock, thank you for sharing... now this is a true Buffalo wing recipe. I'll have to try this out this coming weekend! =)

              1. re: biondanonima

                That's a lot like what I do, too- did we go to college together? (I was in Syracuse!)

                1. re: biondanonima

                  blondanonima, I used your recipe yesterday, although my sauce was only Frank's, butter, and a healthy dose of El Yucateco habanero sauce to add some heat.

                  I made my own blue cheese dressing using (mostly) Ian Garten's recipe. I mixed one c. mayo, one c. heavy cream, two tbs. tarragon vinegar, four oz. blue cheese and salt and pepper in a food processor. I also added about a tbs. of Worstershire sauce.

                  They were absolutely the best wings I ever had. Thanks a lot for steering me the right direction.

                  1. re: JonParker

                    You're welcome! Glad the recipe worked out for you!

                2. re: BlackRose

                  Timing of cooking is something I've been trying to work on. With the fry temp up in the 375-385 range, what would you say is your average time for the drummette pieces? I've played around with everything from 8-9 mins to 17-18 minutes, haven't really come to one conclusion. Will have to watch for the bubble thing.

                  1. re: jgg13

                    I heat my oil to 375 in my large Le Creuset (which I believe is 9qt), then drop about 30 wings (2-3 pieces at a time). This brings the oil temp down very quickly into the 285 range. I then fry for 12-14 minutes, depending on the size of the wings and my mood. They are always cooked at 12 mins, but I like them crispy, so as long as the wings are of decent size (i.e., not so small that cooking longer will dry them out), I generally go around 14 mins. I don't separate drumettes from wingettes, but if I did I would cook the drumettes even longer. The oil will be back to 325ish by the time the wings are done.

                    1. re: jgg13

                      I always fry mine fresh, never frozen and I pat them dry before frying. I get grade A wings that are about medium size and I as well fry both the drums and flats at 375 for 12 - 15 mins always. When they start to float and get nice and golden brown and the oil gets quieter then you know they are done.

                      If you want to bake them I would use a cooking sheet lined with aluminum foil and spray lightly with oil then add the wings to a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes then turn the wings over and put them in for a additional 20 minutes and they should turn out nice and crispy. It's good to keep checking them so they don't stick or use a sheet rack so the wings don't sit in the oil, that will help them get crispy as well. Also if you bake them make sure you thaw them out good and pat them dry and rest them in the fridge from 2 hours so they can dry out a lil bit before baking them.

                      1. re: BlackRose

                        I understand why you would want to dry the wings before deep frying - you don't want to get spattered with hot oil - but why before baking? They'll dry out pretty quick in a 450 F oven. It's just surface moisture, right?

                        1. re: ZenSojourner

                          I never had a problem with them drying out in the oven after baking but it'll be just as good to pat them dry. The wings will still have moisture inside of them, the skin however you want to make sure is dry so they have a chance to get crispy.

                  2. Equal parts butter and Franks, reducing the parts of butter for a hotter sauce.

                    1. Here's a site with a supposed orignal version of ABN Wings from the original owner. There's a little vinegar in the sauce which leads me to believe it is either original or darn close.


                      1. I dunno.. 20 or so years ago... I was watching some talk show on TV. The subject was 'who really invented Buffalo Hot Wings'. There were two guys from restaurants in Buffalo (I don't remember which ones) that claimed to be the original inventors of hot wings. During the show the recipe was given and being a big hot wing fan I wrote it down. I don't remember the precise original amounts (especially the ketchup/Tabasco ratio) as I've probably made this thousands of times since and have adjusted it over the years.

                        12-14 oz Ketchup (good brand like Hunts/Heinz)
                        12 oz Tabasco sauce
                        1 stick butter
                        1 tbsp chili powder
                        1 tbsp onion powder
                        1 tbsp garlic powder
                        1/4 cup lemon juice

                        Just throw everything into a saucepan and stir to combine. Simmer, do not let boil

                        Simple, just like what you would expect from someone throwing stuff together in the back to come up with a quick appetizer:

                        note: My first adjustment was to reduce the amount of ketchup. My other 'adjustments' have been to experiment with different chili powders, vinegars in lieu of lemon juice (I still prefer lemon juice), fresh garlic vs powdered, etc. I still keep coming back to the original recipe.

                        Sure enough, when I made this the first time it was the hot wing flavor I associated with Buffalo Hot Wings. However, over the years it seems that the flavor one associates with wings has changed (evolved?). Now it seems it's not an 'official' hot wing sauce unless one uses Franks in the mix. Franks is good but I still prefer Tabasco. I guess I was too imprinted long ago but I prefer this recipe to the more modern 'authentic' ones.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Haliaimike

                          Ketchup has no place in a true Buffalo wing sauce. The sweetness and tomato-y-ness are all wrong. I started eating Buffalo wings around 20 years ago and there was definitely no ketchup in the wing sauce at any decent wing place in the Buffalo/Rochester area that I frequented. One did (and probably still does) occasionally encounter wing places that offered different types of non-Buffalo sauces for wings (BBQ, sweet chili, etc.), but they were always clearly marked as such - the recipe you posted sounds like it would fall into that category.

                          1. re: biondanonima

                            Not gonna argue with you. The origin and authentic recipe for Buffalo wings are disputed enough already.

                            I'm just offering what was at the time supposedly the original recipe for Buffalo Hot Wings as given on a talk show interviewing a couple different guys each claiming to have been the one that invented Buffalo Hot Wings. Being so long ago (maybe closer to 30 years now that I think about it) I don't remember what bar(s) they were from in Buffalo or which talk show they were being interviewed on.

                            According to them supposedly hot wings came into being because someone asked for an appetizer and for some reason they had all these chicken wings on hand and the rest is history. And as I said, it did sound like a 'quick & dirty' something someone would whip up back with on hand ingredients in a back room bar kitchen.

                            That said, one of the first adjustments I made to the recipe was greatly reducing the amount of ketchup (I now use just enough Hunts or Heinz to thicken the sauce and give it a good color). I do know they never said anything about breading them first, using celery seed, Worcestershire or Soy Sauce, white wine vinegar or any other 'gourmet-like' ingredients. What I remember most of all was K.I.S.S..

                            for what it's worth, although Tabasco is what the 'original' called for, after hearing about Franks as a 'no-substitute' I decided to try it. The only thing I could find was Franks 'RedHot Wings' Buffalo sauce. Indeed it had a good hot wing flavor I've run across in some wing joints. However, (and maybe it was due to being more a 'hot wing sauce mix' and not just pure hot sauce) it was far too salty for my taste while at the same time not being nearly as 'tangy' (i.e. acidic via lemon juice or vinegar) as a good wing sauce should be.

                            1. re: Haliaimike

                              Yes, the Frank's "Red Hot Wing" sauce is definitely not what you want if you're making your own wing sauce - it's got way too many weird ingredients in it and not enough heat/tang to work as the hot sauce component of Buffalo sauce. I don't really care for Tabasco in my wing sauce either - it's too watery and sharp. Frank's (original or regular flavor, whatever they call it) is great because it has some thickness and body to it without resorting to tomato additives.

                              As for it being a quick and dirty sauce, I agree 100% - if I'm feeling lazy, I will often make it with just Frank's and butter. I prefer to add just a dash of Worcestershire, soy sauce and garlic powder, though, because that makes it taste more like the wing sauce at my favorite college joint. They're also ingredients that most restaurants would have in their pantry. Every place does it a little differently, though.

                              1. re: biondanonima

                                Written on the bottle: "Franks Redhot was the secret ingredient used in the original Buffalo wings created in Buffalo N.Y. in 1964".

                                Could be, I dunno, but I distinctly remember the 'original recipe' I mentioned calling for Tabasco. Not Franks, not Louisiana, not Cholula... Tabasco. Admittedly Franks has obviously taken 100% of the lions share of the 'commercial wing market' since. And it does make sense as Franks is made in New Jersey and as such is more likely to have been on hand in the back of that N.Y. bar. Maybe they were being smarty pants and was throwing out Tabasco as a red herring to all the wanna be wing joints popping up out there.

                                Doesn't really matter to me, both Franks & Tabasco are good heat sources. Being Southern I just prefer the flavor of Tabasco peppers to Cayenne. Honestly, while I am a huge wing nut I've never been to Buffalo so I may not have ever had true, 100% authentic Buffalo Hot Wings (tm) but Tabasco is the flavor I was 'imprinted' with way back when thanks to that talk show. But you are right, Tabasco does make for a thinner sauce and needs help with a 'coating agent' (ala the Ketchup. Just don't use near as much as the 'original recipe' called for... Just enough to thicken)

                                The list of ingredients in the pre-prepared 'Franks RedHot Wings' mix is:

                                "distilled vinegar, aged cayenne red peppers, salt, water, canola oil, paprika, xanthan gum, sodium benzoate (as a preservative), natural butter flavor and garlic powder".

                                Whereas the Original Franks RedHot ingredients are:

                                "Aged Cayenne Red Peppers, Distilled Vinegar, Water, Salt, Natural Flavor and Garlic Powder"

                                See what they basically did there (ignoring the preservatives)? Just added more vinegar & salt and substituted canola oil (with an added butter flavor) for real butter. Oh, and threw in some paprika (?).

                                Unfortunately I cannot recommend their prepared wing sauce even in a pinch. I don't even think it could be 'doctored' as it's just too salty for my taste.

                                I bet they sell it to bars by the 5 gallon can though... all that salt makes for good beer sales :)

                          2. re: Haliaimike

                            I worked in a wing joint up the street from Duff's around 1978, been eating wings since before that, of course. I think the Anchor Bar folks like to embellish the recipe in interviews to make it sound more complicated than it is. Back in the 70's, in Buffalo, it was pretty much common knowledge - Frank's Hot Sauce and Margarine.

                            Frank's has been dumbed down since then, it's no longer nearly as hot. I'll add a drop or 2 of neutral extra hot sauce to get it back where it belongs.