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Super Bowl Food: I want to make PERFECT Buffalo Wings

I love traditional style Buffalo wings....how can I make them myself at home? Please share your recipe for how to make the traditional style (i.e. no BBQ, sweet and sour, etc.) I like them spicy hot. Thanks!

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  1. Alton Brown's recipe. Tastes just like deep fried without the fryer. Requires a bit of prep work but totally worth it. Don't skip the steaming step = removes most of the grease so they are taste like they are deep fried... they are superb.

    7 Replies
    1. re: beggsy

      +1 on AB's recipe -- crispy, not greasy, and **delicious**

      1. re: beggsy

        What a great thread! I'm hosting a Super Bowl party for my college age son and his friends. Last year when I made my wings I forgot to put cutting boards under my fryers and cracked my Avonite counter :((((. I really love the idea of cooking the wings ahead of time and then refying them. My problem is trying to figure out how much to buy per person. Does anyone know how many lbs per person? Here is our menu , LOL...as of now. We are having chips, dips, antipasto, little smokies, buffalo wings with blue cheese carrots and celery sticks, loaded potato skins, mozzarella sticks, green salad and I haven't decided on a dessert yet.

        1. re: MsBees

          I usually count on 6-8 wings per person if there's a big spread planned -- I don't pay much attention to the weight, because they'll vary anyway. Throwing away the tips will also alter your weight figure...

          So I figure one wing is two pieces, as you'll separate them and get rid of the tips (freeze 'em and make stock later)

          1. re: sunshine842

            Thanks sunshine. Because we are having about 30 people I'm going to save myself some work and buy the frozen precut variety. I'm not sure if there is a wing count on the bags. Hopefully there is.

            1. re: MsBees

              The bags of frozen pre-cut wings usually work out to about 10-12 wings per pound, in my experience.

            2. re: sunshine842

              Chicken wings come three different packing sizes: small which is 14 to 16 per lb, medium 10 to 12, and large (also called "party wings") are 8 to 10. The giant ones you probably won't find in the supermarket. The medium are probably what you will find, but if the price is cheap that might signal the smallest size.

        2. Be sure your blue cheese dressing has lots of nice blue cheese chunks. If you go with the jarred/ bottled stuff, add more crumbled cheese!

          1. Start practicing now, so you will have ithe technique perfected.

            1. I'm sure you'll get a lot of varied advice here, but take it from someone who lived near Buffalo for many years - there is only ONE authentic way to make Buffalo wings, and that is to do it the way it's done at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo (where they were created). Other wing recipes may taste good, but they are NOT Buffalo wings.

              1. Deep fry. Authentic Buffalo wings are deep-fried, PERIOD. Baking is NOT an acceptable substitute. Baked wings simply DO NOT taste the same, nor do they soak up the sauce in the same way. Also, do not even THINK of breading, flouring or doing anything else to your wings. They simply need to be dunked into 375 degree oil for about 12 minutes, naked.

              2. Sauce. Buffalo sauce is simply a blend of hot sauce (Frank's Red Hot, preferably), butter and a litte seasoning (every wing joint does it a little differently, but I like a little garlic powder, a shot of Worcestershire and a shot of soy sauce). The seasoning is actually optional, though - butter and hot sauce are the important components. The ratio of butter to hot sauce determines how spicy your wings will end up. If straight hot sauce isn't spicy enough for you, you can add crushed red pepper flakes for extra heat. Personally, I like a ratio of about 3 parts hot sauce to 1 part butter - that will give you about the same heat level as ordering your wings "medium" in Buffalo would. I use 1/2 c. of butter and 1.5 cups red hot to sauce about 50 wings, give or take, as I like my wings very saucy. Drain your wings briefly when they come out of the fryer, put them in a big bowl, add a generous amount of sauce and toss. Serve immediately. I recommend serving them in batches, as crowding your fryer will keep them from crisping properly, but holding them before saucing/serving can also result in soggy skin.

              3. Blue cheese is optional but if you use it, any decent quality blue cheese salad dressing will do. Adding additional chunks of blue cheese is gilding the lily, but totally acceptable. Whatever you do, please do not serve ranch dressing with your wings. Celery is also optional.

              Anyway, there you have it - three simple steps to perfect, AUTHENTIC Buffalo wings! In case you didn't notice, those of us who live (or lived) near Buffalo get a little worked up about what really constitutes a Buffalo wing :) Enjoy!!!!!!!

              26 Replies
              1. re: biondanonima

                Good counsel. Especially, NO RANCH DRESSING. Gild the lily with extra blue cheese, says this cheese mouse.
                To biondanonima: with your connections at the Anchor Bar, can you persuade the owners to dust the cob webs from all the bric-a-brack hanging on the walls, every 10 years or so?...:) It usually looks like a set for a Munster shoot.

                1. re: Veggo

                  No kidding. Von's in Seattle has a bunch of framed David Horsey (great political cartoonist) artwork on the wall and they were *filthy*. I emailed him about it. Yes, I could have said something to them but when it comes from the artist, they really have to listen, right?

                  1. re: Veggo

                    Haha! How about that wooden statue of the waitress when you come in the door--the one with granny head on the really stacked, young body. That thing creeps me out.

                    Yeah, the decor in the Anchor Bar is...interesting.

                  2. re: biondanonima

                    Excellent purist post! Thank you biodanima!
                    I am famous, well - er - here in Seattle... far from Buffalo, for my Superbowl wings, and I am glad to hear I make 'em almost like your post.
                    only difference, I marinate my wings pre-fry in buttermilk, s&p, smoked paprika, garlic powder, lemon peel zest and a little worstechire sauce.
                    Drain well, pat dry, fry.
                    Follow your above saucing directions, and do the medium ratio of Franks to butter.
                    Always serve with homemade blue cheese dressing, and lot's of crisped celery standing in ice water. Aaahhh. My favorite touchdown of the day!

                    1. re: gingershelley

                      And that may earn you a PAT!
                      (radicals, shuuddd uuppp).

                      1. re: Veggo

                        Veggo, what does PAT stand for?
                        (my initial thought is hehehee, but for what? Please enlighten me:)

                        1. re: gingershelley

                          sorry to disappoint, ginger, there is no feel-good to it ; it's a Point After Touchdown. But creative people...oh, nevermind.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            Well, Veggo, there is a feel-good to my wonderful hot wings, blue cheese dip and crispy celery, so there!

                            1. re: gingershelley

                              I am rooting for your team. Which team?

                              1. re: Veggo

                                New England; so I have an excuse to make homemade clam chowder and crab cakes, in addition to wings:)

                                  1. re: MsBees

                                    For food, or football finesse, or both Ms Bees? :)

                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                      Hahaha well I live in Massachusetts so I am definitely a Pats fan. But I also love the chowder and crab cake :)

                    2. re: biondanonima

                      Absolutely agree. my husband is from buffalo, and I lived there with him a few years the difference betwweb NY wings and vs wings is unbelievable.

                      Sorry for typos, IM on my phone which wont let me go back.

                      Flabby wings are disgusting. I prefer to cook mine just a little too much. when we have a party I sometimes double fry mine. I will partially fry ahead of time and then do again at service unsauced.

                      Franks is the key, and I have found that margarine works better in making the sauce adhere than butter. which is blasphemy for me as a margarine hater

                      We also grill our wings sometimes, just to be healthier I guess.. its good tho!

                      And it must be blue cheese and not ranch

                      1. re: Goatjunky

                        Re: the double fry - this is a very good way to do it if you want to serve a LOT of wings all at once. Excellent suggestion Goatjunky! I sometimes do this - I find that a 2-3 minute refry at a high temp is enough to recrisp the skin.

                        Grilled wings are tasty too but they're definitely not the real deal!

                        1. re: biondanonima

                          Great idea, especially when you have to serve a lot of wings! You said you refry them at a high temp is that 375 or higher?Do you know if I can cook them early in the day, refrigerate them and then recrisp them right before serving?

                          1. re: MsBees

                            I usually refry them from room temp, so that the cold wings don't drag down the temperature of the oil too much. A quick flash fry with the oil at 375 works for me - I usually do quite a lot of them at once when I refry, so even though they're room temp they bring down the temperature of the oil quite a bit.

                            Also, although I've never tried it, I suspect that you could probably get a very good final product by baking them until they're just cooked, then flash frying before service. It wouldn't be my preferred method but if I wanted to make more than 100 or so and I didn't want to be in the kitchen all night, I might try it.

                            1. re: biondanonima

                              biondanonimia thank you so much for your help. I've tried the baking but never frying them afterwards. At some point I may test that method but this is may be my senior in college last super bowl party with us so I'll cook it my normal way with your refrying method.

                              Thanks again

                              1. re: biondanonima

                                Hi Blondanonima. Did you ever end of trying the baking and then re-crisping in the fryer? That certainly would be a time saver. :::sigh::: although because I'm doing so many I am thinking about frying early ( I fry them very crispy) then reheating in the oven right before service and then and only then saucing them. What do you think?

                                1. re: MsBees

                                  I'm making these baked Buffalo wings today. I've had a lot of success w this guy's recipes before and these look great:


                        2. re: biondanonima

                          I was born and raised in Buffalo and I endorse this message--except I think that it really is okay to bake wings if you have a good method and no other option. They won't be quite as good as deep-fried wings but, believe me, Buffalonians will not tar and feather you if you do this. Not everybody has the gear to properly and safely deep fry at home, especially a large batch. I know plenty of Buffalonians who bake wings sometimes and my sister and I have done it too. Deep frying is best but a good baking technique is an acceptable substitute.

                          1. re: biondanonima

                            Well said. I have a post from 2006 pretty much along these lines! I worked at Shirley's on Millersport, down the street from Duffs, and we did thousands of wings a night when it was busy.

                            Only a couple of things I would add to your post.
                            1. After tossing the wings in the sauce, dump them back into a large strainer/colander and drain again. What sticks to the wings is all you need. If you plate it with a lot of sauce, the wings sitting in the sauce get soggy. In a perfect wing, the sauce is absorbed into the wing and they become one. A crispy, unnaturally orange wing, that looks almost unsauced to the eye, but if you run your finger across one, you'll pick up some sauce on it.

                            2. Franks has had a lot of the heat bred out of it (just like Tabasco). Buy the Franks Xtra Hot. And if need be, a drop or two of a neutrally flavored super hot sauce (like Dave's Insanity). I personally don't like red pepper flakes, because they don't infuse evenly and I don't like any bits of stuff other than orange wings.

                            3. Don't skip the butter/margarine to get more heat. Making wings with JUST Franks Hot Sauce because you like it hotter just isn't the same. To my mind, the wings don't stay crispy as long. I think the hot sauce emulsified with the butter creates a coating that retains crispiness better. That's why I'd add a drop of hot sauce to my Franks/Butter mixture rather than go straight Franks.

                            1. re: sbp

                              Sbp - awesome post! I agree with you that draining the wings is typical of places in Buffalo/Rochester but I actually prefer mine extra saucy - if they're served fresh from the fryer, they usually don't have time to get soggy no matter how much sauce they're in. However, if they're going to sit on a buffet or something like that, definitely get rid of the excess sauce (but serve it on the side for those that like it!).

                              As for the hot sauce, I like Frank's original because I feel like it has the right ratio of heat to vinegary-ness that is the hallmark of a good Buffalo wing. I love spicy food, but to me, the perfect Buffalo wing is less about blow-your-head-off spicy and more about the vinegary tang with just enough heat. I don't actually like pepper flakes myself either, but most of the wing joints I used to frequent used them for their "hot" or "extra hot" flavors, which is why I suggested it. A super hot sauce like you suggested would be my preference too if I wanted more heat. I also agree about not skipping the butter, but again, most of the wing joints I used to frequent did use less butter in their hotter flavors. Personally, I would NEVER cut the butter - it just tastes too good!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              1. re: biondanonima

                                That's funny because my wife is an "extra saucy" person, too. So she prefers Duffs, and i prefer Elmo's and Anchor Bar. That's definitely a personal preference thing that won't get you kicked out of Buffalo either way.

                                1. re: sbp

                                  Yeah, I had to ask for extra sauce when I went to the Anchor Bar. I lived in Rochester and most of the places there served them a little dry for my taste as well - luckily, the waitstaff at my favorite place knew me well enough that they always brought them out extra saucy!!

                          2. If you want to really ratchet up the heat of your wangs, add your favorite hot sauce to the Franks/butter combo.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                              Yep, with the Franks/butter "mother" sauce, one can ratchet up the heat without losing the fundamental essence of a Buffalo wing. Besides having used Insanity-style sauces, I have had great results with chile powders (particularly habanero and morita)* and a habanero chile oil. The oil is particularly interesting as it is pretty much just heat with little discernible flavor so the resulting wings look and smell "usual," but deliver a whole new "pop." A careful application of pure capsaicin extract would probably work fine as well.

                              *To be clear, I am referring to pure ground dried chiles, not the spice blend known as chili powder.

                            2. WOW! Thank you all for your thoughtful responses, especially the responses from the "native land" of Buffalo. I have another question - it's about the chicken wings themselves. I have bought a bag of frozen ones before and found that they coat each one in ice and was disappointed with the quality. Should I do something different? Also should I separate the wings and remove the tips?

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: momskitchen

                                I buy frozen wings (Purdue brand) at Costco pretty regularly and I find that the quality is fine, although they are individually coated in ice as you mentioned. I usually buy these out of sheer laziness, because they're already separated, etc. If you buy fresh ones, definitely separate them into wingettes and drumettes and remove the tips - wings are never served whole upstate.

                                1. re: biondanonima

                                  they're a lot easier and less messy to eat if you separate them, too.

                                2. re: momskitchen

                                  Two things about the wings themselves. In Buffalo, the good wing joints sell wings that are pretty large. Outside of Western New York, we always notice how puny the wings are. This is not just a matter of feeling cheated pricewise. Bigger wings have a certain ratio of skin to meat. The puny ones can taste greasy (especially if they get soggy), because there is so much skin. Try to buy the biggest wings you can find.

                                  Secondly, if you do buy frozen wings, make sure to not only defrost completely, but dry them off with a paper towel before you cook. Wet wings steam first.

                                  1. re: sbp

                                    "[M]ake sure to not only defrost completely, but dry them off with a paper towel before you cook. Wet wings steam first."

                                    Not to mention the fact that starting with fully thawed, dried wings is just good frying technique, reducing the chances for mishaps.

                                    1. re: sbp

                                      Ugh, yes - there is nothing worse than scrawny little wings. All that work for less than a mouthful of meat! The other great thing about larger wings is that you can fry them longer without drying out the meat, resulting in ultra-crispy skin.

                                  2. This thread is great But I have a few last questions about refrying etc. I will be frying 24 lbs of wings in 2 deep fat fryers.

                                    It seems that using the refrying method will allow me to cook the wings ahead and recrisp them shortly before serving. Do you think it would be ok to do the initial frying the day before the party?

                                    I also wonder, since I'm frying so many wings if I should use a fresh oil for the second frying? And I believe it is ok to put more in the basket for the second frying then the first. How much more? Is twice as much as the first frying too much?

                                    I also wonder, because I'm making so many, about keeping the wings warm while refrying. My oven will be in use for the potato skins, cheese sticks and poppers so I can't put the wings in the oven. Can I lightly tent them or do I have to put them out as their fried :( ?

                                    Thanks in advance for your help.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: MsBees

                                      Doing the initial fry the day before should be fine. I would make sure to let the wings come up to room temp before the second fry, though, to make sure you don't depress the oil temp too much with cold wings. No need to use fresh oil for the second fry - deep fry oil can be reused quite a lot before it needs to be changed. You can definitely put more wings in the fryer for the second fry as well, although I would watch the oil temp rather than give you a specific number. If your oil starts at 375, add wings until it drops to maybe 325, and cook them till it comes back to 340ish?

                                      If you can't keep them warm in the oven, I would suggest saucing and serving them in batches. IMO, wings are best straight from the fryer (and if you've made them well, they'll get devoured as fast as you can make them anyway!).

                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                        Yes, straight from the fryer is best. Next, held in an oven or kept warm BEFORE saucing. Then sauce and serve. Never try to keep warm when sauced - the wings will lose crispiness and taste baked.

                                        1. re: sbp

                                          Oh yes, I forgot to mention that. Wings can't be sauced and held - the texture is destroyed!

                                    2. If you opt for Alton's method I suggest extending the refrigerator-drying time to 6 hours or so. The wings become bone dry and somewhat firm but become very crispy and golden brown once you bake them. You should take them out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking them.

                                      Also, when you add your Frank's to the melted butter or margarine I find that whisking them together makes a sauce that coats the wings better than just stirring.

                                      1. Well, I live in Toronto and over the years we've eaten our fair share of Buffalo wings. As most folks know, the Anchor Bar is credited with the original version and, of late, Duffs has been giving them a run for their money in terms of popularity. At our house, the Anchor Bar wins as a traditional favourite.

                                        Too many years ago to count, a shopkeeper from Buffalo gave us the recipe that follows. In our humble opinion, it really does produce a traditional wing:

                                        I’m told this is the original recipe created by Ms. Teresa Bellissimo, owner of the Anchor Bar and Restaurant, in Buffalo, NY.

                                        Anchor Bar Wings

                                        4 to 5 Lbs Chicken wings
                                        Freshly ground black pepper
                                        Salt (if desired)
                                        4 C Vegetable Oil
                                        4 Tbs butter (1/2 stick)
                                        5 Tbs Franks/Durkee hot sauce
                                        1 Tbs white wine vinegar

                                        1. Chop off the tip of each chicken wing, and discard it. Cut each wing
                                        in half (cutting at the joint) to make 2 pieces. Add fresh ground black
                                        pepper and salt.

                                        2. in a deep skillet over high heat – heat oil until it starts to pop and sizzle (around 400 degrees F). , Or use a Dutch oven, or deep-fat
                                        fryer. Add half the chicken wings and cook until they're golden and crisp,
                                        stirring or shaking occasionally. When done, remove wings 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 wings on a warm serving platter, pour the sauce on top, and

                                        I'd note that we were told that the Anchor Bar makes these w margarine however we prefer the butter version.

                                        1. It must be Super Bowl Time again because I'm revisiting this thread :). I still cant figure out how many pound of wings to buy per person. A number of sources have given me the number of pieces per person but not lbs. My thought is if it was just the dips, wings and salad it would be 1 lb per person. But since i'm serving a number of different things (menu below) I'm wondering if 1/2 lb per person is enough. I don't want to run short but I also don't want to be left with tons of leftovers. What do you all think?

                                          My next question is about the double frying which worked well, but to be honest I would like to have the oil out of my kitchen by the time the guest arrive. So I was thinking this year of frying them early in the day, refrigerating them, bringing them back to room temperature, reheating in the oven and then saucing them. Do you think this method will work? If so what temp and for how long would you reheat them. Oh and since I'm feeding about 20 to 30 people again the wings will not be in a single layer when reheating.

                                          This years spread is;

                                          -salsa, bean dip, guacamole and chips
                                          -buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing carrots and celery sticks
                                          -chili with toppings of sour cream,shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, onion, jalapeños
                                          -corn bread
                                          -Potato skins with chess bacon and sour cream on the side
                                          -fried mozzarella sticks with marinara dipping sauce
                                          -artichoke,mushroom and spinach dip french bread pizza
                                          -green salad
                                          -and I haven't decided on dessert

                                          Thanks in advance for your help.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: MsBees

                                            Well, first off, that sounds like a great spread. I'm sure everyone will get a chance to eat their fill.

                                            To your questions . . . the size of the wings is going to determine how many pieces per pound. I find that folks tend to eat wings with regard to the number of pieces - even as opposed to the number of wings (personally, I love whole wings 'cause that crunchy tip is wonderful). Perhaps you should look at the number of pieces you think appropriate from the sources you've consulted and count how many are in a one or two pound package?

                                            My gut (which is pretty much as knowing as any other part of me) suggests that six to eight wings* per guy and three to four wings per gal should be more than enough, assuming you don't have a fella like me who's gonna get wrist deep in hot sauce. My memory (which is still pretty good) suggests that, for average size wings, eight to ten pieces makes a pound.

                                            If I were to cook them in advance, I would fry and sauce while hot from the oil, then cool as quickly as possible.** To reheat, I would use a low oven, say 275 or so, until warm and then crank up to 400 for a couple minutes or so to crisp a bit. (Since they are not going to be in a single layer, you might want to gently stir them two or three times, or reheat in batches?) They won't be freshly cooked crispy, but you might avoid too much overcooking that way.

                                            *Pieces, not whole.

                                            **This is fundamentally what the commercial producers do to sell frozen wings.

                                          2. Gotta go traditional, right? Equal parts Frank's and margarine (it really works better than butter for wings), a splash of white vinegar, a shake of Worcestshire, a dash of garlic powder and a dash of cayenne. Heat this to combine. Fry wings in 350 oil. Toss wings in hot sauce. Enjoy.