Wings! Wings! Wings! Part 2: The Classic Buffalo Wing

Friday, February 5, 2010

With Super Bowl coming up in just a couple of days, I thought I'd post another quick recipe on wings because let's face it, wings equal football games. The last recipe I posted for Terriyaki Wings is great and baked with a sweet sauce (and awesome), but I thought I'd post a classic buffalo-style wing as well.

You need to know a couple of things about wings.

1. The "wing" is actually made up of three pieces: the thicker boned part called the "drummette" and the two-boned part, aptly called the "double-bone," and the pointed edge called the "tip." Most people cut off the tip as it has no meat on it (but is very tasty to flavor stocks and soups!) and then separate the drummette and double-bone to give the standard wing appearance we all know today. Separating the wing also makes it easier to cook and eat. You can find wings already cut up this way at the market, but if you can't then it's easy to just cut the pieces at the joint using a sharp knife. A cleaver honestly works best.

2. Sauce is actually optional. Although buffalo style is the most well-known (and my personal favorite), sauces can range anywhere from naked (no sauce) to jerk, asian, hawaiian, and even bbq flavors. You can literally use any sauce you can think of. I've even seen wings with a white alfredo-type sauce. They looked gross, but the possibilities are endless.

3. The dipping sauce debate. The reason why you have a bleu cheese sauce is to combat the heat in the buffalo sauce. The bleu cheese is made with sour cream which is a natural neutralizer to the cayenne pepper base in the hot sauce. One can use ranch sauce also but personally I find ranch to be both disgusting and offensive. It belongs on a salad and only on a salad. I've seen bbq sauced wings served with honey-mustard dipping sauce that worked out really wonderfully. What you want is a balance of flavors. If the sauce on your wings is already sweet/sour/spicy then you don't really need a dipping sauce. If it's straight forward hot sauce then offer the classic bleu and celery.

4. Wings can be fried or baked. Either is ok. Just make sure the wing is cooked all the way through and has a nice crisp to it. If frying then use a good oil like peanut or canola oil (not olive! never olive!) and if baking then use a high temperature (400 or above please!). And to ensure a crispy wing, they must be DRY when you fry or bake them! To do this just pat the ever-loving-shit out of them with enough paper towels to carpet your living room. I'm makes all the difference.

5. Wings are meant to be messy so napkins or wet naps are a must! That's when swiping those extra packaged wetnaps from KFC will come in handy!

Now that we've dispensed with some basics, let's get on with the wings!

Here's a great recipe from Paula Deen that illustrates a good fried wing with a simple buffalo sauce. Your heat is going to come from the hot sauce you choose. I like Frank's Red Hot myself. But you can do Tabasco as well or any hot sauce you love. If you want even more heat you can add some extra cayenne pepper when you make the sauce.

Hot Buffalo Wings by Paula Deen
1/2 cup Roquefort cheese, crumbled
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayo
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp wine vinegar
1/2 cup sour cream
12 chicken wings, disjointed
oil for frying
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup hot sauce
Cream the Roquefort and cream cheese in a bowl. Add the mayo, lemon juice, vinegar and sour cream and blend well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
To make the wings, heat the oil to 350 degrees and deep fry the wings until golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the hot sauce. Toss the wings in the sauce immediately and serve hot with the side of bleu cheese dip and celery stalks.
My Notes: You can also garnish with carrot sticks as well (or in place of the celery).
I find the easiest way to toss the wings is to fry them in batches (always in batches so you don't overcrowd the pot and bring the temperature down!) and then place them all in a very large mixing bowl. Then I pour the sauce over them all at once and give them all a big toss. Don't worry if some get cold - the buffalo sauce will warm them up again.
If you can't find the pre-cut wings you can always ask your butcher to prep them for you.

No comments: