My mother grew up in Buffalo, a town that is serious about wings and hockey. So yesterday’s nail-biting Canada vs USA seemed the perfect occasion for hot wings, but since I’m 2,000+ miles away from Duff’s I had to make my own using what turned out the be the most INSANE wing recipe EVER. I haven’t had wings this freaking delicious since my last visit to Buffalo six years ago for my grandmother’s funeral. It was April and snowing and my mom, cousins, aunts and uncles all headed to Duff’s for beef on weck and wings. The week prior I’d heard from Bon Appétit about an opportunity for a senior editorial position—a dream job, but I was married to another dream job at the Los Angeles Times Magazine. On the plane ride home from Buffalo to LAX I leafed through the April 2004 issue of Bon Appétit and landed on the back page, an interview with Buffalo’s own Wolf Blitzer talking about his favorite hometown eats (Bocce’s – best pizza on the planet, Anderson’s for frozen custard). I took it as a sign. Bon Appétit!
Bruce’s BEST EVER Hot Wings
I adapted this recipe from my friend Trisha’s incredibly gifted husband, Bruce. I also reached out to my Aunt Holly in Buffalo and my mom for added input, and everyone agrees that Duff’s wings are what we aspire to—super hot and super saucy. My proportions reflect this sauce to wing ratio, but the method is all Bruce and it’s a winner. I’m serious – these are going to be better than your wildest dreams. His secret? He says…
It’s always a recipe that I ‘wing’ and stick to no script. I think the secret to great wings is the same quality that makes good french fries a cut above, you have to ‘twice bake/fry’ to get the crisp texture. When you fry/toss in hot sauce/bake/toss in hot sauce/serve, this also adheres the sauce to the wing. It adds up to a lip smacking experience that my Buffalo friends would be proud to gnaw. I always use Frank’s Louisianna hot sauce, I mean c’mon. Add tabasco according to the present company and always have copious amounts of celery and blue cheese dip on hand to finish them off. Never had a complaint.
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco, to taste (more is more!)
Salt, to taste
12 ounce bottle Frank’s Red Hot Original Sauce (make sure it’s Frank’s Original and not Frank’s Wing Sauce which has a bunch of additives and is not as good)
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil for frying
3 lbs chicken wings
Make blue cheese dressing (recipe follows) and chill while cooking wings.
To make sauce, mix first seven ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a stock pot, heat 2 inches vegetable oil until it reaches 380 degrees. Cut off chicken wing tips, and halve chicken wings at joint. Using a large spider, carefully lower half the chicken wings into the oil and fry for 3 minutes. Remove with spider and toss with sauce.
Remove from sauce and place on rack of broiler pan. Allow oil to return to 380 degrees. Repeat with second half of wings. Place pan 4-5 inches from broiler and cook for 5 minutes, turn wings over and broil another five minutes until crispy and golden.
Remove from oven and submerge wings in sauce. Remove from sauce w/ spider and serve with blue cheese dip and celery sticks.
The Foodinista’s Blue Cheese Dip
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (the stronger and stinkier, the better)
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
Mix all ingredients together and chill well before serving.