Game Day Buffalo Wings Made Simple

Buffalo wings are the perfect snack for watching a game.
Buffalo wings are the perfect snack for watching a game.

It’s football season, which means it’s also prime time for snacking. And no snack works better for bringing people together on game day than Buffalo wings. After all, they’re bold, spicy finger food that is perfect for sharing with a crowd and goes great with cold beer.

According to the lore at Anchor Bar Restaurant in Buffalo, New York, co-owner Teressa Bellissimo spontaneously invented the Buffalo wing as a late-night snack for her son’s friends by deep frying the wings usually used for stock and tossing them in a cayenne pepper sauce. Many wing purists warn against straying too far from that original recipe. Nonetheless, there are countless variations in sweetness, heat and cooking method. Follow the tips below for a simple way of preparing fantastic wings in time for kickoff on Sunday.

Barbecue Buffalo Chicken Wings

Cutting the wings
You can likely purchase precut wings at your local grocery store. However, you’ll need some guidance if you are going to cut them yourself. First, a little poultry vocabulary: wings consist of the upper part of the arm that looks like a small leg, called the drumette; a middle joint, referred to as either the flat or wingette; and the tip of the wing, also called the flapper.

Begin by locating the joints. Try bending a joint back and forth to get a sense of its precise location.Then, using the lower part of your knife’s blade, push down on the joint with some force. If you directed the knife correctly, you’ll cut through cartilage and successfully split up the wing into its parts. Otherwise, you’ll hit bone. If you don’t immediately get it right, don’t feel frustrated! It may require cutting several wings for you to start finding the joints with ease.

Throw out the tips and allow the drumettes and wingettes to set at room temperature for a while, as this will help them to cook evenly. Alton Brown suggests placing the wings in a steamer basket, steaming them for 10 minutes and then refrigerating them for an hour before proceeding. This double-cooking approach will allow you to roast the wings in the oven at a high heat without producing a great deal of smoke.

buffalo chicken wings with celery

Preparing the sauce
The Kitchn suggests a tasty, yet easy, Buffalo sauce you can make with 6 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup of your preferred hot sauce and 1 teaspoon of salt. Simply melt the butter in a saucepan, remove it from heat and then mix in the hot sauce and salt. If you like, try mixing in a clove of minced garlic or a little cayenne pepper. You can also experiment with sweet flavors like honey or molasses, as in a recipe from Real Simple.

Baking the wings
Those aforementioned Buffalo wing purists will insist that wings be fried to get the correct crispiness for the skin. However, as Serious Eats points out, baked wings are probably the better idea when you’re having guests over for a game: Baked wings can be just as tasty as traditionally fried ones and contain less unhealthy fat and oil. They are also easier to make and far less hazardous during the cooking process.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the wings on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper and roast them for 20 minutes. Flip them over and let them cook another 20 minutes, or until they are cooked through with crispy, golden brown skin.

Once the chicken is ready, combine it with the sauce in a large mixing bowl. Toss the wings in the sauce until they are well covered. Serve up the wings while they’re still warm, grab a drink and enjoy the game.


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