Best Hot Sauce Base: Frank's Red Hot
Best Buffalo Wing Sauce: Anchor Bar
The basic components of Buffalo wing sauce are hot sauce and butter. Heat plus fat. But not just any old hot sauce will do. They've got to be made with the slightly thick, spicy but not blow-your-head-off, super vinegary stuff in the style of the original Frank's (you don't want to make Buffalo wings with say, Tabasco, for example).
Frank's, Texas Pete's, and Crystal are the three biggest contenders in this style, and though harder to find in stores, the self-proclaimed birthplace of wings, Anchor Bar, makes a bottled wing sauce as well (despite the fact that their original recipe was based on Frank's).
When doing preliminary research, we quickly learned that most brands produce both a regular hot sauce and a bottled "Buffalo Sauce," intended to go straight onto the wings, no mixing with butter required. We tried both varieties, in pursuit of the most finger-lickin' formula.
First step: Ordering a bucket of 100 sauceless fried wings (man, does it feel good to order 100 of something). Then we doused them up real good with the seven sauce variations.