There was a time in my life when Saturday night out centered around cheap beer and even cheaper all-you-can-eat spicy buffalo chicken wings. The very piquant, but mostly hell burning red hot sauce was, and still is, a masochist's dream. I plowed through platefuls, the hotter the better. I was also a mess with greasy sauce all over my hands (thank god for Wet Naps and friends who don't care how you look).
For these chicken burgers, I wanted to duplicate the same intense hot sauce flavor of chicken wings. After some trial and error, I realized that simply shaking in a few drops of hot sauce into ground chicken wasn't going to cut it. The burgers were dry. Now, I know that most folks who choose chicken burgers do it to reap a leaner dish, but to make these super tasty...well, I'll just say it: these burgers are all about in-your-face flavor, not about saving a few calories. The first step towards moisture was to mix in a panade (a mixture of fresh bread crumbs and milk). To simulate the buttery hot sauce flavor and add juiciness, I stirred a few tablespoons of melted butter into the panade mixture, along with a moderate helping of hot sauce.
To cook the burgers, I originally planned on firing up an outdoor grill. But after losing a few of the tender burgers through the grates, I decided that the best way to keep 'em together was to simply toss them into a cast iron skillet or indoor grill pan. For an extra fiery hot burger, I brushed the tops with more hot sauce before I took them out of the pan.
And a spicy buffalo chicken burger would not be the same without the requisite blue cheese and celery. The thick blue cheese and chopped celery dressing is spooned on top; the perfect topping to cool off those burning lips.
About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of the new cookbook One Bowl Baking: Simple From Scratch Recipes for Delicious Desserts (Running Press, October 2013), and available at Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Powell's, The Book Depository. Watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. Follow her Chocoholic, Chicken Dinners, Singapore Stories and Let Them Eat Cake columns on Serious Eats. Follow Yvonne on Twitter as she explores Singapore.