Now that my wife has decided to go 100% vegetarian for good, she's had to resign herself to the sad truth: the perfect buffalo wing can never again be hers. In an act of selfless valor, I made it my mission to provide her with a suitable alternative: deep-fried cauliflower.
'Buffalo wings' on Serious Eats
A heavily Cajun-seasoned skin gives an earthy and spicy coating to these chicken wings, while hot sauce adds another layer of flavor to create a complexity that goes beyond the standard Buffalo.
Whether you're planning on actually watching the Super Bowl or just using it as an excuse to eat excessive amounts of wings, here are plenty of options for you.
Buffalo wings are pure, unadulterated, crispy, greasy, hot & vinegary nuggets of awesome. So given that we're going to be eating so many of the suckers, isn't it our national duty—our duty to the birds, even—to make each and every one the best it can possible be? To not—pardon the terrible pun (and all the terrible puns to follow)—simply wing it? I've had my share of greasy, dry, flaccid, burnt, tough, gristly chicken wings. My only goal today is to figure out how to get the best out of each and every drumette and flat, to create a Super Bowl snack worthy of its American heritage. A bird we could really flip for.
Classic buffalo wings are a real triumph in recent American history. Extra crispy and perfectly spicy, this recipe is the best way to prepare your drumsticks and flats for ultimate crowd-pleasing power.
The Fire on the Mountain chicken wing nano-chain is the perfect example of a Portland institution. When hungry for hot wings, there is no discussion; Fire on the Mountain is the assumed destination. When a third location opened this fall, the prospect of pizza and house-brewed beer caused quite the buzz. A pizza menu which infuses traditional NY-style thin crust pies with eccentric wing ingredients could not hide under a blanket of mediocrity.
Other than the crowd of little league soccer players and their parents after Saturday morning practice, Buff's biggest claim to fame are their wings ($4.95 per half order; 8.95 per whole). You can get them on or off the bone, and doused with one of 10 different hot sauces. It's not actually the variety that impresses me; call me a curmudgeon, but Buffalo wings are Buffalo wings, and I start to wonder about a place that offers as many different flavor varieties as Baskin-Robbins.
So it's five minutes before the kick-off on Sunday and you're expecting a massive posse in your living room, and you only have one bowl of guacamole. To split 32 ways. Luckily you can always order fast-food wings. We tasted a mess of them with all different sauces (Buffalo, Honey BBQ, various spicy levels) from KFC, Domino's, Papa John's, Popeyes, and Pizza Hut. The winners, revealed.
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. We tried seven sauce variations in pursuit of the most finger-lickin' good.
With the clock ticking down to the Super Bowl, we've got wings on the mind at Serious Eats. And while there are all sorts of great chicken wing specimens around the city, from Japanese-style to barbecue, this year we're focusing on the American classic: Buffalo-style wings. Deep-fried wings tossed in a mixture of hot sauce and butter are just what we're after. Where did we find the best?
There's always a divide between what I want to bring to a party as an appetizer or side dish, and what's portable or easy to reheat. And for all those times I've tried making Buffalo wings in the cramped kitchen at other people's parties, there was a great alternative lurking the entire time. And that was Buffalo Chicken Dip.
Can Buffalo wings be baked instead of fried and still retain all their finger lickin' flavor and crispy skin goodness? They sure can. Plus you won't have to stand over a pot of bubbling oil while everyone else is on the couch nursing a beer and watching the Super Bowl.
Note: On Wednesdays, Andrea Lynn, senior editor of Chile Pepper magazine, drops by with Serious Heat. [Flickr: swanksalot] [Photograph: Andrea Lynn] Who doesn't love classic Buffalo-style chicken wings? Especially when football season beckons. During my days doing restaurant work, when...
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