Buffalo Wings

Buffalo wings are a tasty finger food popularized in the mid to late 60’s. Or so the claim goes; there are a couple different versions of where this popular bar food got it’s start. We’ll look at that in just a minute though.

Real Buffalo wings are made by deep frying unbreaded chicken wings and then coating them in a vinegar based cayenne pepper hot sauce along with butter. The chicken wings are usually split into what are known as the flat and the drumette sections of the wing prior to being fried.

Due to the popularity of the Buffalo wing, many North American restaurant chains feature them as a menu item. Typically, Buffalo wings will be found as an appetizer item.

However, there are a number of restaurants that specialize not only in Buffalo wings but many other flavors of wings as well. These restaurants tend to have very spicy options on the menu for the brave few who enjoy insane amounts of heat. Like me.

In addition, some restaurants feature a hot wing challenge of some sort, where the meal will be free of charge if the participant is able to eat a particular amount of over the top spicy wings within a limited amount of time. I would totally do a challenge like that.

Because of the success of the Buffalo chicken wing, the term “Buffalo” is now used as a generic term that can be applied to other fried foods served with the vinegar based cayenne pepper sauce. Some of these items include chicken fries, popcorn chicken, buffalo burgers (quite good in all honesty) and something I’m not too fond of; boneless Buffalo chicken wings.

Basically, it’s come to the point where you can turn anything into a Buffalo style. The rule is, as long as you put the Buffalo sauce on it, it can and should be labeled as a Buffalo version of that food.

I’ll give you an example: If you put a hotdog in a bun and drizzle Buffalo sauce on it – voilà, you have a Buffalo wiener. Put some Buffalo sauce on your chicken and toss it on a pizza. Congratulations, you’ve just made yourself a Buffalo pizza.

One of the different stories regarding the origin of Buffalo wings claim that they were first offered in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York by Teressa Bellissimo, a co-owner of the establishment. Chicken wings were inexpensive and not very desirable. They were used primarily for making chicken stock.

But she needed a quick and easy snack for the unannounced late-night arrival of her son Dominic and his college buddies. That’s when she came up with the idea of deep frying the chicken wings and coating them with a cayenne sauce. This may or may not be the truth, I don’t know if anyone really knows.

There was also an article published about the Anchor Bar in a local newspaper during 1969 and it doesn’t mention anything about Buffalo wings. Interestingly enough, Duff’s Famous Wings started selling Buffalo wings in that same year.

And finally, one story states that there was a man name John Young who had moved to Buffalo, New York from Alabama in 1948. He began serving uncut chicken wings that had been breaded, deep fried and served in a special tomato based sauce which he called “Mambo Sauce” at his restaurant in 1946. Young said that the Anchor Bar didn’t begin offering Buffalo wings as a regular menu item until 1974.

Young registered the name of his restaurant as John Young’s Wings ‘n Things before leaving Buffalo in 1970. In 2013, the National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, New York acknowledged his contributions and he was inducted into the festival’s National Buffalo Wing Hall of Flame.

I don’t know the truth behind the origin of the Buffalo wing, but I do know they are delicious and I think I shall make some for myself right now. Not because I’m shamelessly plugging our content, I’ll provide a link to a post that will tell you everything you need to know about making Buffalo wings. This Urban Kitchionary entry talks about deep frying the wings, our post however uses a steaming method. Go take a look at it here: Chicken Wings and Buffalo Wings