Buffalo Wings

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Well friends, Labor Day has come and gone, and usually by now, so has my long awaited week at the beach! This summer, however, was not typical in any way, shape or form, so unfortunately, that meant no beach trip for us. It did, however, offer me an unexpected summer with a quiet schedule. As we all know, summer always seems to fly by as we try to cram as much as we can into it, but due to the crazy circumstances we are living in, this year I found myself with a little more free time to enjoy it. We enjoyed the simple pleasures of quiet backyard barbeques and sunny afternoons relaxing in our pool. Summer did seem to fly by, none the less, and the most surprising part of summer is the arrival of fall! The seasons change so smoothly, they sometimes creep right up on us. The subtle decrease in daylight and temperature, the presence of school buses on the roadways, and of course, football! While this fall we really miss our local “Friday night lights”, at least we have some college games to watch, and my beloved Buffalo Bills to cheer for!

As I have told you (many!) times before, football has always been a HUGE pastime in the McGraw household. Chances are, if there is a football game being televised it will be viewed in my household while munching on chicken wings. We have always deep fried our wings, but this year, we purchased an air fryer, so we are trying to learn the best way to give our air fried wings the taste and crispness we are accustomed to. As with any new tool in the kitchen, I expect it will take some trial and error before we perfect our recipe, but I am excited to play with our new “toy”! I will keep you updated on my progress…

If you are a fan of wings, perhaps you have noticed that usually anywhere you go outside the WNY region they are called “Buffalo wings”, but around here they are simply “wings”…that always struck me as odd! True “Buffalo wings” as we think of them, are “naked” (not breaded or battered), deep fried and shaken in a sauce usually consisting of butter and Frank’s Red Hot sauce. I personally think they need to be sided with celery, carrots and blue cheese dressing- never ranch, but that is just my taste! Simple, tasty, and in my opinion, iconic! They have come a long way from their inception some 50 years ago. As the story goes, the first “Buffalo wings” were served late one night at Buffalo’s Anchor Bar. The owner’s son and a few buddies came into the bar late one night. They wanted a snack, but dinner service was over, so when her son asked her to whip something up, Mrs. Belisimo grabbed what was left over and destined for the soup pot the next day, the lowly leftover wings from a few chickens. She tossed them in the deep fryer, shook them in a little hot sauce she threw together, and Voila! An icon was born! Up until that time, chicken wings were considered waste and most often used for stock or soups. Little did Mrs. Belisimo know of the masterpiece she had created.

Today you find chicken wings on most appetizer menus, in a plethora of varieties of flavors and cook styles. On any given Sunday, millions of wings are being served to hungry sports fans. And all of this because someone’s son wanted a snack! The next time one of your kids asks for a snack, maybe you will think a little outside of the box…you just might come up with the next big thing!!

Buffalo Wings

3 lbs raw chicken wings
Deep fryer
1 C Franks Red Hot
4 T Butter (NOT margarine)
¼ t celery salt

Carefully cut wing sections apart and discard tips.

Remove excess moisture by resting on paper towels (excess wetness will cause the fryer oil to boil hard and possibly overflow the fryer).

Heat fryer oil to 375*. Using caution, add wings to fryer (being sure to not overload the fryer- usually 8-12 wings per batch in most home fryers) and cook for about 15 minutes. Wings should be golden, crispy, and have an internal temp of 165*. Remove from fryer and place on paper towels to wick out excess grease.

While wings are cooking, combine sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer.

Gently toss cooked wings in sauce and serve with celery, carrots and bleu cheese dressing. Add an adult beverage if desired and root on your favorite team!

To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.