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How To Make Buffalo Wings


25 years ago I was in college and one of my good friends, Mike Lyons, decided to share with us a delicacy from where he grew up in upstate New York. From that day forward I was hooked and in the years since I have become a wing evangelist, spreading spicy goodness across the country. What follows is the technique and recipe from Mike (with only a slight modification as noted below).


Original Recipe

Franks Original RedHot Sauce - Accept no substitute. Don't let anyone tell you that they know a better sauce to use. This is the one and only sauce to use. Don't get the "wing sauce", just the plain old original RedHot. If you're lucky, you can find it at your local Sam's Club in one gallon jugs. By the way, it's not just good on wings, it great on pizza, tacos, eggs, and just about everything else.

Wings - 1st and 2nd portions, throw away the "end" of the wings that have no meat on them. You can use fresh wings and cut them up, but I usually get frozen wings at Sam's or Costco, they tend to be bigger than the fresh ones I find at the grocery store.

Salted Butter - This is the last key ingredient. It gives the wings that buttery goodness and helps the sauce stick to wings.

Frying Oil - Good wings have to be deep fried. I've used vegetable oil, peanut oil, and "clear frying oil" (from Sam's of course). I generally start with fresh oil every time, but you can reuse it if filtered and stored properly. If you really don't want to mess with deep frying, you can grill or bake the wings and use the same sauce recipe, but in my opinion, they won't be quite as good.

My Modifications to the Original Recipe

Garlic - I love wings with chunks of garlic on them and this is the one modification that I've tried that stuck. I use minced garlic from a jar, but fresh garlic works too.

White Wine Vinegar - I'm not sure if this really adds anything or not but I sometimes add a little for some extra tangy kick.

The Main Ingredients


So, how much of each to use?

If I'm going to the trouble to make wings I usually make at least 10 lbs. To be honest I never really measure the ingredients, I just eyeball them - for the sauce, I pour until the sauce pan is about halfway full, but... I always make way too much sauce. so here are the approximate proportions I use, you may need to experiment a little, but as long as you use plenty of Franks and butter it's hard to mess up:

10 lb bag frozen wings (or fresh wings cut up).
3-4 cups Franks Original RedHot Sauce
2 sticks salted butter
4 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (optional)

Wings go great with this Homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing

Celery (optional)

Step 1 - Thaw the Wings

If the wings are frozen, it's best to thaw them before putting them in the fryer. If you put frozen or ice-coated wings in the fryer it can drop the temperature too low for a good fry and can slow down the whole process. I use a big stock pot and soak the wings in cold water for about 15 minutes before I start frying.

Thawing the Frozen Wings

Step 2 - Fire up the Fryer

Be very careful around the fryer and hot oil. If it's hot enough to fry chicken it's hot enough to fry human skin, children, and small pets. If you don't know what you're doing, then get someone else to fry the wings for you.

Any reasonable deep fryer will work for wings, it's just a matter of how many you can fry at once and how easily you can control the temperature. I usually use a propane fryer not unlike the turkey fryers you can get everywhere. I use a shallow pan and basket to make it easier to get to the wings.

I also use a counter top electric fryer for smaller batches. It has automatic temperature control and uses less oil, but you can only fry a few wings at a time without losing your heat.

Fill the fryer with oil according to the directions for your particular type. You need at least enough oil to cover a single layer of wings.

Heat the oil to 325 degrees F. Try to keep the temperature between 300 and 350 degrees F. Any hotter and you risk burning the oil. Buy a frying thermometer if you don't have an automatic temp control.

325 Degrees - Ready to Fry

Step 3 - Get Your Fry On!

Take your thawed out wings and drop them in the oil. Again, be careful of hot splashing oil. It's best to let most of the water drip off the wings before frying to minimize the boiling off and steam when you start frying. Of course, make sure to wash your hands often and keep the raw and cooked wings separated.

The number of wings you can do at once depends upon your fryer - how big is it, and how well can it keep the temperature up. You'll have to experiment to find out and you may have to adjust the settings as you go. I typically can fry ~12-15 wings at once (as long as they are not frozen).

The wings usually start to float when they're done. Stir the wings occasionally with a long metal spoon to make sure that they don't stick to the bottom of the fryer. Typically it takes no more than about 10 minutes to fry unfrozen wings if you can maintain 325 degrees. If you're worried leave them in a little longer. Also, you can occasionally cut into a test wing to make sure that they are completely cooked. As long as the juices in the meat are clear they are done. Note that previously frozen wings sometimes have some redness around the bones.

When the wings are done use a slotted metal spoon or strainer to remove them from the fryer and place them in a disposable aluminum pan or plate lined with paper towels to drain some of the residual oil. If you're not going to dip them in sauce right away, cover the wings with aluminum foil to keep them reasonably warm.

Remove the fired wings

Drain the wings on paper towels

Step 4 - Make the Sauce

While you're frying the wings, you can start making the sauce.

1. Heat the butter and garlic in a large saucepan on low heat until the butter is melted. Saute the garlic for a few minutes, but be careful not burn the garlic.

Saute the Garlic

2. Add the Frank's and Vinegar and simmer over medium-low heat for about 5-10 minutes to mix the flavors thoroughly. Keep warm over low heat until the wings are ready.

Sauce is Ready!

Step 5 - Coat the Wings

After the wings are fried and drained on the paper towels, coat them with the sauce. You can either use a shallow bowl and stir a few wings with sauce, or just drop the wings directly into the sauce pot (about 10 at a time) to coat them then remove them with a slotted spoon.

Sauce 'em up!

Step 6 - Enjoy!

The wings are best hot - right out of the fryer/sauce. I have not yet found a great way to keep them warm for long periods of time without them getting soggy, but if I am taking them to a party I use a crock pot set on the lowest setting which works fairly well. I usually pour some of the extra sauce on top to make the wings a little wetter and spicier.

Enjoy the wings with this awesome Homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing, celery, and a cold beverage of your choice.

Comments or Questions? Send me an email

-- last modified: Tue Aug 16 08:23:26 2011