Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Recipe: Buffalo Wings

Americans can do simple food so well - so many times across that country I have stepped foot into a random bar and had a great burger, or a fantastic breakfast or my favourite; a whole bucket of chicken wings washed down with a whole bucket of beer.

So Buffalo Wings - cheap, cheerful and so I thought completely undoable this side of the pond.  Firstly - where can you find chicken wings?  Normally when I order these anywhere I receive pathetic excuses for wings with a quantity of meat that makes me feel sorry for the scrawny beast that probably never really used them.  I've seen organic and free range chicken wings for sale in Waitrose at £5 for 4.  Given I eat about a dozen in a sitting it wasn't going to work.

One of the benefits of moving out to the suburbs has meant access to a car and a quick look on the internets found me a couple of decent butchers.

My first attempt used chicken wings sourced from the greats Bevan's butchers at Garsons Garden Centre in Esher.  I asked for a dozen chicken wings at something like £5/kilo and received about 1.2kg.  Fantastic free-range chicken meant these wings were mahoosive examples of their kind and fed two adults (sparingly) for 2 days.

Attempt number two took me to the Game Larder in Claygate where the butcher had no fresh chicken wings but kindly sold me about 25 frozen wings for £2.  Yes - thats £2.  Although this is a bargain the wings were much smaller than the examples at Garsons and I always feel a bit icky eating battery chicken.

Next on the shopping list is the sauce.  There can be only one authentic sauce and that's Frank's Hot Sauce .

Frank's Hot Sauce

I've seen this in Waitrose before - you need to add melted butter to it for Buffalo Wings.  Alternatively you can buy Frank's Buffalo Wing sauce which from what I can tell is Frank's and butter - I've only seen this in Garsons Farm Shop.

I adapted this recipe as I wanted to bake, not fry the wings.  I've tried cooking them on a raised rack but this just results in the sauce falling off!  At this point there are 2 choices.

  1. Dip the refrigerated wings in the sauce before cooking per the recipe above - aka the wife-friendly option.  This delivers non-messy wings that are spicy but truthfully are not buffalo wings.  They are better the next day than option 2 though.
  2. Cook without sauce.  This delivers exceptionally crispy chicken wings that you then dip into the hot, buttery sauce that you've heated on the hob (the flour coating gives the sauce something to stick to).  These are the wings I'd been craving!

Result.  Chicken wings with home-made coleslaw and potato salad.  3 days worth!

Buffalo Wings


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