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Hot Wings

Buffalo Hot Wings

Buffalo Hot Wings are a very important part of football. Either tailgating or watching the game from your favorite seat, whether at home or at the game, this special appetizer treat can't be beat.

You can fry them or bake them, buy them in a bag or make them from scratch. I've done them every way you can imagine, and many of the frozen ready-for-the-oven wings are great.

But if you want to add your own touch, either the way they're cooked or the formula for the sauce, here are some ways to do it yourself.

Typically the wings are served with celery and Ranch dressing, and sometimes with carrot sticks as well. These crunchy vegetables, dipped in the cool salad dressing, are the perfect accompaniment to the wings.

To start from scratch, the easiest thing is to buy wings already cut up. Frozen bags of wings contain the first two segments of the wings; the tips are generally not used. The first segment is called the drumette, because it looks like a miniature drumstick. The second segment is called my favorite piece of chicken.

I like them fried rather than baked, but if you need to watch the calories, baking is better. Just spread the wings out on a baking sheet (spray the baking sheet with Pam first), sprinkle with a little garlic salt and pepper, and roast them in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes. Check the thick part of a drumette to make sure it's no longer pink inside.

You can also fry them in a frying pan or in a deep fat fryer. 320 degrees for five to seven minutes is about right; here again you should check a drumette to see what time is right for your particular cooking setup.

You can also batter the wings before frying, like the ones in the photos. This is what I usually do, because I believe the wings should be special even without the hot sauce (and some eaters will prefer them that way). Use a batter/flour recipe like the one I describe on the fried chicken page, and modify it the way you want.

The hot sauce usually starts with Frank's Hot Sauce, and you can even use it "as is" right out of the bottle. That's what I do. I figure if I can come up with a recipe better than his, I should go in the hot sauce business. But there are some options that you can do with little extra effort.

For example, you can add a little honey to Frank's, to add a little sweetness and stickiness, if that's what you and your friends like. You can also add a touch of Worcestershire sauce, and some Tabasco for added flavor and heat. Heck, you can mess with the sauce in small batches and try lots of combinations. We made some once where we had tears in our eyes and sweat running down our cheeks. Man, that makes cold beer taste great!

You won't have any trouble finding lots of recipes, and try 'em all if you can. But let's face it: you will have a hard time beating Frank's right out of the bottle.


Copyright John P. Choisser - CookingDude.com 2005-2014