'Meathead' Goldwyn Shares His Foolproof Recipe for Buffalo Chicken Wings
Photo: Meathead Goldwyn
"Some will say the quintessential American foods are hot dogs and hamburgers, but they have their roots in Europe. Buffalo chicken wings, however, were born in the USA, made from a part of the chicken that once upon a time was used for soup stock. The popular dish was invented in Buffalo, New York, at the now fabled Anchor Bar, still at the original location, 1047 Main Street, although ownership has changed."
"The biggest challenge is getting the skin crispy. So I tried everything. I painted them with oil. I took a tip from Chinese restaurants and the way they make Peking Duck and dunked them in boiling water for a bit, and then let them dry in the fridge. I dunked them in salted boiling water. I steamed them. I sprinkled them with baking powder. I poked holes in the skin so they would drain better. I even combined techniques."
"So I've chosen the simplest path: reverse sear. I start the wings on the indirect side to cook the meat, add smoke, and finish on the hot side to crisp the skin."
Photo: Meathead Goldwyn
Buffalo Wings by Meathead Goldwyn
Makes 4 to 6 appetizer servings
Takes 2 hours prep and 30 minutes to cook
Blue cheese dip
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 ounces good-quality blue cheese, crumbled 1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon Simon & Garfunkel Rub (1 tbsp each of dried parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, crushed bay leaf, black pepper; 2 tbsps dried sage, 1 tbsp sugar)
Classic Buffalo hot sauce
8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted
2 minced or pressed garlic cloves
1/2 cup Frank's Original Red Hot Sauce
24 whole chicken wings (about 4 pounds)
Salt and ground black pepper
6 celery stalks, cleaned, and cut into 4-inch sections
1. Take the cream cheese and the blue cheese out of the fridge and let them come to room temp. Then smush them together with the spices in a bowl. Mix in the sour cream and half-and-half. Refrigerate. Cut up the celery and refrigerate.
2. You can also make the hot sauce days ahead. Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat and then add the garlic. Let it simmer for about a minute but don't let the garlic brown. Then add the Frank's. Let them get to know each other for at least 3 to 4 minutes.
3. So here are the problems with wings. There are three distinct pieces of different thickness and skin to meat ratio. The best thing to do is separate the tips, wingettes (or flats in the center) and drumettes into three parts with kitchen shears, a sturdy knife, or a Chinese cleaver.
Separate the V-shaped piece remaining at the joint between the wingette and drumette. You will cook both these parts. The tips are best for stock.
4. You can start them on a smoker if you wish, but I usually grill them. Set up the grill for two-zone cooking with the indirect side at about 325°F to help crisp the skin and melt the fat. If you wish, add wood to the direct side to create smoke. Use a lot of smoke. Grill with the lid closed in the indirect zone until the skins are golden. That will probably take 7 to 10 minutes per side. By then they are pretty close to done.
5. Now move them onto the direct heat side of your grill, high heat, lid open, and stand there, turning frequently until the skin is dark golden to brown but not burnt, keeping a close eye on the skinnier pieces, moving them to the indirect zone when they are done.
6. Put the sauce in a big bowl or pot and put it on the grill and get it warm. Stir or whisk well. Keep warm. When the wings are done you can serve them with the sauce on the side for dipping, or just dump them in with the sauce and toss or stir until they are coated.