Superbowl Buffalo Blowout

Football is a game of strategy.  One can liken the plays of an NFL team to the moving of chess pieces around a board with the ultimate goal of getting your players from one end to the other.  The maneuvering and shoving of chicken pieces into one’s mouth, with the ultimate goal of burning one’s face off, surprisingly, can also be a game of ingrediential strategy.  Thus, for the 2010 Superbowl, 2CITK decided to host a soiree in celebration of football and that most American of foodstuffs:  The Buffalo wing.  And as with many of the food items that people are used to ordering in a restaurant, but don’t know how to make at home, we thought a lengthy explanation of how to go about in fact reproducing these tasty guys in your own kitchen would be in order.

Deep Fry Do Or Die

Ultimately, deep frying is the classic method of preparing wings.  Here’s a quick 1,2,3 on how to deep fry in your home kitchen IF you have a proper ventilation system.  This means you have a good strong fan that can suck up the oily vapors that arise from deep frying, pass those vapors through a filtration system that collects the oil (and allows you to later remove and wash out), then passes the remains to air that is outside your house or apartment.  If you don’t, you’ll want to bake your wings, which is fine, because most wings are half skin, which means that wings will sort of fry in their own fat, even when cooked with the dry heat of an oven.  But if you can deep fry, here’s how to do it:

  1. For a Superbowl party, let’s say you’re going to make 40 wings.  Take your wings out of the refrigerator in time so that when you want to fry them, they are at room temperature.  Wash them with cold water and dry them out, and dry them well, as a moist wing can cause the oil to spit at you.  Depending on your preference, you can separate the “drumstick” from the winglet, or leave the wings whole.  Separation requires a heavy knife, and a can-chop attitude.  Unlike the separation of a leg from a thigh, no finessing of the knife through the joint is necessary if you have a heavy enough knife and put some swing into your chop.  If you don’t have a heavy knife, then you will have to finesse your blade through the joint to get the two pieces of the wing apart.
  2. Get a large non-stick pot that you would ordinarily use to boil pasta.  You’re going to fill it half full of oil.  You can use vegetable, or canola, or a combination of both.  Don’t use corn as it will lower the smoking point, and give your wings a corny flavor.  If handy, add some peanut oil (but not more than ¼ of the total volume) to raise the smoking point of your oil, thereby producing crispier, juicier wings.  If not handy, don’t worry about it.  Your wings will be fine.  Heat your oil to 375 degrees by using an instant-read or candy thermometer for temperature measurement.  Hopefully, your oil should be shimmering, only very slightly smoking, if at all.  If it is smoking more, lower to the temp to 350.
  3. Drop those wingers in the hot oil!  Preferably while cranking some Winger on the hi-fi (or wi-fi).  Don’t crowd the pot; your wings should have some room on all sides so that each wing is surrounded by oil and not touching the other wings.  Work in batches.  At this point, all the instruction we can give is to fry until golden brown.  Your wings might be smaller or larger than ours, in which case they might take shorter or longer to cook.  Whole wings take longer than separated wings.  The best indication of when they are done is color and crispiness.  Once again, golden brown skin, crispy on the outside, and firm but tender on the inside.  When you pull out your first batch out, break one of those wingers open.  You should see all white meat.  At this point, check to see that they’re not too dry.  The common problem with deep frying at home is that the temperature of the oil drops too low when the wings are first added, so that by the time they are golden brown, the inside can be completely dried out.  If this is the case, lower the frying time and take the next batch out when they are less golden brown.  When you have your perfectly fried chicken wings, season with salt, pepper, and anything else you feel like putting on them, but remember that you will be slathering these with some kind of sauce that will also be seasoned, so adjust accordingly.

Bake To Success

If you are stuck, as 2CITK is, in a city apartment without a good ventilation system, deep frying will cause two things to happen.  1.  Your apartment will smell like a grease bin behind a KFC.  2.  Your drapes, walls, cabinets, furniture, records, computer, stereo, bed, chairs, couch, pets, and children will collect and absorb all of the aforementioned oily vapors that have arisen out of your pot.  Remember, wings are half fatty chicken skin and water, and frying basically renders the fat out of the skin, and the hot oil bubbles that fat and water into an atomized chickeney fat laden gas that seeps through your apartment, sticking itself to anything it comes into contact with.  The solution:  Baking.  Check out the 1, 2, 3 on the baking process:

  1. Same as step one for frying.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with foil.  Or, if you have a roasting rack and pan, arrange the wings on the rack, making sure that they aren’t touching each other.
  3. Bake at 350 until golden brown.  Season to taste.

Sweet.  That was easy.

A Tale Of Three Hot Sauces:

Doing some preliminary research on the original Buffalo wings, it seems to be the general consensus that they were invented by Teressa Bellisimo at The Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY on October 30th, 1967 when she had an overabundance of chicken wings and an unexpectedly large and hungry party of people to satisfy.  Apparently at this point in history, wings were not usually served in restaurants, and instead were used for stock, or even thrown away.  The story goes that inspiration magically smacked Mrs. Bellisimo upside the head, and she instantly came up with the idea to take a batch of extra wings, deep fry them, and then dump a boatload of melted butter and Tabasco sauce over them.  Now, if 2CITK is going to go through the trouble of making as it turned out, close to 80 wingers for our Superbowl Blowout guests, the last thing that we want to do is cover them with some extremely commonplace store bought sauce that we guess was considered “hot” by American taste buds circa 1967.

We want two big things in our sauce(s):  Heat and Flavor.  To achieve this, we decided to break the elements of hot sauce down.  What did we find?  Structurally, almost all hot sauces stand of a taste tripod of heat, savory flavor, and a sour/sweet part.  For Tabasco, these three components come in the form of Tabasco peppers for heart, the aging on the sauce in oak barrels for savory flavor, and vinegar for the sour note.  After identifying these three elements, we realized we could run wild with our interpretations of what hot sauce and consequently Buffalo wings could be.  Which led us to decide that for our Blowout, we should come up with not one but three different wing sauces, each a different level of spiciness.  Also in our research, we noticed a trend among commercially produced sauces towards naming their brand as being something hellish, satanic, or generally evil.  Consequently, we decided to take inspiration from heavy metal music to give our sauces monikers.

THE EXCITER

This was to be the tamest of the sauces.  It being a Superbowl party and the middle of winter, we decided to have this sauce be a showcase for some tropical flavors, in order to fight off the mid-winter blahs.   Our local market happens to have frozen mango, papaya, and guava paste which lends itself better to sauce making than juice, which would also water a sauce down.  Of course, you could use any sort of tropical fruit juice, and just reduce it by half before adding to the main sauce mixture.  The breakdown of how this sauce is put together is as follows:

2 cups tropical fruit paste or reduced juice

5 cloves garlic

½ white onion

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

½ tbsp black pepper

2 scotch bonnet peppers

2 tbsp brown sugar

3/4 cup white vinegar

½ cup hot sauce of the Tabasco, Frank’s, or Crystal variety

¼ cup (or one good long squirt) of ketchup

Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.  Afterwards, put mixture into a saucepan and heat until the mixture reaches a simmer.  Simmer on medium or medium low for ½ hour.

HIGH ON FIRE

A sauce that would come as close as possible to a classic Buffalo wing sauce for this night, High On Fire provided a decent amount of heat, a bit of sweetness, and some high profile savory-ness, without scorching the taste buds and watering the eyes. Based on the historical information 2CITK learned above, classic wing sauce consists of butter and Tabasco sauce.  And that’s it. So while we’re positive that that’s delicious, because who doesn’t love butter and hot sauce, it strikes us as a little, well, uncreative.  We realized we could have a whole lot more good kitchen wizardry fun by turning hot sauce making into a multi-step production.  We decided to complicate things a little, while still achieving a product that is almost indistinguishable for your classic Buffalo wing sauce.

1 Bottle Tabasco sauce

½ Head of garlic

1 Bottle Tabasco peppers

½ White onion

¾ Cup Ketchup

1 Cup white vinegar

½ Bottle Yucateca red habanero sauce (or less to your taste)

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste, most of the heat will be coming from the Yucateca)

Salt and fine ground black pepper to taste

Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.  Afterwards, put mixture into a saucepan and heat until the mixture reaches a simmer.  Simmer on medium or medium low for ½ hour.

FACE MURDER

Now step on down to the flames of the underworld.  This one is for the real contenders, the ones without fear, the ones who are wise to the ways of Hades.  Like Shaitan himself, it’s a bit of a trickster.  It starts out tame and tomatoey, making you think you can take a little more, fit another winger in your mouth with the first one.  But before you know it, it has an iron grip on you, like a hot metal glove gripping your face and squeezing the tears out of your eyes. After the first wave of heat builds and then slowly recedes, amazingly, the only thing that you want is one more wing, one more searing death grip on the front of your noggin to make you cry all over again.  If you’re ready, of you are one of the brave, the horribly addicted capsaicin junkie, here is your fix:

1 Head of garlic

½ white onion

5 Scotch bonnet peppers

3 Jalapeno peppers

2 Serrano or Thai chili peppers

2 Habanero peppers

½ Bottle Yucateca red habanero sauce

1 cup hot sauce of the Tabasco, Frank’s, or Crystal variety

½ cup ketchup

1 cup white vinegar

½ cup apple cider vinegar

3 Tbsp cayenne pepper (or more, this is what provides the sneaky slow burn.  The more cayenne you use, the harder that final punch of heat will be.)

¼ cup Sri Racha sauce

½ cup chili garlic paste

¼ cup dry red pepper flakes

1 coarsely diced tomato

½ bottle of Bufalo Salsa Picante Clasica hot sauce (Not to be confused, this is the hot sauce from Mexico [note the single L].  There is the Chipotle version if you want to add some smoke to your sauce, and the red Jalapeno version for straight heat).

Salt and fine ground black pepper to taste.

Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.  Afterwards, put mixture into a saucepan and heat until the mixture reaches a simmer.  Simmer on medium or medium low for ½ hour.  When this stuff goes on the stove, be prepared with a fan nearby and have all the windows open.  Don’t stand over the pot for too long after it gets simmering.  It’s called “Face Murder” for a reason.

Warning:  2CITK makes no claims as to the physical safety of actually putting this stuff into your body.  We’ve done our best to describe the effects it has on even the most seasoned heat seeker.  You may also want to think about keeping a bucket of ice in the bathroom the day after.

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About 2cooksinthekitchen

Two cooks, one from Bushwick and a passionate meat-eater, one from Sunset Park and a former vegan, and both NYC transplants, set out to share original recipes that can be made dairy free and vegan deserts; showcase culinary resources in the outer boroughs (and sometimes Manhattan) where one can find unique, specific and fairly priced ingredients; and participate wholeheartedly in the many cultures of cooking and eating that make up New York City.
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3 Responses to Superbowl Buffalo Blowout

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I still don’t have the guts, or airflow, to deep fry wings, but I’m glad to know how anyway. Also, I’m pretty sure we should talk to the NFL about switching the old standby for giant chicken wings. It could really add something to the game.

    • 2cooksinthekitchen says:

      Thanks, Elizabeth! Yes, let’s lobby the NFL. Maybe giant chicken wings will help ease labor disputes, eh? Or it would at least make the game more fun those of us who’d prefer eating wings to watching the game (hmmm… which cook would that be?).

  2. Pingback: Superbowl, Super Snacks! | 2 Cooks in the Kitchen

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