America's Best Buffalo Wings
When chicken wings hit the deep fryer, something magical happens. What was once a flabby, borderline useless part of the chicken that was most commonly used for stock suddenly becomes a crispy, juicy snack. Drench the wings in a combination of hot sauce and butter, and they become one of the most delicious foods known to man, and the perfect companion to a football game and a cold beer.
As legend has it, on the evening of March 4, 1964, Dominic Bellissimo was tending bar at the famed Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, with his mother Teressa in the kitchen. When a group of his hungry friends showed up, Dominic asked Teressa to whip up some food for them, so she took some chicken wings, which were intended to go into the stockpot, and instead tossed them in the deep fryer. She concocted a simple butter- and hot sauce-based sauce, mixed them together, and arguably the greatest bar food of all time was born.
Today, entire chain restaurants are built around the wing, and restaurants pride themselves on offering a wide variety of sauces, even (groan) pumpkin spice and "Rainbow Unicorn." But we’re not setting out to honor the most creative, wild, or inventive sauces; we’re out to honor the finest examples of the true Buffalo-style wing. And while you might argue that they’re all the same (just deep-fried wings tossed in sauce, right?), that couldn’t be further from the truth.
A perfect Buffalo wing is one that’s crisp and not soggy in the least, completely coated in sauce but not bogged down by it, fresh from the fryer, crispy on the outside (with no flabby skin) while remaining juicy on the inside, and the sauce needs to have the right balance of spice to butter without being overly greasy. It’s actually a lot harder than it appears to make a perfect Buffalo wing, but the bars and restaurants we’re honoring today have got it down to a science.