What are Buffalo Wings?

Patti Kate

Buffalo wings are a dish prepared from chicken wings that have been covered in a hot sauce. The sauce in which the chicken wings are dipped is known as buffalo sauce. Quite often buffalo wings are served as an appetizer. In many cases, buffalo wings can also be an entree or main course. Sometimes known as hot wings, buffalo wings are a popular choice in American sports bars and restaurants.

Buffalo wings are commonly served as an appetizer.
Buffalo wings are commonly served as an appetizer.

A buffalo hot wing is sometimes known as a drumette. The preparation for hot wings will usually involve deep frying. Bread crumbs may coat the wings, which may be plain or seasoned before the hot sauce is added. When served in eateries, a side of blue cheese dressing may be included.

Some buffalo wings are seasoned with a dry rub instead of a traditional sauce.
Some buffalo wings are seasoned with a dry rub instead of a traditional sauce.

The key ingredient for the hot sauce used in hot wings is cayenne pepper. Butter is generally infused into the sauce, accounting for its creamy consistency. In most recipes, buffalo-style wings will come in three varieties. Mild has a subtle spicy tinge, medium-hot is full-flavored with a moderate degree of spice, while the hottest of the three is typically extreme in flavor.

Although fried buffalo wings are the most common way of preparing the recipe, the wings are sometimes baked, grilled, or barbecued. Marinating the wings in the buffalo sauce brings out the flavor, although some prefer dipping. For dipping, a small side of buffalo sauce may be served. Some restaurants come up with their own ways of preparing buffalo wings.

Although less common, some people prefer boneless buffalo-style wings. In this preparation, the chicken wings are boned and instead of being fried, typically they will be baked. All of the other ingredients may remain the same. In some restaurants or delicatessens, Kosher-style hot wings are also served, either boneless or fully boned.

One such variation of buffalo hot wings is a southwestern recipe. In this recipe, the drumettes may be blended in picante or salsa before the hot sauce is added. Hot peppers or jalapenos may also be used for this southwest mixture. Cajun-style hot wings may be cooked in a mixture of Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce, as well as Caribbean jerk seasonings. Other variations of buffalo-style wings may be used with lemon-pepper or garlic seasonings.

There has been misconception of where the name of buffalo wings originated. Buffalo wings are named after the city of Buffalo, New York, where the dish originated. The wings were first introduced in the mid 1960s.

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