As a Bills fan in the UK, I have no idea what Buffalo wings even are. They are relatively unknown here, only mentioned during Super Bowl weekend. I mean seriously. According to the National Chicken Council (and yes this is a real thing), Americans ate 1.42 Billion wings this past Super Bowl.
Do they give you super powers? Cure diseases? Provide eternal happiness?
Even more curious is the monopoly that Buffalo seemingly holds over the correct way to eat them. (Apparently eating them with anything other than blue cheese is a cardinal sin.)
There’s even a festival. The National Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival.
Buffalo really likes its wings.
I figured that the best way to help me to understand what is so special about these wings is to simply make them myself. From my very limited understanding, they’re just chicken wings slathered in hot sauce and then baked. At least, that’s how this BBC recipe described it.
They were okay. I can’t imagine anyone needing to eat so many of these wings that you go through 1.42 billion of them in one weekend. At this point, I am even more confused about the god-tier level of snack they’ve been awarded.
Trying a different approach, I decided to order some instead. Turns out that they are so very unpopular here that no restaurant even makes them, at least no authentic ones.
So that was the next step, surely, I would find an authentic Buffalo wing recipe online, right? Nope.
The internet has so many varying opinions about the “authenticity” of the wings, it’s confusing. Some say bake, others fry, and some even have a combination of both. Then, there’s the battle over when to put them in the sauce; before or after the chicken is cooked? Does this even affect the taste? How spicy should they be? Can too little or too much spice ruin the wing? Bone-in or bone out?
Then, inevitably, the dipping sauce: ranch or blue cheese? I won’t even start on that.
So many questions and yet absolutely no answers. I fear I may never understand the hype of Buffalo wings and, after this journey, I think I’m okay not knowing.