Saveur Article: Wings of Desire

A great coincidence: just as I am starting this new blog, Saveur magazine publishes a short article on buffalo wings, including the "original" recipe from the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York.

Something that I must admit I didn’t know: the original recipe calls for margarine, NOT butter!

The article doesn’t appear to be online yet, but as soon as it is, I will provide a link to it.

Boston Beer Works

This was the third time that I had the "Honey Hot wings" at Boston Beer Works.  They are not wings – though you can get them as such – but delicious little of chunks of white chicken meat lightly battered, fried and then tossed with their very original glaze.

The chicken pieces themselves represent what I think may be the perfect boneless wings. All-white meat, in whole pieces, not a ground processed meat, in a light batter that I would say involves cornstarch and/or egg whites. It is not unlike tempura.

The sauce is an Asian-influenced concoction with tons of flavor but relatively light on the heat.  If you’re looking for a serious burning taste, this isn’t your top choice, but there is just enough spice to keep it interesting.  What it lacks in heat it makes up for in flavor: the sauce has flavors of soy, honey, and a slight hint of Chinese five spice.  It is served with plenty of celery and a great chunky blue cheese dressing. 

RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

On a related "spicy chicken" note – for my entree at Boston Beer Works I went for their "Up State New Yorker Chicken Sandwich," a thinly veiled reference to Buffalo. Unlike most buffalo chicken sandwiches, Beer Works’ sandwich starts off with a whole chicken breast pounded thin and grilled. Considering the thinness of the chicken, I applaud the chefs for not over-cooking the meat.
The chicken is then served with their traditional buffalo wing sauce and crumbled blue cheese. The buffalo sauce really isn’t that traditional: there is definitely some chipotle or other smoked pepper sauce in there since it had a distinct smokey flavor.  Nice amount of heat and flavor – I’ll have to try the wings in that sometime if I can pull myself away from the Honey Hot variety!

My only complaint about the sauce is that there simply wasn’t enough of it for my taste. The pungency of the blue cheese – which was obviously of a good quality – overwhelmed both the flavor and the spiciness of the sauce.  This was quickly remedied however, by a request for more sauce and all was well.

RATING: 3 out of 5 stars (with the potential for being 4 or even 5 if they had served it with more sauce)

Piccadilly Pub Asian Wings

Piccadilly Pub has a new appetizer on its menu, an Asian-style wing with sesame and soy flavors. The wings themselves are cooked very well – no worries of under-done wings here!  In fact, they are in danger of OVER cooking them, if they were fried for any longer. However, the wings were still juicy and tender, with a super crispy skin – quite possibly the crispiest I have ever had. 

The sauce is a flavorful, if not  original, combination of soy, sesame, garlic, and what I think was a hint of sherry. The flavors are carried in a sweet sticky glaze that sticks nicely to the wings.

RATING: 4 out of 5 stars

Joff’s Barckyard Grill

Inspired by the newly functioning, I decided to have wings for lunch today, from Joff’s Backyard Grill, just down the street from the office.

I have eaten there a few times and they make great burgers, chili and wings.  I haven’t had the wings since right after they opened though and glad to report that not only are they as good as they originally were, but they are actually even BETTER.

Instead of a deep-fried wing, I went with their Fire Roasted Chicken wings which has Joff’s own dry rub on the chicken and then grilled. They are full of flavor, and the wings would be good enough just on their own, without any additional sauce. Kudos to Joff’s for not only having a good dry rub for their wings, but also cooking them to perfection.  Plenty of grilled flavor and not undercooked; wings are notoriously difficult to cook on the grill without having them come out either underdone or burnt.  These were tender and juicy, with skin that was nicely charred and brown from the grilling, which meant they weren’t fatty or rubbery. Photo_03

I chose their "hot" sauce – they offer mild, medium, hot and suicide.  The hot was just right for me – they had a nice bite to them that stung your lips and tongue in just the way they should, without making you wince in pain.  What is especially nice is that the sauce is flavorful – not just hot – and picks up a lot of the grilled flavor from the wings.

All together, it makes for some of the better wings I’ve had.  Not a classic buffalo wing, but very very good anyway.  They come highly recommended and would love to know what the "honey garlic" flavor is like.  Their blue cheese dressing, which costs extra with the order, is also very good – nice and chunky with plenty of other flavors to cool the palate.

RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars


This is the first official post of this blog – the other stupid "why isn’t this working" posts will be gone by the time anyone reads this.

So what is "Hot n’ Saucy Wings" all about?  It about a man’s consuming passion and obsession with chicken wings.  Especially "Buffalo Wings," but that term is too limiting.  There are plenty of good spicy wings that aren’t the traditional buffalo wing, and I love a teriyaki or asian-style wing.  Or grilled with spices.  Hey, just bring them on.  I’ll even count buffalo chicken tenders and similar, if they are good enough.

I’ll be posting reviews of wings in restaurants, made-at home wings, and ready-made wings.  Occasionally I post reviews and links to hot wing related web sites.  Most importantly, I hope to get people comment and share their "wing moments."  LOL

Welcome to the society of wing lovers, brothers and sisters.  All hail the mighty capsaicin!

About This Blog

This is a blog dedicated to the fine art of the "hot wing" – chicken wings that a deliciously spicy.  They can be a traditional buffalo wing – deep-fried and then tossed with Frank’s Red Hot & Butter – or they can be grilled with a dry rub.  Or done in an Asian-influenced manner with soy sauce and garlic.  Basically, if its a wing, you’ll find it here.

I’m a certified Barbecue Judge, certified by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, and have eaten wings at hundreds of restaurants.  That’s about as close to an expert on wings as you’re gonna get I think. You can find out more about me at my other blog, Pop Culture Gangster, and at my web site.

Here you will find blog entries about those experiences, as well a recipes, tips for making good wings at home, and links to other chicken-wing related web sites.

I encourage you to comment and discuss the posts and join in the wing-loving fun!!