Winner, winner, chicken dinner….that’s exactly what everyone will be saying next time you whip these guys out. While the title of fries may be misleading, they are essentially small fried strips of chicken (that’s a fry, right?). You then douse your fries into buffalo wing sauce and let the fun begin! It’s the perfect late night snack, accompaniment to macaroni and cheese, or an appetizer for your next party.
I’m from Buffalo, and I know a good wing when I see it. We’ve been spoiled with the amount of establishments who serve awesome wings. Of course the best joint is always a hot topic for debate. When most people think of wings, they immediately turn to the Anchor Bar where it’s said they originated from. My hometown favorite lies in Duff’s. I do have to say however, that I was very impressed by this hole in the wall location called The Pub that did boast some of the best wings I’ve had in a long time. The bottom line is that Buffalo, NY is where they originated and it’s darn hard to find a bad batch of wings. Although, what makes a bad wing is pretty apparent so let’s talk about what you should be looking for.
A good wing will be super crisp. That of course means high calories and less nutrients. When I last overheard a Buffalo cook talking about cook time, it was a good twenty minutes in the frier. For me, that’s what sets the Anchor Bar, Duff’s and The Pub apart. Anchor Bar boasted the least crisp wings (please understand I’m splitting hairs as they’re all phenomenal locations), with The Pub being the most crisp. The key to a good wing is just that, a nice crispy wing. The sauce for wings is almost stupid simple, butter and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. And can you believe, that’s it?
For the chicken fries, I simply cut up chicken breasts or thighs into strips. I then coated them in a seasoned flour and fried them in a skillet. After that it was simply dousing them in sauce. Like I said, this recipe is SUPER easy.
But how about if you’re wanting the real thing, wings and not fries. Well since I don’t have a fryer, I did a lot of research on baking crisp chicken wings. For a long time I heard that cornstarch coated wings did just that when you went to bake them. A lot of people still believe that, although I came to realize that while they did come out crispy, they left a funky aftertaste. Come to find out that, America’s Test Kitchen of course did much of the heavy lifting and trials to lead us to a new alternative. They combine baking powder of all things, and salt to help draw out moisture from the chicken leaving you with crisp skins. In their recipe, they bake the chicken at a low temperature with the salt and baking powder concoction and then crank the heat up for the last half of baking.
Once you’re settled on how you’re going to make your chicken, then it’s time to make the sauce. Many establishments and cooks will try and dress up the sauce, which is fine. The basic sauce is so good however, why would you want to change it? Fat cuts heat which is why butter works so well in this sauce. If you don’t like super spicy, you add more butter. If you like the heat, then add less.
Enjoy the not so guarded secrets of the elusive Buffalo wing, and dig into some delicious chicken fries paying homage to my hometown.
To full plates and eating your tarte out,
- 1 lb. of boneless chicken breasts or thighs
- 1/2 cup of flour (sub an all purpose gluten free flour if desired)
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/3 cup of Frank's Red Hot Sauce
- 3 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
- Vegetable oil
- Using a meat friendly cutting board, cut chicken into 1/2" strips.
- Preheat a large skillet on medium high heat. In a bowl combine your flour, baking powder, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt together. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of your skillet. Place chicken strips into flour mixture and coat, shaking off excess flour. Place into skillet and cook for two minutes on each side, or until browned. Do not overcrowd the pan. Repeat the process of oil and chicken strips until all have been cooked.
- Melt your butter and place into a small bowl. Add in your hot sauce and stir until thoroughly combined. Coat one strip of chicken in the sauce and test.
- Serve warm alongside blue cheese or ranch dressing.
- Add more Frank's hot sauce for additional heat, or additional butter for less heat.