Chicken Wings Two Ways

Having lived in the Buffalo, NY area for the last decade has instilled one thing in me that I cannot deny: a love for good chicken wings. I have had wings while on vacation in other parts of the country and was disappointed more often than not. Now I don’t mean to offend any of you who live elsewhere but come-on, Buffalo wings in Buffalo, NY? I think we are allowed to have some bragging rights! Buffalo has some positives in the regard that there is a lot of good food to be had here but the harsh winters have definitely made me contemplate relocating. But then how would I get the wings I desire from time to time? Well I guess i’d just have to make them myself!

Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with what a “medium” buffalo wing is, I will briefly explain. It is a chicken wing section that is generally deep-fried, un-breaded and coated in a sauce of vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter. They are traditionally served with a side of chunky blue cheese and thin sticks of celery. “Medium” refers to the heat level and many restaurants and take-out joints offer spicier versions for the brave. I like medium because it has enough kick to make my tongue tingle but not so much that I can’t appreciate the flavor of the chicken. There are a variety of other sauce options out there as well such as BBQ, honey mustard and spicy Asian chili sauces. My boyfriend is partial to the “Asian zing” offered at Buffalo Wild Wings (which is a national chain so you can get them all over the US). So when I make wings at home I like to make some “medium” for me and some with an Asian-influenced sauce for Troy.

buffalo and asian zing wings

buffalo and asian zing wings

I have tinkered with buffalo wing recipes and tried a lot of different sauces in the past but I think I have finally figured out how to get results that rival my favorite take-out locations. There are a variety of good buffalo wing sauces and Asian sauces (usually called sweet chili) available at supermarkets in the area, so more often than not I save myself the trouble of making a sauce and purchase a bottle of “Wegman’s Hot and Tangy Buffalo Wing Sauce” or “Anchor Bar: Medium”. But I need to be prepared for the future when I might have to resort to making my own, and so I can help you who live off in the distance enjoy the goodness of authentic buffalo wings. Also sometimes I just want to make it all from scratch! And if I have the ingredients, why not save a few bucks? I will follow with two sauce recipes and afterwards talk about how to cook the wings to perfection.

medium buffalo wing sauce

medium buffalo wing sauce


Medium Buffalo Wing Sauce


  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco or Cholula (add more if you want it spicier! try 2 or 3 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cider vinegar


  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat
  • Whisk in the hot sauce, Tabasco or cholula, brown sugar, and vinegar
  • Cook and whisk until ingredients are fully incorporated and remove from heat until ready to use
asian zing sauce

asian zing sauce


“Asian Zing” Sauce


  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup chili-garlic sauce
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. minced garlic (about 1 small clove)


  • Dissolve the cornstarch in the rice vinegar in a small bowl and set aside
  • In a small saucepan combine remaining ingredients
  • Add corn starch slurry and stir well
  • Heat mixture on medium low heat
  • Stir often until the sauce reaches a boil and thickens (about 5-10 minutes)
  • Remove from heat
  • Allow to cool, cover and chill until ready to use

We also need to talk about how to go about cooking the wings. They are fried, so you can choose to use a counter-top deep fryer or a heavy dutch oven and a fry thermometer. Years ago I owned a counter-top deep fryer but it was a hassle to keep clean and for the amount that I used it (which was not very often) it wasn’t worth the trouble or the counter-space. I find that using an enamel coated cast-iron dutch oven filled with canola, vegetable or peanut oil does a wonderful job of frying up anything I would have otherwise done in the electrical unit.

For chicken wings iI like to follow some advice that I learned in The America’s Test Kitchen: Family Cookbook (which I can’t recommend highly enough! I love it!). This advice is to, instead of frying the wings plain, give them a very light coating of seasoned cornstarch to help really crisp up the skin. I don’t fry them any other way now! They always turn out flavorful, crispy and perfectly cooked with this method.

crispy chicken wings

crispy chicken wings


Crispy Chicken Wings


  • 1 to 2 quarts canola, peanut of vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds whole chicken wings (18) or “drumettes” which are already cut up wings
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt


  • Heat the oil in dutch oven (or deep-fryer) with a fry or candy thermometer attached to the side, to 360 degrees F
  • Mix the cornstarch, cayenne, pepper and salt together in a large bowl
  • Cut the wings apart into segments
  • Discard or save the wing tips (the tiny third section: these are good for making stock with!)
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels
  • Toss evenly with the cornstarch mixture
  • Add half the wings to the hot oil and fry until golden, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spider or slotted spoon
frying chicken wings

frying chicken wings

  • Remove and transfer to a baking sheet or plate lined with paper towels and keep warm under foil or in a 200 degree F oven until done with the rest
  • Toss wings in desired sauce and serve while still hot with celery sticks and blue cheese
mmm wings

mmm wings


2 responses to “Chicken Wings Two Ways

  1. Bet I can eat the entire batch in one sitting, but I like them hot, hot, hot. Guess I’ll have to add more heat to the sauce. But thanks for the recipe on how to fry the wings. Always had trouble with that part.

  2. i always had trouble getting them crispy before as well. using the cornstarch works really well!!!
    easy to make the sauce hotter- add more tabasco or cholula to the sauce. i added 2 tbsp when i made it and i thought it was more on the hot side than “medium” so i edited it to 1 tbsp above. you would want to go with 2 or maybe 3 for it to be “hot”. you could even add in some extra cayenne if you wanted to. don’t forget there is also cayenne in the dredge for the wings so you can also play with the heat level there 🙂

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