My friend Art Bovino is obsessed with Buffalo wings. (I can hear you saying “SAME,” by the way.) He’s so obsessed that he spent a lot of time in Buffalo over the last couple years learning everything he could about them so he could write a book, and ended up having so much to say, he wrote two. The first, Buffalo Everything, came out last August and it’s a guide to eating in the city, takes us to bars, old-school Polish and Italian-American eateries, Burmese restaurants and newer farm-to-table cafes. The second, The Buffalo New York Cookbook, came out a few months later and teaches us how to make all of the food he fell in love with at home, from beef on weck, chicken finger subs, sponge candy, Tom & Jerrys, frozen custard, and, of course, all of the Buffalo wings you could ever dream of. He talks to the restaurants that lay a claim to creating them and others that just made them more famous or delicious. He talks to the masters. He learns the rules. He learns technique. He learns niche trivia (did you know that the “flats” of wings actually have more meat than the “drumettes?” I didn’t either!) And while not everyone agrees on everything, they all agree on this: baked Buffalo wings are a pale and unacceptable imitation of the real thing.
Meh, I say. You just haven’t made great ones. These are.
Look, I’m not saying they’re as quick. Roasting always takes longer than frying, and these take the prep a step further, too. In a technique beloved by both my friend Art Bovino and The Food Lab’s J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, the day before you want to make your wings, you toss them in a mixture of salt (forming a dry brine that locks in moisture) and baking powder (which creates more deeply browned wings and a craggy surface that makes the sauce cling beautifully, reminiscent of deep-fried wings) and spread them out in the fridge overnight (to dry the surface, so they crisp up faster when they roast) and then, before you’re ready to eat them, blast them in the oven at high heat for about 50 minutes.
What emerges is truly glorious: browned, crispy, craggy-surfaced, well-seasoned wings that spice-averse children will eat like the best chicken nuggets, ever, and that adults will toss in that butter-hot sauce mixture that makes them magical. Blue cheese dressing, thick enough for dipping, is not optional in my household, and neither are a heap of chopped vegetables (for balance, but also extinguishing tastebuds when you overdo it on the Frank’s RedHot). Despite the overnight wait, these are so easy to make, so delicious and so much less over-the-top than the originals, we’ve made it a regular thing and exactly nobody is unhappy about this.
One year ago: Banana-Oat Weeknday Pancakes
Two years ago: An Easier Way To Make Cookies
Three years ago: Leek, Ham, Cheese and Egg Bake and Spaghetti Pie with Pecorino and Black Pepper
Four years ago: Fried Egg Salad and Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits
Five years ago: Homemade Dulce de Leche and Cheese Blintz
Six years ago: Intensely Chocolate Sables and Pasta with White Beans and Garlic-Rosemary Oil
Seven years ago: Potato Chip Cookies
Eight years ago: Chocolate Peanut Spread (Peanutella)
Nine years ago: Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions and Ricotta Muffins
Ten years ago: Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake and Chicken Milanese + An Escarole Salad
Eleven years ago: Leek and Swiss Chard Tart and Key Lime Cheesecake
Twelve years ago: Icebox Cake
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Minimalist Barbecue Sauce
1.5 Years Ago: German Chocolate Cake + A Wedding Cake
2.5 Years Ago: Blackberry Cheesecake Galette and Eggplant with Yogurt and Tomato Relish
3.5 Years Ago: Tomato and Fried Provolone Sandwich
4.5 Years Ago: Grilled Peach Splits and Summer Squash Gratin with Salsa Verde