In 1964, at the Anchor Bar in downtown Buffalo, NY, the now famous chicken wing was born. After the kitchen of this family-owned business was closed, friends of Dominic Bellisimo—who was tending bar—arrived famished, looking for something to eat. Dominic asked his mother, Teressa, if she could prepare them a snack. Although she had set chicken wings aside to make soup, Teressa decided to throw them into the hot fryer to crisp them up. Then she tossed them in hot sauce and served the spicy wings with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks on the side. Dominic and his friends devoured them, setting the stage for a food craze that would cross the nation—and still be holding strong over 50 years later.
Although there are many "Buffalo" chicken wing recipes out there, this one is the original. The wings are deep-fried—not coated in breadcrumbs or any type of batter, just simply dropped into the fryer until nice and crispy. And then they're literally tossed in a large bowl with a hot sauce, Frank and Teressa Bellisimo's secret recipe that they have bottled and sell worldwide (the Medium is the original recipe). And if you really want to sound like you're a chicken wing expert, simply call these "wings"—Buffalonians would never be heard referring to this delicacy as "Buffalo wings."
Gather the ingredients.
Dry wing pieces well with paper towel.
Heat a large pot filled with 2 to 3 inches of the cooking oil to 350 F. Set the oven to warm.
Place a few wings at a time in the hot oil to fry. Do not crowd the pot.
Fry for 10 to 12 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining wings.
After all of the wings are cooked, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Pour the hot sauce over the hot wings and toss with a spoon or spatula to completely coat.
Serve immediately with celery and blue cheese dressing on the side.
Making the Perfect Wing
In order to get the perfect chicken wing, you need to follow a few steps.
- It is very important that you thoroughly dry the chicken skin before frying. Any moisture on the skin will deter the wings from becoming crispy in the fryer. After wiping with paper towel, you can leave them on a cooling rack on the counter for 20 minutes or so to make sure they're completely dry.
- Keep an eye on the oil temperature to make sure it is maintaining 350 F. Using a deep-fry or candy thermometer is ideal.
- Do not crowd the pot as too many wings at once will drop the oil temperature.
- Keep the batches warm in the oven while you finish frying—you want to be sure to toss them while hot in the sauce.
- In the market, you may find chicken wings already separated into the drummette and flat pieces, or they may still be whole, along with the wing tip attached. If you have purchased the latter, you will need to snip off the wing tips and then separate the flat from the drummette at the joint. A good pair of kitchen shears should do the job.
- If you aren't able to get a bottle of the Anchor Bar signature sauce, you can make one that is similar. Combine a 1/4 cup of hot sauce like Frank's RedHot original with 1 tablespoon of melted unsalted butter. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and season with salt and pepper. Taste to see if it has enough—or too much—heat and adjust. Add more melted butter if too hot, and more hot sauce or cayenne if too mild.
- If you prefer not to deep-fry, you can bake the wings. Just keep in mind that they will no longer be the original Anchor Bar recipe. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss wings with a bit of vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and cook for 45 to 50 minutes until cooked through and crispy. Toss with sauce and serve.