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Buffalo Chicken Wings from A to Z: 26 Interesting Things to Know

Buffalo Chicken Wings from A to Z: 26 Interesting Things to Know

Facts and figures about Buffalo chicken wings: a spicy and fried food so widespread in the USA that you will even hear talk of “wings economics”.

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Asia. Mention wings, and the mind immediately pictures chicken wings, particularly as conceived by American culinary tradition. They are also widely loved in the cuisines of China and India, prepared and interpreted in hundreds upon hundreds of different ways. But they all have one thing in common: they are always accompanied with a spicy sauce.

Blue cheese. An improbable - and for this very reason delicious - combination: blue cheese goes perfectly with traditional American-style fried chicken wings.

Celery. You'll be hard-pressed to find a portion of chicken wings that doesn't come with a stick of celery, used to counterbalance the greasiness and cleanse the palate. However, as the statistics show, and as Steve Buscemi tells us in his US TV campaign, the celery stick is all too often left on the plate, pristine and untouched.

Drumette. Chicken wings are always divided into two parts before cooking, and the drumette is the larger of the two. Its name derives, of course, from its big brother, the drumstick.

Economics. In the States, chicken wings are so widespread that you will even hear talk of “wings economics”: the price of chicken can actually influence consumer habits. Since 2010 it has begun to climb dizzyingly, due to people’s insatiable love of this food, so much so that in 2012 there was even talk of a “wings shortage” caused by the boom in demand.

Fried. The chicken wing is, by definition, fried in plenty of hot corn oil, although some prefer it extra crunchy, cooked in animal fats.

Gold plated. One jewelry designer loved chicken wings so much that she created a line of gold necklaces in which the usual pendant is replaced by... chicken wing bones. Limited edition, with prices around 150 dollars.

Hot sauce. The recipe for the classic sauce originally used with chicken wings has never been fully revealed, but those who have tried to reproduce it assure us that it contains butter, garlic, Cayenne pepper, tabasco, vinegar, Worcester sauce and the famous Louisiana hot sauce.

IPhone. Being loved by every generation, wings have also become the stars of smartphone apps: on the iPhone alone you can find dozens of games where you have to find, eat or cook wings. And there are also several apps that locate restaurants in various different regions of the world, to help you find the best wings wherever you go. Simply search for chicken wings on iStore.

July 29th. Buffalo is the birthplace of the most famous wings of all. On July 29th every year since 1977, the townsfolks have celebrated Chicken Wing Day, while September marks the National Buffalo Wing Festival. And there's more: February is the month of the famous Wing Bowl, a contest for serial wing eaters. The current record dates back to 2012, when Takeru Kobayashi munched his way through 337 wings.

KFC & Co. People's love of this bit of the bird has given rise to the success of major fast food chains in America and around the world.

Lyrics. Abdominal, a well-known rapper from Toronto, has a hip-hop song dedicated to chicken wings, which is a big hit in Canada. Called A Brief History of the Chicken Wing, it gives a run-down of the story of this dish.

Mild (medium, hot, suicidal). When you order wings, you are well-advised to pay attention to the heat category of the sauce: mild, medium, hot and only for the bravest of the brave... suicidal!

National Chicken Council. Chicken wings are a serious matter: in the USA, the National Chicken Council publishes its annual Wing Report, charting the consumption and trade of this commodity (and of the chickens it comes from).

Original recipe. The original recipe is said to date back to 1964, at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. Mrs Teressa Bellissimo found herself having to cook for her son and his friends, who turned up unexpectedly, so she threw together what she had: the leftovers of a chicken, accompanied with cheese and celery, and served with a hot sauce. Buffalo never looked back.

Pub. The ideal spot in which to enjoy fried chicken wings, while watching sporting events on TV and sipping on a cold beer. Statistics show that during major sporting events, pubs that include chicken wings on their menu are chosen more frequently than those that don't.

Quadcopter. How about having your wings delivered by drone? A restaurant in Milford, Connecticut, is trying out this new service idea, using a remotely controlled quadcopter to ensure rapid delivery of its chicken wings to customers.

Roasted. Not just fried: chicken wings are the barbecue kings, grilled to crunchy perfection, and also better for your health and your figure. The experts tell us that because they have such a high skin-to-meat ratio, grilling is the best cooking method, as it caramelizes the skin perfectly, bringing out its unique flavor.

super Bowl. They became the stars of the Super Bowl after the Buffalo Bills played for four consecutive years in the nineties. From then on, chicken wings have gone from strength to strength. Today, 23 percent of Americans eat them while watching the match, and the latest data, referring to 2012, reveals that during the final, 1.25 billion wings were eaten.

Tikka & tandoori. The hot, spicy Indian recipe and the special tandoori oven are two of the alternative preparations for the world's most famous chicken wings, hailing from the kitchens of India and now exported around the globe.

Unbreaded. Fried wings don't necessarily have to be coated in breadcrumbs. However, it is important that the oil is good and hot, and that there is enough of it to ensure that they float, using a deep pot.

Vegetarian. There are even various versions for vegetarians and vegans: instead of chicken, they use cauliflower, soya or seitan. The main ingredient may change, but the accompaniment doesn't: celery and blue cheese dressing all the way!

Waffles (weird). Among the most bizarre recipes to have gained favor is one for wings sandwiched between two layers of waffles, and caramelized.

Xtra hot experience. Possibly the most noxious experience ever with a chicken wing happened to a chef, Arif Ali of Jimmy's restaurant in London: having tried his own super-hot wings he ended up... in hospital.

Yakitori. In Japan, chicken wings are caramelized with yakitori sauce: a blend of sake, soya, mirin, honey, garlic and ginger.

(Jay-)Z. According to press reports, singer Jay-Z, Beyoncé's partner, sued his private chef, who was also the chef at one of his restaurants, because when he resigned, he took something very valuable away with him: his secret chicken wings recipe, which the couple loved so much.

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