Buffalo Chicken Wings – Chef John Recipe
In 1977 the city of Buffalo issued an official proclamation celebrating Anchor Bar co-owner Frank Bellissimo declared July 29, 1977 to be Chicken Wing Day. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Buffalo wings gained in popularity as a bar food and appetizer across the United States and Canada. Large franchises specializing in Buffalo wings have emerged, notably Buffalo Wild Wings founded in 1982 and Hooter’s in 1983. McDonald’s began selling Mighty Wings as an optional item in 1990 at their restaurant locations in the United States. In 1994, following four Super Bowl appearances by the Buffalo Bills football team, the Domino’s pizza chain added Buffalo wings to their national menu, followed by Pizza Hut the next year.
As the market for chicken wings became larger, restaurants began to create and use a variety of sauces in addition to buffalo sauce. Some of these new chicken wing sauces were influenced by Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Caribbean, and Indian cuisines. Other flavors created by restaurants include unique combinations, such as Blueberry BBQ Wing Sauce and Maple/Bacon Glaze for example, to help keep customer interest and grow their businesses. Because of the increased cost in the price of chicken wings, and a desire by some diners for a neater eating experience, restaurants began to offer a menu item called “boneless wings,” sometimes marketed under the name wyngz. Boneless wings are essentially small pieces of skinless, boneless chicken breast that are coated in flour and spices then fried or baked. They are usually coated in or served with similar sauces as chicken wings. The growth of popularity in recent years in Buffalo wing consumption and restaurants serving wings have led to actual and perceived shortages of chicken wings in the United States during certain times.
In many areas of the United States chicken wing festivals are held with Buffalo wings being used in competitive eating events, such as at Philadelphia‘s Wing Bowl and the National Buffalo Wing Festival. It has also become commonplace for restaurants to offer a wing eating contest featuring a customer eating a certain number of wings, coated in their hottest sauce during a set period of time. Many bars and restaurants intentionally create an extra-hot sauce for this purpose, and customers are usually rewarded with their picture posted on the restaurant’s wall or website, a commemorative T-shirt, a free meal or a combination of rewards for successfully completing the challenge.
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