Dammit. Dammit, dammit, dammit.
A local pizza joint (who will remain nameless, since I love their pie) committed the Sin of All Sins whilst yours truly, your humble garbage-food aficionado and NUVO managing editor-type, attempted to order what said joint called “Buffalo Wings.”
Dude asked me if I wanted “hot,” “barbecue” or — wait for it — “teriyaki.”
Sorry, Broseph: I lived in Upstate NY for over a decade. The missus is FROM Buffalo. There are “wings,” and there are “BUFFALO WINGS.”
Lemme ‘splain the difference.
The Anchor Bar, which invented Buffalo wings after midnight on a Friday in 1964 as chow to lift the Alcoholic Haze, takes big-ass, meaty wings and fries ‘em in Mazola oil. When those wings are cooked, they are tossed in a bowl of sauce. That sauce is made from some kind of butter/margarine thing and a shitload of cayenne-pepper liquid (like Frank’s Red Hot) of varying degrees. Sometimes it’s juiced with extra cayenne, sometimes it’s diluted.
One thing it ain’t is faux-Asian.
Those crispy-skinned drumettes and flappers are then dished onto a pizza-pan in groups of 10, 20 or 50 and served with blue cheese dressing and celery. Not Ranch. Not carrots. Blue cheese. Celery.
All other variations are NOT Buffalo wings.
Teriyaki wings are just fake Japanese wings. Jerk chicken wings are just fake jerk chicken. Breaded wings are fried chicken. Boneless wings are chicken nuggets. Anything called “wingz” or “wyngs” or, God help us, “wyngz,” are not only NOT Buffalo wings, I’m pretty sure they’re not even food.
Buffalo wings are coated with red-hot sauce. Served with celery. And blue cheese. And a pitcher — YES, A PITCHER, YOU WIMP — of low-end, macro, delicious, ice-cold Canadian lager like Labatt Blue. If your lips don’t swell up and your gut doesn’t rage, you haven’t been to Buffalo.
Admittedly, the Anchor Bar has caved a bit to the tourist trade. There’s some kind of “spicy BBQ” monstrosity that may coat the wings, but that’s the only variation from the original goods.
Still it’s the cayenne-pepper juice that makes Buffalo wings truly Buffalonian. A popular barroom snack in Da Home of Da Bills and Da Sabres? Bowls of popcorn and Frank’s Red Hot. Drizzle the stuff on the buttered popcorn. Eat. Wash back with Labatt. Repeat.
To recap: Buffalo wings have bones in them. Buffalo wings have crispy, deep-fried skin coated with a devilish orange/red sauce of a color not otherwise found in nature. Buffalo wings are served with celery, blue cheese dressing and beer.
Buffalo wings are not served with carrots. Buffalo wings are not served with Ranch dressing. Buffalo wings are not teriyaki. They are not jerk. They are not Cajun or Thai curry or garlic parm or saucy Italian or goddamn Fluffernutter.
Are we clear? Excellent.
Now let’s talk about what’s in a fucking martini.