In Search of the True Buffalo Wing Recipe

Over our twenty-one years as Wisconsin residents, we have yet to find a Buffalo Wing recipe that is like the wings we grew up eating!  Having lived in Buffalo, New York we had the pleasure of eating some of the city’s great “delicacies” such as the original Buffalo Chicken Wing. (There are others.)

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Visiting Duff’s in Buffalo November 2018. © Carol Labuzzetta, 201


As you might already know, legend has it that the Buffalo Chicken Wing recipe came out of the Anchor Bar, an establishment in downtown Buffalo. Yes, I’ve had wings from there. But, the wings we liked best were from Duff’s, specifically, the Duffs on Sheridan Drive in a suburb north of Buffalo. While this restaurant was not esthetically pleasing in any way, it did serve the best chicken wings we’ve ever had – in Buffalo or any other city for that matter.

The subject of Buffalo Chicken Wings came up again in our home this week, as all three of our boys are home. It’s been years since we’ve made wings at home – primarily since we gave up on finding just the “right” recipe. And, equally telling, it’s been years since we ate wings out. We stopped going to wing places or ordering wings because they were always a disappointment – even at those restaurants named for the Buffalo wing, itself!

Our problem? Well, let’s face it – this is our problem because many,  many people in Wisconsin and other places across America eat and enjoy both the chicken wings they make and those they are served.  Our problem is simply this – they are too chewy.  Basically, the wings are undercooked. The skin is not fried until it’s crunchy and furthermore, the sauce is slathered on too thick, making what is fried even slimier and chewier. A big yuck in our house!

For a while, we tried telling our servers that we wanted our wings extra crunchy. And, while that worked a few times to approximate the Buffalo Wings we knew and loved, it was always a gamble. Most often, it left us on the unsatisfied side of our meal. So, we stopped trying to get wings out a few years after we stopped trying to make wings at home.

But, during our most recent conversation, I decided to be specific about my wing recipe search and entered into the google engine, Buffalo Wing Recipe from Duffs. Imagine my surprise when I found an article, published in the Washington Post Newspaper no less from 1999! The author, a Buffalonian who was transported to Ohio for college and then Washington D.C. for work, had experiences that had produced sentiments similar to ours!  Duff’s wings were the best and no matter where she went, they could not be reproduced!  Finally, after years of tasting, searching, and also being disappointed, it seems, she got the recipe for Buffalo Chicken Wings from the owner of Duff’s, himself!


So, on Saturday, we set about gathering the few ingredients needed to try the original Duff’s Chicken Wing recipe. It called for vegetable oil for frying, cayenne pepper sauce (reportedly Duff’s uses Frank’s Red Hot Sauce), chicken wings, and butter. That’s it! Of course, you have to have celery and blue cheese dressing, as well. We always have a bottle of Frank’s on hand and knew this was part of the Duff’s secret.  But, we did make a trip out for the wings and the oil.

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Luckily, we were able to buy the chicken wings at the grocery store. There is a meat shortage here, just as there are other places, so the whole meal hinged on our getting the wings.

Anyway, my husband deep fried the wings outside in our turkey fryer. We fried them until – well, to put it bluntly – they were crispy, but not overcooked.  Next, I was in charge of soaking them in the Frank’s red pepper and butter sauce and then draining them after several minutes.


The results? Let’s just say there was nothing left! I think we found our recipe. And, the funny thing is that it’s been out there on the web the entire time we’ve lived away from Buffalo! Go Figure!

Buffalo Wings on a Saturday Night. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2020


For more on the subject of Buffalo Wing Snobbery, you can read the article referenced in my blog: It’s a Wing Thing.


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