As hard as it is to admit, I have not always loved hot wings. It was the sauce that turned me off. I don’t know if I just never gave it the chance that it deserved, or if I just always ended up tasting inferior sauces the few times that I tried hot wings, but it was not something that I had any interest in for most of my life. That changed when I got a job as a line cook at a restaurant that sold really good buffalo wings. Since I didn’t like them it was a while before I bothered to even taste them. As a line cook at this restaurant I was allowed to eat whatever I wanted. My coworkers frequently had bowls of “boneless buffalo wings” (really just what I am making in this article, white meat nuggets with wing sauce, I never understood why they called them “boneless wings” but I digress) off to the side of their work station and when they would get a free moment would pop one into their mouth. I did the same, but with the barbecue version. I don’t know what it was exactly, the smell, the tempting orange red colour, the blissful reaction everyone else had when eating them, but something made me crave them, even before I gave them a taste. One day I was whipping myself up a little batch of boneless wings, and instead of grabbing the barbecue sauce I figured why not just try buffalo sauce this time? So I coated them with that mysterious orange goo, ate one, and instantly fell in absolute love with the flavour! Ever since then I have needed this flavour in my life. Eventually I wanted to know exactly what that secret flavour was and after a little searching I found out that, while there are many cayenne pepper sauces , the one with that special indescribable and authentic flavour is Frank’s Red Hot. Other sauces can taste good and even very similar, but Frank’s is the real deal. It is the original Buffalo wing sauce and it is the only one that I am satisfied with. I now put it on everything! I think there is a commercial to that effect, but I started before I ever saw those commercials. I love it on eggs, rice, pizza, chicken obviously, and more. It is safe to say that my years of hot wing denial have long since come to an end.
It is customary to serve wings with a dipping sauce. Why? Why double sauce your chicken? Well, I don’t know who thought of it but it is brilliant! With hot wings, the “correct” dipping sauce is blue cheese dressing. Something magical happens when blue cheese and cayenne pepper sauce combines. It is simply THE perfect compliment. Now, when it comes to barbecue wings, the perfect dipping sauce is Ranch dressing. Now, this is important. This was the rule at the restaurant and for good reason. Ranch with barbecue, and blue cheese with Buffalo! I know that tastes vary, I know some, perhaps many people find the thought of eating moldy cheese repulsive, but it is simply WRONG! to dip hot wings in Ranch dressing. I try not to be an absolutist with food, but this is one place where I have to put my foot down. I do not care if you like to dip your hot wings in ranch, blue cheese is better for the job. You are wrong. I, in fact, could never stomach the idea of blue cheese (moldy, ew), and when I started eating the buffalo wings in lieu of barbecue, I continued to dip them in ranch, and I thought that it was pretty good. But something drew me to the blue cheese eventually, another epiphany, like the buffalo sauce I guess, and I eventually worked up the courage to try it. I have never looked back. So if you are going to skip the dipping sauce, that is ok, but if you are going to use one then, with hot wings, use blue cheese!
I am posting another recipe for barbecue chicken bites. You may notice that I use some of the same pictures for them as I use in this article. That is because I made both of these at the same time and therefor some of the pictures will be used for both of these articles. I just mention this so that in case you notice I don’t leave you scratching your head. I will also soon post a recipe for real chicken wings.
You can make as few or as many of these as you want, but for the purposes of this tutorial, I am using the meat of one average sized chicken breast. This is just the right amount for one person.
1 Chicken Breast
Cut up into small pieces, about the size of chicken nuggets.
Ok, now, I feel I have a duty to mention here that if you want to make truly authentic buffalo sauce, you have to add melted butter to this sauce. A good ratio is about one part unsalted butter to four parts Frank’s Red Hot. Of course you can also just buy Frank’s buffalo sauce already prepared. Some people even take it a step further and add additional spices and seasonings to the sauce. Common additions include cayenne pepper, chili pepper, pretty much any kind of pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and so on. You can dress it up however you like according to your taste. For me, though, all I need is just the Frank’s original. It is perfect. Nice and zippy but not ridiculously spicy, and it sticks to the chicken just fine! I often hear people claim that they add butter so that it sticks better. That is just silliness. It sticks. One legitimate reason for adding a bit of unsalted butter, I can understand, is that the original sauce, as is, is a bit salty. So adding unsalted butter would help dilute the saltiness. Since I dip them in blue cheese, though, it is enough to dilute the little extra bit of saltiness. If I was making them specifically to be eaten without blue cheese for dipping, which I never do, I would probably add a little butter, but if you are going to dip, why double up the fat content of the snack needlessly?
Anyway, these are all just my thoughts and my choices. Feel free do whatever your taste buds dictate. Except please, use Frank’s! Not Louisiana Hot Sauce, and for the love of all that is palatable, not Tabasco!!
This is a rough amount. You may need a bit more or less for one breast.
You can also choose to use breadcrumbs instead of flour. I do sometimes. But simple flour is typically what I use. Oh, and I also use whole wheat flour pretty often. I think I might even prefer whole wheat flour.
Again you may need a bit more, but typically one egg should be enough for one breast.
I like to get nice chunky blue cheese. This is of course an optional ingredient. By now you know how I feel about the subject so I will not elaborate further!
There is enough flavour in the sauce that you could probably skip this ingredient, but I just like to add it for good measure.
Also you will need some kind of fat for pan frying. I like to use rendered animal fat, peanut oil, or ghee.
Cut the breast up into nugget sized pieces. Crack a bit of black pepper over them.
Coat your frying pan with enough oil to at least mostly cover the bottom and heat to a medium high temperature. Once the oil is to temperature place the chicken bits into the hot oil. They should start sizzling right away.
Now you basically have chicken nuggets. If you simply salt them at this point you can just eat them as they are, but we are making buffalo chicken nuggets, so all that is left is to coat them with Frank’s! You can do this any way you like, really it isn’t rocket science, but I like to do it the way I learned when working at a restaurant. That is to put them into a bowl.
BUFFALO CHICKEN BITES
1 Chicken Breast
Frank’s Red Hot
1/4 cup Flour
Blue Cheese Dressing
Fat or oil for pan frying
1. Cut the breast up into nugget sized pieces.
2. Crack a bit of black pepper over them.
3. Beat the egg in a bowl.
4. Coat the chicken bits with flour.
5. Dip the floured chicken bits in the egg and wet all sides.
6. Coat them again, very well with flour.
7. Coat your frying pan with enough oil to at least mostly cover the bottom and heat to a medium high temperature. Once the oil is to temperature place the chicken bits into the hot oil. They should start sizzling right away. Flip them occasionally while cooking and allow each side to become light golden brown. Once you have achieved this they will be fully cooked.
8. Coat them with Frank’s Red Hot.
9. Serve with blue cheese on the side for dipping.