Certain foods and dishes bring out the passion in people - especially in the barbecue genre. Different regions have specialties and their own way of doing things. Whether it be about the wood, the rub or the sauce, full-blown arguments can erupt over which is best if you are talking people who are passionate about their 'que.
Another dish that creates hard-headed passion is Buffalo chicken wings.
This dish was created at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, N.Y. The story goes that the owner of the bar wanted to fix a late-night snack for her son and his friends, so she used what she had on hand. Back then chicken wings were scraps, so she decided to deep fry them and create a sauce using hot sauce, butter and vinegar. She used blue cheese dressing for dip, and voila, Buffalo wings.
Many recipes out there claim to be the original. But, if anything else is added, it is not the original sauce. Even the Anchor Bar has created many varieties and flavors.
If you want a taste of the original, give this simple recipe a try.
For this recipe, I used thighs instead of wings. Thighs were $1.19 per pound, while wings were $1.99 per pound. Also, I like the flavor of thighs, and they have more meat for less money. I used this recipe to make a family pack - or about 10 - chicken thighs.
I used indirect heat, which means only half the grill has coals under it. If you are using a gas grill, preheat with all flames, then turn off half of them.
For coals, I used a mixture of standard briquettes and lump wood charcoal.
Brush both sides of each thigh with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. For more flavor, use your favorite rub. I used a rub with a paprika and brown sugar base that included granulated garlic, salt, onion powder and black freshly cracked pepper. Go online and find a basic rub recipe. (I keep a batch on hand in our kitchen.)
Once the thighs are seasoned, place them on the side of the grill where there is no heat directly under the meat. Close the lid and allow the thighs to grill/bake for 30 minutes or so. If using charcoal, make sure all vents (top and bottom) are at least half-opened, so you don't kill the coals with a lack of oxygen.
3/4 cup hot sauce (Franks hot sauce is considered authentic)
3/4 cup real butter (I didn't say this was health food.)
6 Tbs white wine vinegar
Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the hot sauce and vinegar, then stir until blended. If you're having sinus issues, take a big whiff. You should be breathing better now.
Take some of the sauce outside (maybe one-third of it) and baste the thighs. Then place the thighs over the direct flame and baste the other side. Stay with it as you will probably have flaming.
The chicken is pretty much cooked by this point. All you are doing is adding a little char and texture.
Bring in the thighs, discard the sauce that you used outside for basting, and pour the fresh sauce that you left inside over the thighs.
Serve with celery, carrots and your favorite blue cheese or ranch dressing.
It's a flavorful, inexpensive meal. Give it a try!
Dave Lobeck is a barbecue chef from Sellersburg, Ind., who writes the "BBQ My Way" column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at www.BBQ-My-Way.com.