Growing up, the only experience I had with chicken wings were the ones covered with feathers that belonged to the small population of egg-laying hens on our Montana farm.
Once in a while, we raised chickens for eating. Fed on grain and fresh bugs from our two-acre farm, they were meaty. The wings on those chickens were like thighs on most conventional chickens. However, we never cooked the wings by themselves and certainly never dipped them in any type of hot sauce (unless you count the time I ruined an entire pot of chicken soup by using several red chili peppers).
Another reason for my inexperience with chicken wings was the fact that my dad almost never watched football. Football season, probably the time of year of the highest chicken wing consumption, wasn’t really a season in our family. I only remember watching one Super Bowl. Just as I was really getting interested in tackles and touchdowns, we had to leave for a church get-together. After coming to the South, I soon realized that I had missed out on an integral part of life: football and buffalo wings.
The football I could live without (I still don’t totally get it, much to my husband’s dismay), but the wings have definitely become a part of my existence.
After doing a little Google browsing, I learned a few things about buffalo wings. First, I wanted to know the answer to the burning question: why are they called “buffalo” wings?
Because they were originally invented in Buffalo, New York. Late October of 1964, a woman named Teressa Bellissimo was working late one night at her restaurant, the Anchor Bar. Her son and his hungry friends showed up. All she had were chicken wings, so she fried them up, dipped them in butter and chili sauce, and served them with celery and blue cheese dressing.
The wings were so popular that now Buffalo has an official “Chicken Wing Day” on July 29. Today, the Anchor Bar serves more than 70 thousand pounds of chicken wings a month and almost every restaurant in the United States has some version of chicken wings on the menu. Not to mention the vast amounts that are made and consumed in homes throughout the country.
Despite all the options that are out there, when my husband and I pick up some wings to eat on a Saturday night, we have much to criticize. “Not saucy enough.” “Too dry.” “Need to be hotter.” One night, not wanting another disappointing wing run, we decided to make our own.
Me being the health nut in the relationship, I bought some “all-organic,” “grain-fed” chicken wings at the farmer’s market. I also opted for not frying the wings, which is probably sacrilegious, but hey, I’m thinking about those arteries. We baked the wings with salt and pepper until they were cooked throughout. Then, we ladled our homemade sauce over them about four times, returning them to the oven each time to brown.
Since all that hard work required a lot of brain capacity on a Saturday night, I decided to search for a crockpot wings recipe. There are lots of them on CDKitchen; here’s my best collaboration.
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