Mistakes Everyone Makes When Making Buffalo Wings

Sure, the Anchor Bar might have taken credit for inventing the Buffalo wing, but in the decades since, the city has elevated it to an art form. I was born and raised in Buffalo, and we take our wings — and pizza — very, very seriously. It's not just something we pick up once a year for the Super Bowl; it's a way of life. It's not surprising that Buffalo wings went nationwide. They're easy to make, affordable, and tasty. They're great food for parties and tailgating, and they go great with an ice cold beer.

And don't worry, they're ridiculously easy to make at home. Even us Buffalo people do it on a pretty regular basis. We've learned a thing or two about the trade secrets of this do-it-yourself regional favorite, so if you're thinking about whipping up a batch of Buffalo wings for your party, don't make these common mistakes.

Prepping the wings incorrectly

Getting it right means starting out right: when the wings come out of the package. There are a few schools of thought on how the wings should be cut, but traditionally, you're going to want to cut the wing into three pieces: the drumette, the wing, and the tip. No self-respecting Buffalonian would use the tip. That's put aside (you can use them for stock later), and that leaves you with the drum and the flat wing. Why are the tips separated? They're definitely edible, and some people swear by how amazing they are. But they're crunchy bits of cartilage, and they're completely different from what most people are expecting when they bite into a wing.

Battering or breading them

But ... but ... of course Buffalo wings should be breaded! No. No, they shouldn't.

You can bread them, and you can come up with a perfectly acceptable wing. But if wings were just perfectly acceptable, Buffalo wings wouldn't have become the juggernaut of American cuisine they are. There's a reason they're known nationwide. They're amazing because they're all chicken, and that crispy, crunchy bite is all from the skin. So save yourself a step, skip the breading and battering, and cook your wings like a Buffalonian does.

Deciding to do something other than fry them

So you aren't breading your wings, but you still need to get that crunch. You do that in one way: frying. Everyone is trying to be a little bit more healthy these days or knows someone who is. But trying to go healthy on Buffalo wings is a huge mistake. You can bake them, sure, but you're going to end up with a wing that's just ... baked chicken. For a proper Buffalo wing, it needs to have crunch. You should hear it as you bite into it.

You might want to plan a bit in advance for this one. It's fine to throw your raw wings in the fryer (or frying pan) and let them do their thing, but if you want to get the maximum crunch, you're going to double fry them. The trade secret is to fry your wings at a relatively low temperature (around 250 degrees), and then let them cool. That's going to make your wings everything you want on the inside: moist and tender. Then raise the temperature of your oil to around 400 degrees and throw in the cooked, cooled wings for a few more minutes to finish them off. That's going to make the skin crispy and crunchy, filled with little bubbles that take your wings to the next level. You'll feel bad for even considering covering all that delicious skin in batter.

Going overboard on the sauce

Head to Buffalo — or Buffalo Wild Wings — today, and you'll find so many different choices for how you'd like your wings finished off it's overwhelming. But, if you want to go totally traditional (and win the respect of any Buffalonian), going overboard with a stout-and-coconut-sesame-seed wing sauce (or anything else) is a huge mistake.

In this case, simple is better. For evidence, see how simple the very first Buffalo wing sauce in the area is. It's only two ingredients: Frank's RedHot Sauce and butter. Seriously. That's it. Their website calls for½ cup of Frank's and ⅓ cup of butter.

You might find some people suggesting you add things like vinegar or cayenne, but that's not really necessary. (You can, but I don't.) If you want hotter wings, just raise the Frank's portion of the ratio; if you want milder wings, lower it. You can experiment with all kinds of recipes, sure, but if you want the real thing, that's the secret.

Serving the sauce incorrectly

This one might seem like it's a bit of a no-brainer, but it's also key. Sauce is the last thing to go onto the wings, and you want to toss them in a bowl full of the stuff right before they're going to be eaten. You absolutely cannot do this ahead of time, or you're going to end up with a bowl of soggy wings. No matter how good the flavor is, texture is everything. Ideally, you should be shuffling the wings from the sauce to the plate to your mouth in a matter of minutes.

Another big thing many people overlook is serving a dish of sauce for dipping. Sure, it makes it much, much messier, but that's part of what makes Buffalo wings such an amazing guilty pleasure. No matter how much sauce you might toss the wings in, some of it's going to drip off. Supplying guests with some ramekins of extra sauce makes it that much more of a win. And if you're serving fries, Buffalo wing sauce on them is so much better than ketchup that you'll wonder what you've been thinking all these years.

Serving your wings with the wrong accompaniment

If you're talking real, authentic Buffalo wings, this is just as important as the wing itself. It's something that's agreed upon across the board, too, regardless of what your favorite wing joint is or which pizza place is your go-to.

Buffalo wings must be served with three things: celery sticks, carrots, and blue cheese. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is substituting ranch dressing for the blue cheese. Even though they're both creamy white goodness, they aren't the same. Dipping your hot-and-spicy wings into blue cheese finishes off the entire thing, and for a lot of people, it's just as important as getting the sauce right.

This is definitely something that's better when you make it yourself, and it doesn't take much to add this to your to-do list for party prep. Try this recipe from Epicurious that calls for things like mayonnaise and sour cream in addition to your blue cheese of choice. It's a must-have for another reason: it's just a great dip for veggies and the french fries that will still be around once the wings are gone.

Not planning ahead

If you want to get the most out of your Buffalo wings, you're going to have to plan ahead for a few reasons. One is the double fry method that's going to get you the crunchiest skin, but if you're planning a party, you probably have a ton of other things to do. If you're so inclined, you can freeze wings after the first fry, then finish them off in the extra-hot oil when your party's about to get started. This goes for figuring out when you're going to be serving wings, too. Remember, the longer they sit after cooking, the soggier they're going to get. That means putting them out ASAP. Don't wait on these delicious wings.

Not setting some aside

Finally, don't forget to set some wings aside, too. If you're serving them for a party, think of yourself! Putting a serving in the refrigerator for the next morning is one of the best post-party treats you can leave for yourself. They won't be crispy anymore, but they won't be soggy or slimy, either. Some properly fried Buffalo wings with Frank's sauce, left in the cold fridge to firm up overnight ... mmmm. Skipping your postgame snack is a huge mistake.