Why Alton Brown Finally Stans Buffalo's Chicken Wings

Alton Brown is no novice when it comes to dividing people and drama. He even had fans divided from a tweet about Will Smith's Oscars drama. However, remarks made in 2018 are what have caused the most notice for some.

On April 26, 2018, Alton Brown appeared on an episode of "Hot Ones," an interview program in which celebrities eat hot wings with increasingly intense hot sauces. Brown, however, had an even hotter take. When asked whether his recent tour had revealed anything about food to him, he commented that the idea of regionality is outdated. "In fact," he continued, "in some places, regionality gets in the way. Because once a region believes it's got the lock on something, the quality almost immediately starts to go downhill. Like [fake coughs] Buffalo chicken wings." He paused and then, when prompted about where one should go if they desired good Buffalo chicken wings, he grinned and said, "You don't go to frickin' Buffalo." 

Considering that his persona is an abrasive one and the show is about eating wings, the take is retroactively inevitable. Still, as one might imagine, it ruffled some Buffalo-based feathers. "Disappointing to hear such frickin' harsh words from you," Drew Cerza, the proclaimed Wing King of Buffalo, tweeted. "NEVER trash our fine City and our WINGS! Join me in Buffalo for a personal tour of our Buffalo Wing Trail."

Brown moved on from the hot topic but has since reexamined his remarks.

Four years later, Alton Brown rescinded his remark

In April 2022, Alton Brown apologized for his ignorant remarks about Buffalo's ability to turn scrap chicken into a beloved bar food. "I was wrong," he admitted on Twitter, "the best wings are in Buffalo and thanks to [Andrew Z. Galarneau, the food editor of Buffalo News] and [Nate Geary, the pregame and halftime host for the Buffalo Bills] I think I even know where to get them."

NYUP.com, the news site for Upstate New York, explained that he was performing at Shea's Performing Arts Center and so gave the people of Buffalo a second chance at nominating a Buffalo wing representative. So, Brown visited Grant Ferry's La Nova, Elmo's Bar and Restaurant near the University at Buffalo's campus, and Bar-Bill Tavern in East Aurora. Some might feel that Brown's apology and new love for these wings are four years too late; others may simply be happy to see him reconciling his controversy. But now that he has accepted Buffalo as the wing's capital and origin, he'll need a new hot take for folks to remember him by.