This buffalo wings recipe is super crunchy thanks to the double frying

chicken breast

total time:1 hour

stakes:4 (makes about 20 pieces)

total time:1 hour

stakes:4 (makes about 20 pieces)

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Buffalo wings are barely half a century old, but they are part of the canon of American cuisine.

The first wings were invented in the 1960s at Anchor Bar in Buffalo, by Teressa Bellissimo. The first wings were cut into sections (barrels and flats), deep fried without any baking, sautéed in hot sauce and then served with celery and blue cheese sauce. With great respect to the original, here’s a slightly modified version with some techniques borrowed from Korean and Japanese fried chicken in search of the crispest skin possible. (As someone who’s been making Southern fried chicken my whole life, I’ve picked up some pointers.) You could argue that searching for crispiness in a dish that will be covered in sauce is futile, but anyone who’s encountered a flaky-skinned wing knows that it isn’t.

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It all starts with a starchy layer. America’s Test Kitchen editors and Guy Crosby write in their Cook’s The Science Book. One easy way to do this is by sprinkling potato starch or cornstarch. In comparing the two, I’ve found that potato starch produces slightly crunchy results, but you likely already have starch. Corn in your pantry and the differences are minimal once the wings are cut in. Both are preferred over wheat flour because it contains gluten, which dampens the lightness and crispness you can get with these two purer starches.

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The second key to crispy fried chicken is to dip twice in the pan. After the initial fry, “the moisture in the medium of the food migrates to the surface after the food has cooled and the surface becomes moist again,” writes Angus Chen on NPR. That’s why it’s important to let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes between dunking in the pan. “Then that moisture boils off again in the second fry,” Chen wrote. The result is a crust that is crispy and cracked much better than chicken that has only been fried once.

Finally, wings are sautéed with the classic buffalo sauce of Cajun peppercorn and butter—or you can experiment with different styles of hot sauce, add some honey or molasses to balance the heat or season with your favorite spices or mixes to make your own.

It’s best to eat it right away to get the most enjoyment from all the crispiness you’ve worked so hard to develop. After that, the only question is your choice of utensils: carrots or celery, blue cheese or ranch dressing?

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Storage notes: Leftover wings can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

note: It is important to divide your wings into batches to prevent the temperature of the oil from dropping too much. Equally important is allowing the oil temperature to return to 350 degrees before frying the second batch.

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  • 2 pounds chicken wings (barrels and flats)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup potato starch or cornstarch
  • Neutral frying oil
  • 3/4 cup Cajun hot pepper sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Blue cheese or ranch sauce, to serve
  • Carrots and/or celery sticks, to serve (optional)

Dry the wings with paper towels. In a large bowl, add wings, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and stir until seasonings are evenly distributed. Add potato starch or cornstarch and stir until wings are evenly coated. Let them sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes to help the paint stick.

Meanwhile, add enough oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot to rise 2 inches on the sides and set over medium-high heat. Heat it until the temperature of your deep fryer or instant-read registers 350 degrees. (If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the oil by adding a pinch of potato starch or cornstarch; the oil should be at the right temperature when it squeaks fast, but not too hard,) Put a wire rack away. Lay layers of paper towels on a tray or place them near your work area.

Give the wings one or two more times to refresh the layer of starch, and working in two batches (see note), shake off any excess starch from the wings, and carefully add them to the oil. Fry the wings occasionally with the spider to promote even cooking, adjusting heat as needed until oil doesn’t drop below 325 degrees, until wings are cooked through and beginning to become crispy, about 12 minutes. (The bubbles will subside when they are ready.) Transfer spider wings to wire rack or paper towels. Repeat with the remaining wings.

Starting with the first batch, return them to the oil and fry until very crunchy, 3 to 5 minutes. Using the spider, return the wings to the wire rack or paper towels. Repeat with the remaining wings and let the last batch rest for 2 minutes before the sauce.

While the wings are frying, in a small or medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the hot sauce and butter and simmer until butter has melted, about 2 minutes. Whisk until blended.

In a large bowl, add wings and sauce, and stir until evenly coated. Transfer to a plate with the sauce, carrots, and/or celery sticks, if desired, and serve.

The components are too variable for useful analysis.

Recipe from a team writer Aaron Hutcherson.

Tested by Aaron Hutcherson and Olga Masov; Email questions to [email protected].

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