July 8, 2007

Grilled Wings

Anchor Bar Wing Sauce: “Hotter Recipe”

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Hooray! What’s better than hot wings on a hot day? Hot wings any day are a favorite of mine, and now that we’ve finally got a working means of cooking outdoors, I can experiment with cooking even when it’s too hot to heat the oven. Our kitchen is at the center of our house, which is good in the winter but bad in the summer when the heat from a hot kitchen becomes even more oppressive. (Also, it’s bad for venting and bad for lighting… but anyhow)

It’s not tough to make a good Buffalo Wings sauce, but it’s even easier when your cousin buys you a sauce for making the famous New York wings. A number of brands make the sauce, but The Anchor Bar is apparently the original, and this Anchor Bar Hotter Recipe happens to be the one Bob gave me on Thursday after he and Don made a trip to Buffalo and had the original wings himself.

Here’s how I cooked the wings on the grill:

I purchased about 14 wings from the market (on sale!). They’re usually cheaper in a larger package, but the sale made this purchase economical. Thirteen fresh wings is the equivalent of 28 wing pieces at a wings place like Wings To Go because they split each wing — there’s a drumstick-looking piece and a forearm-looking piece (radius and ulna) and an inedible fingertip that is discarded. I did likewise - cutting the inedible tip off, and separating the edible parts. That’s better for hot wings because you don’t want to have to grip the sauce-covered wings to separate them after they’re cooked.

Separating the wings is some work. Use a sharp cleaver and cut within the joint.

Lubricate the grilling surface to prevent sticking. Heat your grill to between 425 and 455. If your thermometer is precise, 425 is sufficient. I went for just under 450.

Arrange the wings on your grill skin-side up at first. If possible keep them off direct heat so that they mostly bake rather then grill. Put your grill’s hood down.

In about 20 minutes, flip the wings skin side down. Let them cook that way for another 20 minutes with the hood down.

Now, if you can, apply some direct heat to the skin side for the last 5 minutes with the grill open to watch for flare-ups and to crisp the skin.

(More simply, if you can get your grill to be about 425 degrees for 45 minutes with indirect heat, just do that with the skin side down for the whole 45 minutes and you ought to be fine.)

Using tongs, put the wings in a medium-sized bowl and pour the hot sauce on the wings. Toss to coat. Eat!

It’s that simple. Serve with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks if you care to — mine didn’t last long enough to worry about that.


Sharon bought us Blair’s Death Rain Chips to try. In Habanero flavor and Cajun flavor. Mini review: they were both delicious and full of flavor. Both were hot, but the Habanero was measurably hotter and more flavorful. I would recommend both, but if you like hot snacks I would especially recommend the Habanero flavor. Have a favorite drink on hand to cool down.

Thanks Sharon and Cousin Bob!

Posted by James at July 8, 2007 3:55 PM
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1) Yes, that's the original home of wings, and THE authentic wing sauce (if you're not going to make your own, which has Frank's Hot Sauce as a base).

2) A friend was just telling me last night about cooking wings on the grill and tossing them with sauce (instead of the traditional deep-frying, or the less-satisfying oven-roasting). He brined the wings for 30min after separating them, other than that you're following the same steps.

I believe Anchor Bar has the sauce available for ordering on line. :)


Posted by: mjfrombuffalo at July 8, 2007 4:48 PM

Brining the wings is a great suggestion - I'll try that next time, thanks!

I've oven-roasted them and you're right, it is less satisfying and I found it to be messy as well. The main advantage of deep frying is the speed; wings have enough fat on them to basically fry themselves as long as you can apply enough heat to them.

The oven can apply even heat, but you have to broil them to finish them off. That's actually pretty good, but it is more labor intensive. And you have to really watch them for burning.

Grilling is similar, but you can see what's going on better. And you can really apply that direct heat quickly and easily on a grill.

The most important thing about any sort of wings, and I cannot stress this enough, is NEVER COOK A SOGGY WING. I suppose it is possible that some people don't mind soggy, flabby, slimy fat on their wings, but I'm not one of those people. Cook them so that the wing crisps up then apply whatever flavor you like best and then eat them right away.

The only exception to this rule that I know is with some Chinese-restaurant wings. They seem to have found some sort of middle ground between crispy fat and flabby fat on their fried wings. It's some sort of gummy sweet and savory (but not slimy) teriyaki-like flavor. I love that but I have no idea how they do it. I suspect frying, then coating with a very thick sauce, then leaving them in a heated chafing dish to congeal. I know, it doesn't sound good, but I love them.

Posted by: James at July 8, 2007 5:27 PM

I can vouch for that. I didn't use a recipe or instructions the first time I made wings. I put the sauce on them first, then put them in the oven. The result was edible, but I knew I had done something terribly wrong.

Posted by: Julie at July 8, 2007 6:12 PM

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