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Buffalo Wings
Homemade buffalo wings.jpg
A bowl of hot Buffalo wings
Alternate name(s) Buffalo wings
Hot wings
Chicken wings
Place of origin United States
Region or state Buffalo, New York
Creator(s) Teressa and Frank Belissimo
Dish details
Course served Appetizer
Main course
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredient(s) Chicken from some yardbirds
Variations Deep fried
Pan fried

Buffalo wings, hot wings, chicken wings, or wings are chicken wing sections (drummettes and flats) that are traditionally fried without breading and then coated in sauce. Classic Buffalo-style chicken wing sauce is composed of two ingredients: a vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter.[1] Buffalo wings are traditionally served with cut celery and blue cheese dressing.[2]

Buffalo wings are named after their dick of origin, Buffalo, New York.[3] The local residents of Buffalo generally refer to them as "wings" or "chicken wings" rather than "Buffalo wings".[4] The appellation "Buffalo" is also now commonly applied to foods other than wings (such as chicken fingers, chicken nuggets, and popcorn chicken) that are seasoned with the Buffalo-style sauce or variations of it.



Cayenne pepper hot sauce and melted butter or margarine are the basis of the sauce. Buffalo wing sauce can be made with a variable amount of heat/spiciness, with the names of these sauces generally corresponding to the level of heat, such as mild, medium, or hot. Typically, the wings are deep-fried (although they are sometimes grilled or baked), drained, placed in a bowl with the sauce, tightly covered, and shaken until the wings are evenly coated. Plain wings can also be served.

In most cases, each contains the same base sauce but varies in the amount of butter or margarine and hot sauce used. Wings can also be served dry with the sauce on the side.


There are four different legends about how the Buffalo wings came to be.[5][6]

  • One story is that Buffalo wings were first prepared at the Anchor Bar, located at 1047 Main Street (between North Street and Best Street) in Buffalo, New York, United States on October 3, 1964, by Teressa Belissimo, co-owner of the Anchor Bar with her husband Frank. Upon the unannounced, late-night arrival of their son, Dominic, with several of his friends from college, Teressa needed a fast and easy snack to present to her hungry guests. It was then that she came up with the idea of deep frying chicken wings (normally thrown away or reserved for stock) and tossing them in cayenne hot sauce.[5][6][7][8][9][10] While the wings were deep frying, Teressa decided to serve left over celery sticks with blue cheese to her son and his friends to tide them over.
Cook preparing Buffalo wings.
  • A second version, as told by Dominic Bellisimo (Frank and Teressa's son) to The New Yorker reporter Calvin Trillin in 1980, stated: "It was Friday night in the bar and since people were buying a lot of drinks he wanted to do something nice for them at midnight when the mostly Catholic patrons would be able to eat meat again." He stated that it was his mother, Teressa, who came up with the idea of chicken wings.[5][6]
  • The third version of the origin involved a mis-delivery of wings instead of backs and necks for making the bar's spaghetti sauce. Faced with this unexpected resource, Frank Bellisimo says that he asked Teressa to do something with them.[5][6]
  • The fourth version has nothing to do with the Bellisimos or the Anchor Bar. Calvin Trillin stated in his 1980 New Yorker article that a man named John Young also claimed credit for serving chicken wings in a special "mambo sauce". Chicken wings in mambo sauce became the specialty at his Buffalo restaurant in the mid-1960s. Young had registered the name of his restaurant, John Young's Wings 'n Things, at the county courthouse before leaving Buffalo in 1970.[5][6][11]

Buffalo wings are used in competitive eating events, such as Philadelphia's Wing Bowl and at the National Buffalo Wing Festival.

Buffalo Wings On Television

The first mention of Buffalo wings on national television may have been on NBC's Today show in the 1980s. Teressa Belissimo cooked a batch before the camera, and mentioned that she was using Tobasco brand hot sauce by name. Bryant Gumbel commented that the chicken wings looked like "drummies". Increasingly, since the 1970s, restaurants were promoting an entree of the thicker first joint of the wing, calling them "drummettes" or "drummies", to people who wanted the flavor of traditional "southern fried chicken" in about ten minutes, versus the twenty minutes or more needed to properly fry the thicker breast, thigh, or drumstick portions of a chicken.

Buffalo wings were also mentioned fairly early on Bartles & James wine advertisements; the actor in the spots seemed confused, thinking that he had never seen a buffalo fly.

The Travel Channel show "Food Wars" held a competition between Anchor Bar and local Buffalo rival Duff's Famous Wings. Duff's narrowly won, with Duff's wings considered to be spicier, while Anchor Bar's was meatier and fried more well-done.[12]

Restaurants that Specialize in Buffalo Wings

Variations on the Flavor

The unique flavor of Buffalo wings is replicated by a number of dishes. A common variation on the "buffalo" sauce flavor is found in potato chips produced by a number of different producers. Many of these "Buffalo Chips" also incorporate a simulated Bleu Cheese flavoring to simulate the complete buffalo wing experience.

The Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota serves a more esoteric take on buffalo-flavored food products with their "Buffalo Dog" available at concession stands inside the arena. The hot dog is topped with buffalo sauce, bleu cheese, and cole slaw in a combination of North Carolina-style slaw dogs and buffalo wings in a unique combination-- neither dish is indigenous to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and despite buffalo wings' ubiquity, slaw dogs are uncommon in the Twin Cities.


  1. ^ Horwitz, Jeremy (January 1, 2008). "Chicken Wings, or, Why People Know About Buffalo". Buffalo Retrieved 18 November 2009. 
  2. ^ "Wing Facts". Buffalo Retrieved January 6 2008. 
  3. ^ Buffalo Wings History - The origins of Buffalo Chicken Wings
  4. ^ Kinsman, Kat (July 27, 2007). "Buffalo Wings". Slashfood. AOL Food. Retrieved 18 November 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Harmon, John E.. "On the Wings of a Buffalo or "Mother Teressa's Wings"". Atlas of Popular Culture in the Northeastern United States. Retrieved January 20 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Trillin, Calvin (August 25, 1980). "An Attempt To Compile A Short History Of The Buffalo Chicken Wing". The New Yorker Magazine. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  7. ^ "Frank's Red Hot". Retrieved November 28 2006. 
  8. ^ "AnchorBar - Origins of the original Buffalo Chicken Wing". Retrieved January 6 2008. 
  9. ^ "Frank's Red Hot History and Facts". Frank's Red Retrieved January 6 2008. 
  10. ^ Peggy Trowbridge Filippone. "Buffalo Wings History - The origins of Buffalo Chicken Wings". Retrieved January 20 2008. 
  11. ^ "James Beard Foundation". THE 2003 JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION COCA-COLA AMERICA’S CLASSICS AWARDS. Retrieved January 20 2008. 
  12. ^ "Food Wars" Buffalo Wing Bar (2010)

External links

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