The Big-Game Wing Off: Denver vs. Carolina Style

Wings for your superbowl party 2016

The Buffalo Bills played in four consecutive Super Bowls from 1991 to 1994, resulting in considerable and sustained media attention being paid to the city of Buffalo, NY. That was when a local favorite, invented 30 years prior, took America by storm. Today, Buffalo wings are as synonymous with football as touchdown dances and cheerleaders.

Here are a couple of Big Game recipes for you to use on February 7:

Wings in FryerThe Wings

Start with FRESH, NOT FROZEN, chicken wings. Each wing has three sections: the drumette, the flat, and the tip. Discard the tips (save them in your freezer for the stock pot) and separate the other two sections. Pat them dry with a paper towel.


Deep frying at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes is my preferred method but you can certainly bake the wings at 425°F for 45 minutes if you don’t have access to a fryer or if you’re trying to eat (a bit more) healthfully. Alternatively, there’s also a twice-cooked Alton Brown method.


Place the still-hot wings in a large bowl, ladle in some still-hot sauce over the top and “toss” to coat. Another method is to put the wings and sauce in a large plastic food container with a tight-fitting lid and give it a good shake.

Denver Rocky Mountain Oyster wing recipe

Denver’s Rocky Mountain “Oyster” Wings

For this version, we’re going to take the spirit of this infamous Colorado food item and apply it to wings.

Parboil 2½ lbs of wings in salted water, about 8 to 10 minutes, and then drain. In the meantime, combine 1 cup of flour with ¼ cup of cornmeal and a teaspoon of garlic powder. This is the dredge. Once the wings have cooled (you don’t have to dry them) run each wing through the dredge, then in to a bowl of milk (approximately 2 cups), then through the dredge again. You can do this a couple of more times for a crispier coating.

Once all the wings are dredged, let them rest for about 5 to 6 minutes. This will ensure the crust stays on the meat. Fry until browned and sauce appropriately with the following ingredients:

⅔ cup Frank’s RedHot
½ cup butter
1 ½ tablespoons white vinegar
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, but c’mon)
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder

Throw all the stuff in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly.


Carolina’s East Coast BBQ Wings

Prepare the wings as you’d like. Fry, bake, or if you’re feeling frisky, smoke ’em. Regardless of how you prepare them, it’s going to be all about the sauce.

¾ cup beef stock or broth
2 cups apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup ketchup
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
A few dashes of Frank’s RedHot, just because

Melt butter in a saucepan, then add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. This is a fairly thin sauce. If you would like to thicken it up, add more butter until you reach your desired consistancy.

(Warning: Your house is going to smell like vinegar. There’s really no way around it.)

A Note on Dipping

Traditionally, Buffalo Wings are served with blue cheese dressing. You can certainly go to the store and purchase any one of several hundred varieties of the bottled stuff. Or you can make your own! And since you’ve come this far, here are two worth giving a whirl!

The Food Network


You’re now ready for the big game. Just add some great friends, some beer and save the celery sticks for the crudité.