Running Local

This Train of Thought Makes All Stops

Winging It

Posted by Bob Kohm on February 11, 2009

I am fighting a war with my intestines. There’s some twisted, dark, evil part of my brain that recalls the fiery goodness of the foods I ate as a teenager in largely Asian Flushing, Queens in the  ’80s– alien to my English-German-Italian DNA, I suppose, but oh so delicious. If it didn’t have bird chiles or Szechuan peppers in it, I didn’t want it. I still don’t. My GI tract doesn’t always agree, but screw it if it can’t take a joke.

Going to school in Buffalo didn’t help any. I worked for a semester in a pizza and wings joint just off campus and I learned there possibly the only bit of useful info I learned in Buffalo, that real Buffalo wings have only four ingredients– chicken wings, butter, garlic powder and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce from Durkee. Fry the wings, dump them in a plastic paint bucket, dump in an unwise amount of Frank’s Red Hot, the garlic powder and some butter to make the sauce stick– think the “jellied” part of “jellied gasoline” for napalm– and temper the fire with some (more) fat. Throw the top on the bucket, swirl and shake.  The only difference between “Mild” and “Why God, WHY?” wings is the amount of butter and Frank’s sauce– for hot you use a lot of butter and the same amount of sauce you’d use for mild. If you have a vendetta against someone, you up the Red Hot. Slap some carrot & celery sticks in a little paper french fry tray, wrap it in foil, throw in a cup of Blue Cheese (NEVER ranch, for the love of Jim Kelly and all things Buffalo) and deliver.

Simple. No exotic spices, no pineapple (gack), no chipotle or barbecue sauce. Wings, Frank’s Red Hot, butter, garlic powder. Finito.

I had a bad thought last night. I wanted wings, and was already planning on making BBQ chicken for the family. I bought a package of wings to go with the chicken breasts. I grilled the hell out of the wings over the hottest part of my fire, until they looked like they’d been fried. I got a bucket. I got the butter, I got the garlic powder. In the store earlier I had seen that Frank’s had a newer product, Frank’s Extra Red hot. I got that.

My kids wanted to know why I was crying at the table. It was hard to explain the physiological response of tearing eyes to a five year old when your upper palate is on fire and your guts are screaming at your esophagus, “Oh no you DO NOT! Not in OUR HOUSE!”.

But damn, were they good.

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2 Responses to “Winging It”

  1. Been there – done that. I have a collection of 60 different hot sauces in my kitchen to substitute for Frank’s and have experimented with them over the years. I made the mistake of mixing two of them trying for an exotic blend and created canker sores on my tongue from it.

  2. Bob Kohm said

    Have any green El Yucateco? Pure habanero goodness and painful as all hell, but delicious, especially on eggs. I like it better than the red El Yucateco. My wife calls them both El Yuck, but then again I did accidentally Mace her once after I had chopped habeneros on a cutting board without telling her. She picked it up to wash it then rubbed her eyes. Not a good night in Casa Kohm.

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