In American cuisine, a Buffalo wing is an unbreaded chicken wing part (flat or drumette) that is deep-fried and then coated or dipped in a sauce made of vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and melted butter before being served.   They’re usually served hot, with celery and carrot sticks dipped in blue cheese dressing or, in some cases outside of New York, ranch dressing. Buffalo wings are frequently referred to as “wings” or “chicken wings.”
Buffalo wings have become more popular in the United States and internationally, with some North American restaurant chains including them on their menus as a main course. Other spiced fried dishes served with dipping sauces now go by the term “Buffalo,” including boneless chicken wings (made from chicken breast meat), chicken fries, chicken nuggets, popcorn chicken, and shrimp. It also refers to other foods seasoned with Buffalo-style sauce or a Buffalo taste flavoring, such as pizza.
Buffalo wings are said to have been invented by a number of different people. One of the claims is that Teresa Bellissimo, who co-owned the Anchor Bar with her husband Frank in 1964, was the first to create Buffalo wings. Chicken wings were cheap and unappealing at the time and were mostly used for stock or soup.
The Bellissimo family and others have propagated several versions of the story of the Buffalo wing’s origin, including:
- Teresa needed a quick and easy snack to serve to her guests when their son, Dominic, arrived unexpectedly late at night with many of his college buddies. She came up with the idea of deep-frying chicken wings (which would ordinarily be thrown away or saved for stock) and putting them in cayenne hot sauce at that point.
- “It was Friday night in the bar, and since people were purchasing a lot of drinks, Dad wanted to do something pleasant for them at midnight when the largely Catholic patrons would be able to eat meat again,” Dominic Bellissimo (Frank and Teresa’s son) recalled The New Yorker reporter Calvin Trillin in 1980. He said that his mother was the one who came up with the idea for chicken wings.
- Wings were accidentally delivered instead of backs and necks for the bar’s spaghetti sauce. Frank Bellissimo claims that when confronted with this unexpected resource, he requested Teresa to do something with them.
Although a local newspaper article on the Anchor Bar in 1969 did not include Buffalo wings, Duff’s, a local competitor of the Anchor Bar, began selling Buffalo wings that year.
- Anot her storey is that in 1961, John Young, who relocated to Buffalo from Alabama in 1948, started selling uncut chicken wings breaded, deep fried, and served in his own tomato-based “Mambo sauce” at his Buffalo restaurant. Prior to launching his restaurant, he spoke with a travelling fighter, who told him, “There was a restaurant in Washington, D.C. that was doing a nice business with wings, and I decided to specialise,” Young said in a subsequent interview. In the same interview, Young noted that Buffalo wings were not a regular menu item at the Anchor Bar until 1974. Before departing the Buffalo area in 1970, he registered the name of his restaurant, John Young’s Wings ‘n Things, with the county government.
Growth and popularity
In 1977, the city of Buffalo declared July 29, 1977, to be Chicken Wing Day, in honor of Anchor Bar co-owner Frank Bellissimo.  Buffalo wings were popular as a bar dish and appetizer in the United States and Canada during the 1970s and 1980s. Buffalo Wild Wings, founded in 1982, and Hooters, founded in 1983, are two large franchises that specialize in Buffalo wings. McDonald’s started offering Mighty Wings as an option in their restaurants across the United States in 1990. Following the Buffalo Bills’ four Super Bowl appearances, Domino’s added Buffalo wings to its national menu in 1994, followed by Pizza Hut the following year.
Restaurants began to invent and employ a variety of sauces in addition to buffalo sauce as the market for chicken wings grew.  Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Caribbean, and Indian cuisines impacted some of these innovative chicken wing sauces.   Restaurants also come up with innovative flavor combinations, such as Blueberry BBQ Wing Sauce and Maple/Bacon Glaze, to keep customers interested and develop their businesses.  Restaurants began to offer a menu item termed “boneless wings,” sometimes marketed under the name wyngz, after the price of raw wings soared and some diners expressed a desire for a cleaner dining experience.   Small slices of skinless, boneless chicken breast are coated in flour and spices, then fried or baked to make boneless wings. They’re generally dipped in the same sauces as Buffalo wings or served with them. The rising popularity of Buffalo wings in recent years, as well as the number of restaurants that serve them, has resulted in actual and perceived shortages of chicken wings in the United States at times.
Chicken wing festivals are conducted around the United States, with Buffalo wings being used in competitive eating events like Philadelphia’s Wing Bowl and the National Buffalo Wing Festival. Restaurants are also increasingly holding wing-eating competitions. For successfully completing the challenge, many bars and restaurants make an extra-hot sauce, and clients are occasionally rewarded with their photo being displayed on the restaurant’s wall or website, a commemorative T-shirt, a complimentary dinner, or a combination of benefits.
The drumette, flat, and flapper or pointer components of the chicken wings used for Buffalo wings are normally divided into three parts: drumette, flat, and flapper or pointer, the latter of which is usually discarded, but some restaurants offer them with this latter part still attached to the flat. The wings are traditionally deep-fried in oil without breading or flour until thoroughly browned. Baked, grilled, or broiled options are also available.
Buffalo wing sauce is produced with a cayenne pepper-based hot sauce, melted butter, and vinegar as the usual base. It can be made mild, medium, or hot. Other ingredients, like Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder, are also prevalent but less dominant. Spiciness levels in commercially available ready-to-use wing sauce vary. Before serving, the cooked chicken wings are placed in a dish or pot and tossed to coat them entirely in the sauce.
Buffalo wings are traditionally served with little celery sticks (occasionally with baby carrots or carrot sticks) and blue cheese dipping sauce on the side. In the United States, however, ranch dressing is the most popular wing dipping sauce. Due to the fat content of the dips functioning as a solvent and removing the hydrophobic Capsaicin while swallowing, which would otherwise stick to the tongue and retain the burning feeling, these sides act not only as a dip but also as cooling factors for individuals eating especially spicy wings.