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Frank’s Wild Years

September 5, 2009

There is certainly a coastal divide on the matter of chicken wings.

Those on the east coast are wing-rich, while those poor poor souls out west are wing-poor.  They also complain about a lack of bagels and pizza.  Poor sweet babies.

Even more than I love Buffalo wings, I love Buffalo wing sauce.  The wings are merely a delivery device.  When ordering I always ask for extra sauce on the side to dip my fries, double dip my wings, and mix into the blue cheese dressing.  I have even been known to bring home extra containers of sauce to do unspeakable things, such as tossing it with buttered pasta.

Now there are two things that are obvious to everyone in the northeast, but took me well into my twenties to learn:

1) The distinctive taste of Buffalo chicken wings comes from a specific hot sauce.
2) That sauce is called Frank’s Red Hot.

I know.  This is not news to anyone in the Capital Region.  However, in San Francisco, armed with this knowledge I was like Johnny freaking Appleseed.  No joke.  I found some Frank’s Red Hot in a market and would carry an extra small sealed bottle with me wherever I went.

When the conversation turned to food, which it often did, I would tell my friends about my recent discovery.  If they were interested, I would give them the bottle so they could try it right away.

People were ecstatic.  As I still am.

I keep a giant bottle of Frank’s open in the refrigerator, and another giant bottle on deck in the pantry.  We would not want to run out.  And whenever I feel like Buffalo-style anything, I’ll reach for the bottle.

Beyond the Buffalo pasta I also enjoy Buffalo hummus, Buffalo home fries, Buffalo eggs, Buffalo beans, and Buffalo rice.

Disgusting?  Most definitely.  Especially the Buffalo rice.
But also it’s undeniably Buffalicious.

The trick to making the actual Buffalo-style sauce, is to blend Frank’s Red Hot into butter.  There are some who make a stiff paste by actually incorporating the Frank’s into solid butter.  I prefer whisking the Frank’s into melted butter, but to each their own.

There is one thing to keep in mind when you are cooking with pepper sauce: the longer it cooks, the more its peppery heat will dissipate.  This could be good or bad depending on your preferences.  If you are looking for a milder sauce still, the addition of plain vinegar thins out the sauce and tames it.

If you are looking to up the heat, skip the Frank’s Extra Hot.  Instead supplement with some additional pepper sauces.  I like adding some Tabasco for an additional kick and have been known to put in a bit of Crystal for good measure too.

But now I’m getting ahead of myself.  We’ll cover these other noble pepper sauces in the weeks to come.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Tonia permalink
    September 5, 2009 10:53 am

    Mmmmm butter….

    Buffalo Shrimp…

  2. phairhead permalink
    September 6, 2009 9:19 pm

    flaming wings at the I-Go Inn on Sacadaga Lake. they use 151 to procduce the fire. sweet and spicy

  3. gpet permalink
    September 9, 2009 9:30 pm

    It’s not only that the heat ruins the heat – it mellows out all the flavors – most importantly, the acidity. This is good when you are making something perfectly balanced, and bad when you are making buffalo n (where n = whatever thing it is you are buffaloizing). I do enjoy the technique of slightly heating the sauce, then adding in additional Frank’s, Tabasco, and Vinegar at the end during the cooling so you know you get both flavor profiles.

  4. October 1, 2009 12:19 am

    You mention Frank’s Wild Years and start talking about food and my brain immediately segues into Nighthawks at the Diner. :)

    I tried a dish at Pancho’s a while back: Diablo chicken (or something of that nature). Sauce was made with ketchup, hot sauce and orange soda. It was an odd combination, but I thought I’d pass it on as something to play with for your next meal. Haven’t tried it myself yet, but I’ll get around to it eventually. What I really want to copy is the Pump Station’s Peanut Thai sauce.

    Back to the subject, Frank’s is sold in two-bottle packs at BJ’s for not much more than the grocery store price for a single.

  5. Jessica R permalink
    August 14, 2013 11:37 am

    Two more suggestions – Buffalo Mac and Cheese and Buffalo Grilled Cheese.

    Also, Frank’s keeps perfectly well outside the fridge once opened – in case you are lacking for fridge space.

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