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Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Alton Does Wings

I was a bit apprehensive when I saw the title of last night's brand new episode of Good Eats, entitled "The Wing & I."

On the one hand, after all, this is Alton Brown we're talking about. His skill at getting to the essence and true soul of foods is legendary.

On the other hand, few foods are so universally verpfuscht.

First off, let me reiterate: There is no such thing as Buffalo Wings. If you are in Buffalo, you do not call them Buffalo Wings. If you are outside of Buffalo, you don't know how to make them. They couldn't be simpler to make, but somehow outsiders, especially national chains, keep finding new and unique ways to foul them up.

So, it was with an open mind, but some trepidation that we watched.

From his bar set first used in "Raising the Bar," Alton talked about their history. He went so far as to identify the Anchor Bar as being on Main Street. A little thing, I know, but shows a level of care to the subject matter.

What Alton focused on was the fact that it was thrown together late at night. It wasn't the result of meticulous planning and research. He then turned, as he always does, to how one can make the dish on one's own.

As far as cooking, I was rather wary. He actually eschewed the use of a fryer, the traditional method. His reasoning, however, was sound. Household fryers don't have the capacity to deal with a decent batch. His solution was rather unique.

He decided to use a steamer to cook the chicken, followed by an oven to crisp it. Not traditional, but it does the traditional job.

As is his wont, however, he stuck with tradition in the most important part - the sauce. The sauce was nothing but hot sauce and butter (with the option of some extra garlic) and the wings went straight into the sauce while they were still hot. This is a big place where people make mistakes. If the wings cool, the sauce won't adhere. If you mess around with the sauce, you will only get a mess.

I will reserve final judgement until we've actually tried his recipe. At this point, however, it seems that AB may have indeed gotten right what so many get wrong. I'll even forgive his misnaming.


OpenID ecwoodburn said...

Ah! That's why wings outside of Buffalo usually look "wet" to me.

Not being a wing fan myself, I didn't realize saucing-while-hot was the key. I just knew that was always the big tip-off for me, without ever putting them near my own plate, as to whether they were even close to right -- if the wing was wet-looking, it was bound to be wrong.

11:19 PM  
OpenID nursecaz said...

Did you know that AB will be coming to the Seneca Niagara Casino in March?? Tickets are reasonable as well ($35 I think!) I'm excited to see what he'll do! :)

9:33 AM  

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