I’m never the person who votes for the buffalo option when there are wing choices to be made. Give me something sweeter, like honey-garlic, or stickier, like Thai chile. It’s nothing personal against buffalo wings, but with all the choices out there, why am I limiting myself to the radioactively orange ones?
This is where you expect me to be like, but then I tried THESE buffalo wings and I saw the error of my ways and immediately repented, right? Sorry, not happening. Instead what happened was that I made and ate these wings, realized that ALL WINGS ARE BEAUTIFUL, and had a most productive weekend of eating re-heated buffalo wings in the tub (#winning). And really, who am I to cast aspersions on any wings, when really, there is never going to be anything offensive or unlikeable about deep-fried chicken dunked in sauce? Never never never.
Also, THIS RANCH DIP. I’ll keep making it long after dairy (hopefully) re-enters the picture. It’s super garlicky, but not breath-destroyingly so, and just insanely creamy in a way that I’ve been missing SO MUCH. A little bite of wing, with the crunch of a celery stick, and a dunk into this ranch, and you’re set for life. Don’t forget the bathtub part though, that’s also integral to the perfection you’ve just created.
BA’s Best: Buffalo Wings + Dairy-Free Ranch Dip
Wings taken from BA’s Best arsenal, with the most minor of tweaks here and there
Ranch dip adapted from Lisa Johnson (Cooking With Curls)
Serves 6 as an appy and makes ~ 1 ½ cups ranch dip
1/3 cup unsweetened/unflavoured coconut creamer (I used this kind!)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup full-fat mayonnaise (you didn’t think I was going to make it vegan and omit mayo, did you?)
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
3 tbsp chopped green onions
1 tsp white wine vinegar
3 lb chicken wings
2 tbsp unsalted butter (you can also use a substitute, like Earth Balance, to make the whole dish dairy-free)
½ cup hot pepper sauce (ideally the wing classic: Frank’s)
½ tsp cayenne (optional, but recommended as Frank’s isn’t very hot)
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper + more to season
¼ tsp kosher salt + more to season
Vegetable oil, for frying
¾ cup cornstarch
Celery sticks, to serve
Make the ranch first as it benefits from a stint in the fridge to allow for better melding of the flavours. Pour the apple cider into the coconut creamer and let it sit to “sour” for 5-10 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, garlic, parsley, green onions, and white wine vinegar. Stir in the soured coconut creamer until smooth. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Store covered in the fridge until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Split the wings into drumettes and “flats” if they are not already prepared as such. To do this, simply use kitchen scissors to snip through the flap of skin between where the drumette and flat meet. Bend one side back so that the joint pops out, then cut through the 2 parts cleanly. Use the scissors to tidy up any errant bits of skin or bone, then snip off the pointed tips from the flats. Let the wings sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to take the chill out of them and ensure even cooking. While the wings sit, prepare the buffalo sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Whisk in the hot sauce, cayenne, pepper, and salt until combined. Remove from the heat and set aside. You will rewarm this just prior to serving.
Pour the vegetable oil into a large heavy pot or Dutch oven to a 2-inch depth. Fit the pot with a candy/deep-fry thermometer and heat over medium-high to a temperature of 375 degrees F. No, I’m not giving you a hack to figure out this temperature sans thermometer. YOU NEED TO JUST BUY ONE THEY’RE LIKE TEN BUCKS.
Place a cooling rack inside a large baking sheet and set aside. While the oil heats, place the cornstarch in a large bowl. Season the wings with salt and pepper. Divide the wings into 4 portions (2 portions drums, 2 portions flats) and dredge the first batch in cornstarch, shaking off any excess. You could do 3 batches if you really felt like saving time, but I don’t like to overcrowd my pot. Carefully lower the first batch into the hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the coating is crispy and lightly golden, ~10-12 minutes (keep in mind that wings will darken slightly when out of the oil, so don’t let them get super brown). Try to spread the wings out throughout the pot as best you can. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a steady oil temperature. Transfer the cooked wings to the prepared baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining batches until all the wings are fried. As the last batch is frying, rewarm the buffalo sauce over the stove.
Transfer all the wings to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle the warm buffalo sauce over and toss to thoroughly coat all the wings. Serve with ranch dip and celery sticks. And beer. All of the beer.