Why Are Chicken Wings Called Buffalo Wings?

Brooklyn’s Best

January 29, 2024

You’re sitting at your favorite sports bar, menu in hand, and your eyes land on the appetizer section. A staple of almost every pub, bar, or pizzeria – the beloved chicken wings. But why are they often referred to as Buffalo wings?

Let’s dive into the spicy, tangy history of these popular finger foods.

The origin story of the Buffalo wing

The humble chicken wing, a classic in Southern cuisine, took on a whole new identity back in 1964. In the heart of Buffalo, New York, a culinary revolution was sparked at the renowned Anchor Bar by none other than co-owner Teressa Bellissimo.

One late night, with some leftover wings and an adventurous spirit, she concocted a fiery hot sauce to douse the BBQ chicken wings in, intending it as a quick snack for her son and his buddies.

Much to her surprise, the peppery wings were an instant sensation among the young men. Spurred by this unexpected success, the Bellissimos decided to add these spicy delights to their menu the very next day.

Named “Buffalo wings” in honor of their city of origin, these wings, served with fresh celery sticks and a tangy blue cheese dip, quickly became a crowd favorite, forever changing the face of bar snacks and game-day menus across the nation.

Get the best wings near you from our Ft. Apache or downtown Las Vegas location – order now!

What was the original buffalo sauce made of?

The quintessential Buffalo wing sauce, as we know it today, is a harmonious and savory blend of:

  • Melted butter
  • Fiery hot sauce
  • A dash of cayenne pepper

This particular combination gave hot wings their distinctive spicy kick. To counterbalance the heat of the sauce, the wings were ingeniously paired with crisp celery sticks and a rich, creamy blue cheese dressing.

This classic pairing not only provided a cooling contrast but also added an extra layer of flavor, making the Buffalo wing experience truly unforgettable.

Buffalo wings’ rise to fame

The rise of Buffalo wings to national fame is a fascinating tale that’s entwined with the fortunes of a football team. The Buffalo Bills’ incredible run of reaching the Super Bowl for four consecutive seasons from 1990 to 1993 played a significant role in catapulting this local delicacy to nationwide recognition.

During those exhilarating years, every media spotlight was trained on the city, showcasing its vibrant culture and culinary delights, with Buffalo wings stealing the show. This exposure sparked a nationwide love affair with these fiery bites, transforming them into an essential game-day tradition for football enthusiasts across America.

In the 1980s, as the wings began to gain popularity, they were predominantly sold in Western New York, home to Buffalo. However, the Buffalo Bills’ Super Bowl streak brought an unprecedented level of attention to this region, forging a lasting connection between football and chicken wings. It’s estimated that during the Super Bowl, Americans devour a staggering 1.4 billion chicken wings.

But the frenzy for Buffalo wings didn’t wane with the end of the football season. The irresistible combination of hot sauce and butter that gives the wings their distinctive orange hue had captured the nation’s palate.

Recognizing the potential of this spicy sensation, eateries across the country hurried to add it to their menus, cementing the fried chicken wing’s status as a perennial favorite.

Dipping into controversy: blue cheese vs. ranch with Buffalo wings

The controversy between blue cheese and ranch dressing is a lively debate among enthusiasts of spicy chicken wings, particularly those with a penchant for Buffalo wings. The question of which dressing reigns supreme has divided culinary circles and social media platforms alike.

A poll conducted on Twitter revealed that 59% of respondents favored ranch over blue cheese, indicating a slight preference for this creamy, tangy dressing. Another study echoed these findings, with ranch securing 61% of the popular vote.

Despite these statistics, the divide is far from clear-cut. Some argue that the chunks of blue cheese within the dressing help balance the heat of spicy foods, while others see them as a hindrance. The choice between these two dressings often boils down to personal preference and the particular dish being served.

Interestingly, both dressings share a similar base, but their distinct flavors come from their signature ingredients. Ranch dressing typically contains buttermilk, not always found in blue cheese dressing, while blue cheese dressing gets its unique flavor from the addition of, you guessed it, blue cheese.

In the end, whether you’re a devotee of the traditional French Roquefort blue cheese or a fan of the universally loved ranch, it’s clear that this debate is set to continue, adding an extra dash of flavor to the world of culinary controversies.

The bottom line

Three Buffalo wings next to celery on a plate.

Today, the versatility of chicken wings is truly awe-inspiring. Whether you prefer them breaded or naked, sauced or plain, there’s a flavor profile to suit every preference, all thanks to the enduring legacy of Buffalo wings.

Hungry for some of the best wings in the Las Vegas area? At Brooklyn’s Best Pizza & Pasta, we’re proud to serve some of the best wings as well as the most popular types of pizza in town. Whether you’re a local or just passing through Las Vegas, make your way to either our Ft. Apache or downtown location to satisfy your cravings.

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