1. Buffalo Wings
America’s most famous chicken wing variety has become a hugely popular choice all over the world. While there are a few different stories circulating about how they were invented, it’s generally accepted that the first plate was served back in 1964. They originated in Buffalo, the second largest city in New York, and for years they largely remained a regional food you could only get in nearby areas. However, something so delicious can’t remain a secret forever, and by the mid-1980s Buffalo wings were being enjoyed all over the United States, before eventually spreading throughout the globe.
Buffalo wings are usually deep fried in oil without any breading or coating, and then slathered in an incredible sauce made from cayenne pepper, melted butter and vinegar. They’re often referred to as ‘hot wings’ so are traditionally on the spicy side, but milder versions are also served in many restaurants to cater for all types of diners. While very flavourful by themselves, they’re often taken to another level with blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing for dipping.
2. BBQ Chicken Wings
While you can certainly cook these wings on a barbecue, they’re actually named after the type of sauce they’re cooked in. While there is an endless number of variations, having a sweet and tangy style barbecue (or BBQ) sauce is always a winner. The key ingredients are commonly tomato paste, sugar and vinegar, but numerous spices and other components can be included to enhance the flavor to your particular taste.
Several cooking methods can be used, but baking them in an oven tends to be the best option as it allows the wings to really soak into that beautiful sauce while they’re cooking. Once they’re done, you want to serve them sitting in all the leftover sauce to get the maximum sweet and tangy flavor.
3. Southern Fried Chicken Wings
Fried chicken is best known as coming from the American south, but the origin has actually been traced to precedents in Scottish and West African cuisines. Despite this, it appears as though the American south may have been the first to perfect it, or were at least the loudest about claiming they had. Regardless of who deserves the credit, the ‘southern fried’ style of chicken preparation is absolutely perfect for wings.
This style involves coating the wings in a batter made from flour and/or breadcrumbs, with eggs, milk and an array of spices. They’re then deep fried in oil until they reach their destiny of crunchy perfection. Although it may not be the healthiest choice, some say southern fried chicken wings are at their peak when you’re getting as much batter as you are chicken with each bite.
4. Honey Soy Chicken Wings
The origin of honey soy chicken wings is largely unknown even if it seems likely that its beginnings may have been in China. However, the tastiness of this dish is very widely known to all who have tried them. The savory of the soy sauce and sweetness of the honey make for a mouth-watering combination that brings out the best in chicken wings.
These wings are usually marinated in the honey soy mixture for hours or even a couple of days so that the flavours can really permeate the chicken and make the meat flawlessly soft once cooked. Baking is generally the cooking method that culminates in an eye-catching shine to the dark brown color that will have you wanting to start eating them before they’ve had any chance to cool down.
5. Sweet Chilli Chicken Wings
Sweet Chilli delivers the absolute perfect balance of sweet and spicy for chicken wings. While certainly not exclusively used for wings, sweet chilli sauce originated in Zhongshan City which is part of the Guangdong province in China. From there it made its way to Thailand which launched its global popularity as a sumptuous dipping sauce.
The primary ingredients are typically red chilli peppers, rice wine vinegar and plenty of sugar to create a wing experience that comes in waves of flavor. First comes the decadent peppery sweetness that combines beautifully with the crispy fat of the chicken wing skin, before giving you a stronger kick of spice at the end.
Try Hunter’s take on Buffalo wings on the current Hunter & Barrel menu here.