I love chicken wings. I mean love. Unconditionally. Even bad chicken wings, while disappointing, are still chicken wings, and I love them. When good, they’re almost transcendent: crispy skin or coating, rich, juicy and tender meat, piquant sauces – seet, spicy, sour – all hing conveniently on the bone to make them easy – if incredibly messy – to eat.
I’ve tried almost every imaginable kind of wing, from the barebones traditional, to slow confited fine dining versions, with everything in between. I still keep coming back to a pretty traditional preparation. A simple wing, very lightly coated, tossed in the traditional blend of butter and vinegary pepper sauce. Orange, vinegary, spicy, messy heaven.
I will admit, I hate the term ‘boneless wings’ because they are not. They are not wings. It doesn’t mean they aren’t delicious, but they’re just not wings. So here, we will call them what they are: Buffalo chicken bites. Crisp, saucy morsels of bright orange, spicy chicken accompanied by celery and blue cheese dressing – the perfect game day or party night snack.
Update: a few readers have asked about what I use to make fried dishes like this, the General Tso’s Chicken, and Chicken Katsu recipes that have appeared previously on the site.
I’ve experimented with a lot of different fryer setups over the years. I’ve gotten good results with a heavy cast iron dutch oven (it helped keep a constant temperature), but the best results I’ve gotten are with a dedicated home fryer like the T-Fal Deep Fat Fryer listed on the Equipment Page. This is the fryer I’m currently using at home, and the tool that was used to develop and photograph almost all the fried recipes on the site.
Buffalo Chicken BitesCourse: SnacksCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium
- Buffalo Chicken Bites
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
½ cup buttermilk
1 clove garlic
1 tsp fresh or dry dill weed
1 ½ cup AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp kosher salt, divided
4 tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup Frank’s RedHot or similar sauce
Celery Sticks for garnish
- Simple Blue Cheese Dressing
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp chopped, fresh dill
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
½ tsp ground black pepper
Salt to taste
- Prepare and Marinade Chicken
- Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces.
- Peel and mince or microplane the garlic.
- In a non-reactive bowl, mix buttermilk, garlic, 2 tbsp of salt, dill weed, and 1 tsp ground black pepper.
- Add the chicken. Cover, and refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Coat, Rest, and Fry Chicken
- Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 tbsp kosher salt and 1 tsp ground black pepper in a dry container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Working in batches, add pieces of chicken to the breading and shake well to coat.
- Place the chicken on a rack on set on a sheet pan into the refrigerator to hydrate for 30 minutes.
- Again, working in batches, return the chicken to the breading mixture, tossing to coat and build up a slightly thicker crust.
- Return to the rack and allow to hydrate for 10-15 minutes or while the fryer heats up.
- Prepare a fryer or stovetop fryer setup with neutral oil at 350°. Fry chicken in batches until well browned and internal temperature of any larger pieces has reached 165°.
- Prepare Sauce
- For the sauce, melt 4 tbsp of unsalted butter in ½ cup of Frank’s RedHot, whisking to combine. Add additional cayenne pepper if you prefer a spicier sauce.
- Toss finished chicken pieces with sauce and serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.
- Prepare Blue Cheese Dressing
- Mix all ingredients well in a non-reactive bowl. Rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to help set and to allow flavors to combine.
Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!