I don't need Frank, I don't need anybody
March 12, 2011 6:24 PM   Subscribe

How do I make a good hot wing sauce with no access to Frank's?

I live in the Netherlands. All buffalo wing recipes demand Frank's Hot Sauce, which I understand from the origins and because it is delicious and great. However, the selection of hot sauces in the Netherlands is pretty terrible and you seemingly can't get it, at least for a reasonable price. I would like to see whether it is possible to make my own hot wing sauce, obviously the simpler and most delicious the better. I would prefer to stay as close to the cayenne flavour and the consistency of the sauce.

Does anyone know how to make some simple, excellent hot wings without using Frank's?
posted by tumples to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Why don't you order franks online?
posted by TheBones at 6:27 PM on March 12, 2011

Do you have access to any vinegar-heavy hot sauce (Louisiana is my preference, but also Cholula or Crystal or anything red and vinegary but not Tabasco) at all? This is the basic architecture of wing sauce, though there are shorter simpler ones (in its pure form just hot sauce plus butter, but I like onion and garlic powder too).
posted by Lyn Never at 6:30 PM on March 12, 2011

Make your own?

Get a couple of cups of de-stemmed chili peppers. Pan-roast (medium heat, toss constantly) until they get a little toasty. Cover with a minimum of water (maybe a bit more), bring to boil, then simmer until the chilies are cooked through. Toss cooked chilies and liquid in blender, about 1/2 volume of white vinegar (although I'm curious how using a balsamic would turn out?), a teaspoon of salt, and blend the crap out of them.

Cook a small chopped up onion, an entire chopped up thing of garlic, and a chopped up medium tomato (or half a small tin of tomato paste) in a stick/quarter pound of butter. Yes, a quarter pound of butter. You might even want to use more for two cups of chilies. Not margarine, ever. Throw in blender (with the chilies) and blend the crap out of it. Add the juice of one lemon (or lime), a teaspoon of honey, and a 1/4 cup of ketchup. Blend some more, then pour it all back into the pot and cook/reduce until you get a consistency you like.

Taste test near the end, if it's too vinegary, add more water and butter (or neutralize it with a little baking soda, but it'll end up a little more salty) and you might want to add more honey/ketchup/lemon-juice to taste.

You can also try 1/2 chili 1/2 jalapeno or some ratio of the two. You'll end up with a different colour and a different flavour profile - jalapenos for me seem to mellow out the sauce (less heat) and bring a slightly stronger "high note" flavour.
posted by porpoise at 7:39 PM on March 12, 2011 [11 favorites]

Siracha is even better, I think.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:04 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not margarine, ever
Oddly, wing sauce is the only instance in which I do use margarine. Otherwise, I'm a butter kind of guy. Can you elucidate, porpoise?
posted by Gilbert at 9:16 PM on March 12, 2011

Google "Frank's Hot Sauce Copycat Recipe." I saw a few; all different.

I don't know what access you have to Asian condiments, but doctoring Yeo's Sweet Chili Sauce beats Frank's all to hell.
Alone, it's my new ketchup, but add a cayenne, or better, habanero puree, garlic, and thin it with white vinegar.
posted by JABof72 at 9:47 PM on March 12, 2011

Margarine is created from vegetable oil and water.

When one heats margarine, the water comes out; I guess if you *must* use margarine, use twice as much and reduce the amount of water (if possible) the same amount.

The water in margarine really fucks with proper frying of stuff in animal fat (butter) where the main idea is to drive off the water and replace it with oil/nothing. There are also chemical reactions that are inhibited by the presence of water (the water reduces the effective temperature just by being around). The water component is really undesirable, when you think about cooking as a chemical process especially when high temperature fats are involved.

Using margarine after all the chemical reactions are going on.. well, ok, sure, fine. Comparable to adding the equivalent lesser amount of fat (plus a little water). I can see how margarine could be used to dilute down Frank's to good effect.

Cooking the savoury vegetables to extract the volatiles is much better in butter (higher fat percentage) which gets those tasty volatiles into the fat. With margarine, some portion of the volatiles gets extracted in the water and vapourizes off.
posted by porpoise at 11:00 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

tl;dr, layman answer - the water in margarine will make the water-fried-out-of wings soggy unless you consume them tout suite/immediately. No water-all fat hot sauce will coat deep-fried wings and let them keep the crunchy long enough for you to be engrossed in a play or two of the game on TV before you dig in.
posted by porpoise at 11:07 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Get Malay ingredients. Netherlands does Malay cuisine because of the colonial past. So that means kecap manis and the fire known as sambal. Chili pastes and their derivatives are very available. Try doing a Malay version of wings, you will be pleasantly surprised.
posted by jadepearl at 5:08 AM on March 13, 2011

I am from Buffalo, and have eaten so many wings in my life that I have flossed my teeth with their tiny veins and gristle more often than I'd care to admit. I live in Toronto now, and I had wings last night because I miss and love wings so much; and I get wings when we visit my folks whenever I can. I will blaspheme and say that I am a LaNova's fan, rather than a Duff's or an Anchor Bar fan, and Buffalonians will know what I mean. I have bought Frank's in their gallon jugs. And at our school's multi-cultural potluck dinner in January where we brought dishes from our ethnic heritage, I brought Buffalo Wings.

Thankfully, I can get Franks just up the street at my No Frills in Toronto. But, having had plenty of Frank's in my life (sadly, sometimes in shots, on a dare), and having made wings of my own, here's what I'd suggest:

There are many copy cat recipes online. Find one and do your best. Porpoise's sounds like a delicious hot sauce recipe too. Frank's is about the cayenne/peppers, garlic and the vinegar though. It's not um... expensive and luxurious tasting. It is hot, with only a little depth. The depth in the flavour of the wings comes from the butter. Can you get Tabasco? That will sometimes do too.

That said, in Bufallo, sometimes the wings are gloppy and sometimes the sauce is baked/fried on and they're more dry. For the gloppier wings, you do need to find or make a liquid one that you like, since the flavour is more forward. I prefer dry and crispy wings, so I make these Baked Wings (Because I'd rather not deep-fry for mess reasons, and because I can make four cookie sheets-full at one time!) (And the dry wings/flour part and the chilling them parts in that recipe do matter.)

When I don't have hot sauce on hand for those, I've just made the butter/liquid dipping part by guessing at amounts of white vinegar, garlic powder, chili powder, cayenne powder and salt after looking at the various online copycat recipes, since I always have the dried spices on hand -- and the wings have always been delicious. And, since I live out of the country and nobody can easily lambast me, I do add some of Emeril's rustic rub to the flour mixture, so that the wings also have little dried herby bits sticking to them, which looks marginally more elegant somehow.
posted by peagood at 6:54 AM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here you go - full sauce recipe included.
posted by O9scar at 12:20 PM on March 13, 2011

Having made the Dinner & a Movie recipe a few times, it is quite good. Depending on what sort of peppers you can get, consider putting in a mix. Red jalapenos or Fresno peppers are good for the bulk of the sauce, but I've found that tossing into two serranos or one habanero or three small thai chilis adds a good balance of heat. If you have hot cherry peppers and fresno/red jalapenos, mix the two 50/50, If you have the equipment, by all means smoke the jalapenos/cherry peppers.
posted by plinth at 2:01 PM on March 13, 2011

Dave's Insanity Sauce + your fav bbq sauce solves all problems :)
posted by zombieApoc at 8:13 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ah, ok. I was deep frying nekkid in canola oil, then just dressing in a margarine and hot sauce mix.
Not belabor the point, (although I guess I am), but isn't butter more likely to break under these circumstances than margarine? What are your thoughts?
posted by Gilbert at 11:19 PM on March 13, 2011

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