In the battle of the wings, can New England beat Buffalo?

By Jim Bailey

Buffalo vs. New England
Ahhhh, that long-time rival. In my home, my oldest boy (15 years old) loves to walk against traffic. Yankee Chef logoHe has always liked Buffalo even though he is a 12th generation Yankee. Well, at least football food will still keep us together regardless of who we root for. But just to be a stick in the mud and a thorn in my son’s side, I would like to offer another rivalry: chicken wings.

We all love those red basted hot wings that are acclaimed across the globe known as Buffalo Wings. But here is my spin on these classic tailgating snacks. It has the same kick but a slightly sweet aftertaste that I think you will enjoy. Don’t be afraid to use this sauce on chicken drums as well.

Yankee chicken wings

I have frenched these wings just because I had some spare time on my hands. But this isn’t necessary. I have also removed all the skin from the wings to lower the saturated fat content. I promise the taste or crispness is not compromised one bit. In fact, I enjoy savoring the flavor of the chicken itself rather than the fatty skin.

Frenched and skinless Yankee-style chicken wings rival the Buffalo original.

Frenched and skinless Yankee-style chicken wings rival the Buffalo original.

1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup jarred, sliced banana peppers*
3 tablespoons juice from jarred banana peppers*
1 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon chopped, dried dill, optional
3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

20-24 chicken wings, frenched (if desired) and skin removed (if desired)

In a small bowl, whisk well together the cornstarch and water, then set aside.

Make the Yankee Wing Sauce. In a food processor or blender, add the peppers, pepper juice, apple juice, mustard, dill and maple syrup. Pulse until well combined and the peppers are very small. Pour into a medium saucepan. Over high heat, bring to a boil, stirring almost constantly. Stir the cornstarch slurry once again to bind together and when sauce is boiling, quickly add and stir in immediately. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes. The sauce will have thickened and it will continue to thicken upon standing, as well as form a skin on top. Stir frequently to prevent this skin from forming.
In the meantime, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Cut the chicken wing tips off (the part that has no meat). Doing this allows the wings to lay flat on the grate. Arrange the wings on the grill and cook for about 16-18 minutes, depending on the size of the wings. Turn wings frequently.
About 10 minutes into cooking, start basting your wings liberally with the Yankee Wing Sauce. About a minute before removing from the grill, baste one last time. Remove to a serving platter and either dose these sweet and spicy wings with more sauce or serve it on the side.

*Or substitute 1 small yellow habanero pepper, seeded and minced with 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar.

How to french a chicken wing

With a sharp knife, slit the joint where the drum meets the drumette (erroneously called the elbow) then cut off the chicken wing tip. Grab the drum with one hand and the drumette with the other and rock back and forth until you hear the pop of the joint coming out of place. You can see the round joint protruding through the slit you just made.
Cut in between the drum and drumette and separate the two. With your fingers, push the skin and meat of the drum toward the larger end, exposing the bone underneath. Although not necessary, you can scrub the residual meat from the bone. The reason some do this is because (as seen in the picture) when cooking, it blackens and thereby is not very presentable. But, if it’s just me eating these wings, I don’t much care.

Yankee Chef book coverSchiffer Books of Pennsylvania has released Jim Bailey’s new book The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen. It contains more than 550 traditional New England comfort-food recipes tweaked for today’s palates with hundreds of kitchen tips and food facts. The hardback book is 312 pages and contains 200 color images. Its ISBN is 978-0-7643-4191-5 and the cost is $34.99. The book can be ordered through Misty Valley Books, 802-875-3400.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.