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Wingin’ It: Baltimore Ravens

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We improve the Baltimore staple “Chicken Box” because Western NY will forever remain the true home of the wing

As the Buffalo Bills prepare to face a new opponent each week, fans take on the ancient arch-nemesis know as “hunger.” Never fear, Buffalo Rumblings has just the playbook to take down this foe. Each week, we’ll dive into enemy territory to scout their signature moves and put a “Buffalo” spin to it. Translated, each week we’ll share a themed recipe based on who the Buffalo Bills are playing, including a custom wing sauce to go with each. Our opponent this week:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicken Box: You can’t ask for a better opponent to kick off this sixteen week wing sauce adventure. Baltimore is home of the “chicken box.” The chicken box is a takeout container full of chicken wings and french fries with hot sauce. This creates a perfect segue into the wing season as we can focus on sauce basics before we go all crazy in the coming weeks.

The Entree

This should come easily for everyone, as we’re likely all used to wings and fries. If buying whole wings or sections, remember to look for feathers that might have gone un-plucked and follow safe handling practices. Don’t be shy about using a meat thermometer, either.

  • If deep frying, make sure chicken is fully thawed before placing in the fryer. 375 degrees F for 10 minutes is a safe play for cooking. Add time for extra crispy wings.
  • For air frying, follow the manufacturer’s directions, but anticipate needing a lot more time than deep frying.
  • Feel free to order wings from your favorite spot and ask for “no sauce.”

For the fries, I’ll be going with the straight-cut variety cooked in an air fryer. The only additions are a little salt and pepper.

The Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup hot sauce (you know the brand)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic or garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

To make the sauce:

  1. Many recipes start by melting the butter. Stop that immediately. Butter that’s heated too long separates and can alter the end product. Instead, start with any spices/herbs at the bottom of a sauce pan on medium heat. For this sauce, it will give a balanced roasted garlic/onion flavor. Be careful not to scorch. Your nose will tell you if you did, and this means “try again.”
  2. Add the hot sauce to the pan, stir, and turn the heat to medium-high. You need enough heat to simmer for a few minutes while occasionally stirring. This lets the sauce evaporate just a little bit and stick better.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the butter, stirring constantly. If the butter won’t melt entirely, heat on low while stirring . The amount of butter listed above is for what I’d consider a medium sauce. Feel free to adjust to taste. If going milder, start with the above amount and add in increments of 1 tablespoon. As a heads up, different ingredients impact the acidity. Since we added garlic, it’ll likely trend a small amount hotter than if we hadn’t.

Putting it together: Based on what’s advertised, the chicken box has the sauce drizzled over everything which simply won’t do. I recommend using a larger sauce pan or a pot to make the sauce. Why? Because now you can put the chicken in the pot, put a lid on it, and toss them! Make sure they’re coated evenly and more importantly, thoroughly. Plate the chicken and drizzle some of the remaining sauce over the fries. Or, toss the fries in the same way if you want to go big on the hot sauce. The chicken box is most often seen in the wild in a to-go container rather than plated like seen above. Just so the purists can’t yell at me, here you go.