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Wingin’ It: Ex-Panther sauce celebrates the Carolina to Buffalo pipeline

60 percent of the (meal)time, it works every time!

You like football. You like food. So do we! So much so, in fact, that we smash the two together to bring you a Buffalo Bills-inspired recipe each week. Whether it’s a take on an opponents’ fave or some real mad scientist **** coming your way, Wingin’ It is the spot to watch. This week we’re prepping for the Carolina Panthers!

Wingin it ex-panther

Not all games are created equal. The Carolina-to-Buffalo pipeline has brought us head coach Sean McDermott, general manager Brandon Beane, Star Lotulelei, Efe Obada, and more. This game? It gets a special sauce. It’s called “Ex-Panther” by Skarekrowdeon. It’s made with bits of real Panther(s inspired ingredients), so you know it’s good. Don’t worry about the formidable scent. It’ll sting your nostrils. In a good way.

I’m sticking with the basics this week, bringing you a well-balanced but complex wing sauce. There are two Panthers inspired ingredients on the list. North Carolina is the birthplace of Pepsi, and the home of Mt. Olive pickles. How you do the wings is up to you (I ordered mine from a local place). But I have you covered on the sauce.

Buffalo Deviled Chicken

Makes: Enough sauce for a couple dozen wings
Active Time: 10 min
Total Time: 20


34 cup Pepsi
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp onion powder
12 cup hot sauce
3 Tbsp dill pickle juice
5 Tbsp unsalted butter

  1. Pour Pepsi in a medium saucepan on MED/HIGH; bring to a boil.
  2. Stir in sugar and onion powder. Reduce Pepsi to about half, approximately 8-10 min. Make sure to scrape sides with a rubber spatula or similar to prevent burning.
  3. Stir in hot sauce and pickle juice; reduce heat to MED. Allow sauce to combine for about 5 min, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat; stir in unsalted butter.
  5. Toss wings in sauce.

Wingin’ It Tips and Prep Gallery

There’s no gallery this week as the most advanced technique is scraping the side of a pan to avoid burnt sugar. For tips though, I would like to emphasize that whenever you’re reducing liquid, times are very much approximate. Everything from pan size/shape, to relative humidity in the environment can make a big difference. Are you using a hood fan? What temperature does your stove reach? It all matters.

If you’re worried about reducing too far or burning, it’s always OK to lower the heat and take a bit longer. In this particular recipe you can also add the hot sauce and pickle juice a little early and reduce everything together. This can alter the flavor a little, but it’s not an unpleasant change. If you do it right, it’s more like roasted pepper notes.

While I have you here, Pepsi and Mt. Olive are the official North Carolina brands but feel free to play around with this. Don’t tell anyone but I used a different pickle brand. I like Mt. Olive, but I had some spicy garlic pickles that upped the heat in a nice way. Speaking of the heat...

Why in the heck is there soda AND extra sugar in this? Some ingredients escalate the heat factor very quickly. Vinegar is one of those. Garlic is a bit of an escalator too. Pickle juice can ramp things up in a hurry. I ran a test batch with just the soda and it was NOT balanced. A little bit of extra sugar went a long way. It also helped thicken the sauce and stick to the wings.