Buffalo wings must be the quintessential American bar food. I have posted my (a bit anemic) baked version in the past. We love chicken wings and cook them many different ways. When I saw a recipe for sous vide Buffalo wings, I felt I owed it to myself to try it (at least once). The idea is instead of par-frying in low temperature and then re-frying it in high temperature, the wings are first first sous vide and then deep fried at a high temperature. They can also be made by first sous vide and then baked. I tried both methods as an experiment.
My sous vide and deep fried version is shown here.
The sous vide then broiled-in-toaster-oven version is shown here (I only did two wings and two drumets as a trial). These were not as good as the deep dried ones (not surprising).
First of all, I got an addition to my sous vide apparatus. I bought my Anova sous vide circulator through Amazon and they have an uncanny way (via cookie, I am sure) to show other items which may be of interest to you based on your previous purchases. This plastic storage container (for restaurants) was one of them. (I ended up not buying from Amazon since I found a much better price even with additional shipping cost) elsewhere. As you can see you can also get a clear plastic lid with a sliding door and my Anova fits (on the longer end not the shorter end). Of course you can not close the door all the way but the gap can be easily covered by aluminum foil.
When the Anova is installed, the bottom of the machine is about 2 inches off the bottom of the container. When I first tested it, the water level was between the min and max marks of the Anova, it made noise and bubbles came out of the circulator. For the circulator to work properly, I had to fill the container to just a few inches from the upper rim or close to the max mark on the Anova. The container holds up to 4 and 3/4 gallons which is within the capacity of Anova (22 litters or 5.8 gallons). With the container almost full, my Anova had no difficulty circulating water and maintaining temperature. The advantage of having this container is its larger capacity, the better water evaporation control (for long sous vide cooking), and easier insulation (cover it in a blanket or towel). You can also see your submerged vacuum sealed bags while cooking since the the container is clear. I will be using either my deep pot or this container depending on what and how much I am cooking.
Back to sous vide Buffalo wings;
Wings preparation: I used whole wings. I removed and discarded the wings tips and separated the wings and drumets, seasoned them with salt and pepper and vacuum sealed in two separate pouches (see upper images below).
Sous vide: I cooked at 160F for about 6 hours (The aforementioned recipe calls for 170F but I determined 160F is high enough. My guess of cooking time is a minimum of 2 hours and up to 6-7 hours.) I could have removed the chicken sooner but I held it until we were ready to eat it in the evening. The lower left images show when both packages were submerged in the water which you can see well from the side wall of the clear plastic container. After 6 hours, I removed the chicken wings and blotted them dry on a paper towel. The bags contained a small amount of liquid which congealed as it cooled (indicating lots of collagen melted and came out into the liquid).
I decide to experiment and I deep fried most of them at 400F (hot!) peanuts oil for few minutes until skin was golden and crispy (about 2 minutes turning once). Since the chicken was fully cooked, the only thing needed was to crisp up the skin (below). Despite my carefully blotting of excess moisture, it spitted and splattered quite a bit.
I broiled two each of wings and drumets in my toaster oven for few minutes until the skin browned for comparison.
My wife made a mixture of melted butter and hot sauce ( She used Sriracha) and tossed the fried and broiled wings in a bowl. My wife also made mixture of blue cheese dressing (from the bottle) and Greek yogurt as a cool dipping sauce.
Verdict: We are not sure it is worthwhile to sous vide and deep dry wings. Do not take us wrong, they were good. The meat was tender and came off the bone so easily and the skin was crispy. The broiled ones were not as good since the skin did not get uniformly crispy (which was expected). But even my baked Buffalo wings are pretty good and they take a fraction of the time and effort to get a similar result. I also realized that I have not posted our favorite baked wings with curry flavor. We will stick to our “baked” wings (to be posted soon).