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The History of the Hot Wing: A Cautionary Tale of Creativity

Throughout America, and particularly in the South, hot wings are more than a delicious snack—they’re a cultural staple. Yet, despite their deep connection to communities and cultures nationwide, few know the story behind their origin.

It’s reasonable to assume that wings have been around for hundreds of years, but they’ve actually only been consumed regularly in America for a little over 50 years. Find that hard to believe? Wait until you find out how they were created.

What are hot wings?

Hot wings, also commonly known as “buffalo wings”, are unbreaded (or naked) chicken wings that are deep fried and then tossed in a spicy cayenne pepper sauce. Today, hot wings may or may not be served breaded, which merely means that they are coated in flour or breadcrumbs before being fried. They are typically served with a side such as fries, carrots, celery sticks, or rice, with ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping to offset the spiciness.

The origin of the hot wing; what’s the true story?

While there are conflicting reports regarding the origin of the hot wing, all sources agree that they originated in Western New York, in the city of Buffalo, at an establishment called the Anchor Bar.

Apparently, the creation was not intentional, as the spicy concoction was the result of a mistake. Theresa and Frank Belissimo, owners of the bar, received a shipment of chicken wings, instead of necks, which they typically used in a recipe for their spaghetti sauce. Rather than throwing away the food, Theresa snapped the wings apart, threw them in the fryer, and doused them in a homemade hot sauce.

However, Dominic, the son of the Belissimos, disputes this story, saying that the wings were actually created when he asked for a late-night snack after a night out drinking with friends. Since the wing was often an overlooked part of the chicken at the time, they were a simple and easy solution to his snacking dilemma.

A hot commodity

Regardless of which story explains the true origin of the hot wing, the fact remains that hot wings are wildly popular in American culture. Hot wings managed to remain a local treat shortly after their creation, but by the 1980s, buffalo wings had become a national sensation.

Today, hot wings are enjoyed in a variety of settings and scenarios, satisfying appetites at sports games, bars, home parties, and everything in between. Hot wings are widely accepted as a treat appropriate for nearly every situation.

Enjoy some hot wings from American Deli

Here at American Deli, we know a thing or two about hot wings. While they may have originated in Western New York, we’ve put our own spin on them, taking our original sauces throughout the South and beyond. Regardless of whether you like hot, lemon pepper, or any other flavor, you can rest assured that every bite of American Deli’s wings will taste crispy and fresh. See for yourself today!

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