Something terrible happens to me when I eat hot wings. I can’t explain it and I have no excuse for my boorishness other than to say through heavily sauced lips, burning with cayenne and vinegar, that ours is a love that cannot be stopped. I know I have problems. I didn’t care if my date sitting across from me had carefully eaten his seven wings with a knife and fork (Who does that by the way? What is this – a Jane Austen novel?!), while I sucked the meat from the bones of the remaining thirteen wings with my face! I had completely forsaken the rules of girl-dom by not only eating wings in a public setting on multiple occasions, but with an unforgiving fervor.
I tried to ignore the concerned looks from neighboring tables while I powered my way through an unfathomable amount of wings, slurping and sniffing the entire time. That’s when I decided the only way to eat hot wings in peace is to do it in the privacy of your own home, in a darkened room, like it’s some kind of contraband German food porn, until you’re so stuffed you can’t move to wipe your face even, for fear that the button of your jeans will burst from its stitch and ricochet into your television and fine china. And then, just as you’re about to slip into a hot wing induced food coma, you see the face of God, and know peace.
I remember with perfect clarity the last time I ate wings at a bar. It was a Wednesday, and some friends from out of town were visiting. We went to the pub across the street, because they had great food and a decent atmosphere, when I met a handsome stranger named Joe. We talked about literature and cooking, he told me a few dirty jokes and bought me a beer. Everything was going fantastic right up until the server set down the plate of wings he ordered. If this was a test, I most certainly failed.
“Go ahead – have one…” is what I’m pretty sure he said, but what I heard was, “Eat this whole plate like a caveman.” So I did. Sometimes I still have nightmares about the look on his face, but I digress.
Needless to say, he didn’t call and I made a vow right then and there to never eat wings in front of another human being ever again.
Fast forward one year later and I managed to keep my promise, when I get a phone call from a coworker.
“Yo bitch! You bringing food to my party or what?” She said by way of both greeting and invitation to said party.
“What do you want and when is it?” I went to my refrigerator and stared into the emptiness. There was a box of Rolo’s I had used to make Christmas candy, half a bottle of Rex Goliath on the door, and a furry carrot. “The sky’s the limit up to candy and red wine. I hope it’s one of those two things.”
“Saturday afternoon and bring chicken wings.”
“Uuumm, eerrr, well…”
“Why?” She sounded annoyed.
“I can’t – I don’t… it’s just, don’t worry, I’ll bring something good.” I hung up, threw on a hoodie and ran down to the grocery store to peruse the meat section.
Chicken wings. Why did it have to be chicken wings? Where’s a bullwhip when you need one?!
I skimmed over the quartered chickens, swept past the breasts, thighs and drumsticks when I saw them; a giant Styrofoam container nearly bursting with wings, wrapped in cellophane. I stared at the devil, and the devil stared back at me. Then I looked up, and just above the wings in front of me, were rows and rows of ground chicken.
The little light bulb hovering over my head flickered to life. I had the answer. I ran home to experiment and created my own version of the Buffalo Chicken Burger, complete with celery and carrots, big lumps of salty, creamy blue cheese, then drowned in Franks Red Hot.
It would be like eating a chicken wing, but on a bun so there wouldn’t be any gloopy crap on my fingers or around my lips, no feverish act of tearing meat from a bone would unleash something primal in me that would inhibit my ability for rational thought and general table manners, and best of all, I wouldn’t be ostracized for eating like a crazed animal at the party. Those are wins all around kids.
I served these as sliders on mini Hawaiian buns, but they hold up well as large burgers as shown in the pictures.
Buffalo Chicken Burgers
* 1 package of Ground chicken: 1 – 1 1/2 lbs
* 2 ribs diced celery
* 1 medium vidalia onion diced
* 1 large carrot diced
* 1 heaping half cup of blue cheese crumbles
* 1 Egg
* Salt and Pepper
* Franks Red Hot (or your favorite hot sauce) in whatever quantity you want
In a large pan, saute the onions, celery and carrots until they are very tender. They will add a certain amount of texture to the burger, but they shouldn’t be hard or raw. Once they’re cooked and slightly cooled, add them to a large mixing bowl with the chicken, cheese, the egg, and a little salt and pepper. The blue cheese is salty already so go easy on the salt. Next, mix all of the ingredients gently. If you over mix, the meat will become tough and the cheese will fall apart. Separate into four large patties, or into sliders. Sliders don’t take nearly so long to cook, so use your best judgement. For a larger patty, fry the burger in a pan on medium high heat, covered for about 4 minutes on each side. Next, cook for an additional 2 minutes on high heat on each side, uncovered for browning if necessary.
Drown them in Franks Red Hot just before plating and serve along side a healthy heap of chips or veggie sticks.