Chicken Wings and Blue Cheese (not Ranch)

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

It’s one of the many things us Buffalonians get pretty sensitive about… chickens wings, what we call them, and what we dip them in.

We mock the uneducated who don’t know any better– but call them Buffalo wings, or those who unwittingly dunk those flats and clubs into Ranch dressing.

But when Frank’s Red Hot– the secret ingredient in most of Buffalo’s favorite chicken wings– tweets about “Buffalo wings” AND eating them with Ranch dressing, it’s enough to make a Western New Yorker lose his mind. And many have on Twitter.

Frank’s has been trying to make up for the gaffe– which is only a gaffe inside the 716 area code.

Steve Watson takes a look at the tweet and the response in The Buffalo News:

Wing ding: Frank’s RedHot tries to clean up a hot mess

Frank’s RedHot has issued its mea Gorgonzola.

The hot-sauce maker on Monday tried to clean up the double culinary gaffe it committed on Saturday, when it sent a tweet that makes sense only if you’ve never set foot in Western New York:

For Buffalonians, that went over like the Sabres’ “Buffaslug” logo.

First, we call them “wings,” or “chicken wings,” but never, EVER “Buffalo wings.”

The bigger issue for most who reacted to the tweet was what came between the plus sign and the equals sign: the “R-word.”

Hundreds of people attempted to educate Frank’s social-media team on the proper etiquette for eating wings. (Hint: It doesn’t involve ranch dressing.)

Using many, many – did we say many? – amusing GIFs, the twitterati gently informed Frank’s that blue cheese is the best and only acceptable dipping sauce for wings.

Twitter users asked whether the company’s social-media account had been hacked, vowed to never again use Frank’s RedHot sauce and otherwise expressed outrage.

On its website, Frank’s touts its long connection to the, um, “Buffalo wing.” (Buffalo don’t have wings!)

It proudly points out that Teressa Bellissimo, the generally accepted inventor of the chicken wing, used Frank’s RedHot cayenne pepper sauce in her trailblazing recipe in 1964 at the Anchor Bar. The company in 2009 introduced Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wings Sauce to allow customers to “expand their culinary creativity.”

The company waited until Monday afternoon to respond. That’s when Frank’s sent out another tweet saying it wants to properly honor blue cheese dressing.

“Our fans from Buffalo have spoken in response to our #NationalRanchDressingDay tweet and inspired us to create a movement for #NationalBlueCheeseDressingDay, where we can highlight the original perfect pair – Buffalo wings and blue cheese dressing,” a spokeswoman said in a statement to The Buffalo News.

Frank’s said it’s looking for feedback from Buffalonians and others on social media about how best to celebrate this new holiday.

At the same time, the folks behind the National Buffalo Wing Festival – not you, too? – late Monday announced on Facebook that they wanted to host a National Blue Cheese Dressing Day on June 4.

If the two of them join forces, that would be the best pairing since chicken wings and mayonnaise. (Kidding!)

Published by

Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.