Today, the 29 July, is National Chicken Wing Day! When I say ‘national’ I actually mean national to the USA, although there’s no reason why the rest of the world can’t celebrate – and judging from the amount of people I see in KFC on a weekend the UK loves their chicken wings just as much as the USA. Well, maybe not just as much as the USA apparently consumes an absolutely staggering over 25 billion chicken wings annually (American restaurant Hooters has even gone as far as to challenge Americans to eat 1 million wings today). So, it’s really no wonder that these popular pieces of
heaven chicken have their own holiday.
You can do your part to get involved in the celebrations by simply having your own chicken wings for tea tonight. Whether you buy them from a shop, head to a restaurant or grill them yourself (I’ll get to that in a moment) you at least have an excuse today that you’re doing it to celebrate – after all, it’s only once a year!
Before we get on to throwing some of your own chicken wings on the grill let’s learn a little history about where the humble chicken wing comes from.
Where Does the Chicken Wing Come From?
There is a good deal of debate about where the chicken wing actually comes from, but all the stories attribute the creation to a specific area; Buffalo, New York. This is where the name Buffalo Wing comes from, but who exactly was responsible?
The most popular story is that the chicken wing was created by a woman called Terressa Bellissimo in 1964. Terressa owned the famous Anchor Bar with her husband Frank and came up with the idea thanks to the late-night arrival of son Dominic and his friends. In brainstorming a fast and easy snack to give them she hit upon the idea of deep frying chicken wings; which were previously used for stock or simply thrown away. She then smothered them in hot sauce and served them up. They were such a hit that the wings were added to the menu at Anchor Bar the next day.
There are a few other stories involving Terressa, such as cooking them up in snow storm due to lack of other food available or that the chicken wings were delivered by mistake instead of backs and necks so something had to be done with them. Dominic himself refutes the story about a late-night snack and instead said that they were made to give Catholics some meat to eat after midnight on a Friday night.
The debate will no doubt rage on, but one thing is for sure – the popularity of chicken wings is unlikely to wane any time soon.
Grilling Your Own Chicken Wings
There are thousands of recipes available for chicken wings, each with their own unique flavours and styles of serving. You can get everything from traditional hot wings to sweet wings, with a myriad of ethnic varieties around the world. The best thing about grilling them yourself is that you can take the time to experiment with new flavours and styles of cooking; so if you fancy doing something a little different then take a look at this great mixture of chicken wing recipes at Allrecipes and these Top 10 chicken wing recipes at About.com.
Another good reason for grilling chicken wings yourself is that they’re relatively inexpensive to cook. You can buy them separately from shops, or use the leftover wings you get if you have a whole chicken for a meal one day. There’s no point in wasting parts of a chicken when they can easily be used for something else.
Grilling the wings is a simple enough job too, although directions differ depending on what recipe you’re going for. While it’s hard to say that chicken wings are healthy food, grilling does allow the fat to drain away and instead leaves you with a crispy wing that’s great to get your teeth stuck into. When cooking make sure you keep the barbecue to a medium flame as too high of a temperature may burn the wing. Since they’re so small you can cook a lot of wings at the same time, and they should take about 15 to 20 minutes to fully cook.
So all in all you can celebrate National Chicken Wing Day with us regardless of your budget (have a look at some of our other ways to have a budget barbecue too), and it’s also worth noting that any day of the year is good enough to have a taste of barbecued chicken wings in my book!