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The Great Chicken Wing Hunt: Movie and Recipe in Time for Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us. May we suggest subbing out the pre-game show with a movie?

Actually, it's not just any movie. It's a movie about one man's search for the best chicken wings in America -- our favorite kind of movie.

The Great Chicken Wing Hunt is the story of journalist Matt Reynolds. While on assignment overseas, it seems the Upstate New York native missed chicken wings....badly.

Reynolds' obsession for the spicy snack first manifested in his asking family to ship cases of Frank's Red Hot sauce (the key component in the traditional recipe) to Europe so he could make his own wings. Then, when that didn't prove sufficient, Reynolds traveled back to his roots with a group of friends for the ultimate wing challenge.

Travel 2,627 miles across the "wing belt" of Northern New York State to sample 270 different types of wings from 72 different places.

To find out what happened (and who has the best wings), you'll have to watch the movie, which is available for download on iTunes for $12.99.

If you're going to watch a movie about chicken wings, you're going to have to have some to eat. The original chicken wing recipe was out of necessity by Frank and Teressa Belissimo, the owners of Anchor Bar in Buffalo in 1964. Turns out, they received a crate of the then-unloved chicken part by accident. With the weight of all those wings on her mind, Teressa started experimenting in the kitchen. The result? The first Buffalo wing was born.

In honor of this invention that changed the course of Sunday football-viewing forever, here is the ultimate chicken wing recipe, based on the Anchor Bar's own Buffalo wings:

Director's Recipe (as seen in the film The Great Chicken Wing Hunt)

23 oz bottle of Frank's Red Hot (don't use generics)

1-2 sticks butter

1/2 bell pepper

4-8 hot peppers (habaneros, serrano, jalapeno, etc. -- grab an assortment of what's available at your local supermarket)

1/2-2 tablespoon honey-mustard

10-20 cloves of fresh garlic, pressed or chopped

Celery salt

Assorted hot sauces (Tabasco, Cholula, etc)

Saute garlic in one stick of butter for 1-2 minutes on low/medium heat, being careful not to burn it. Add HALF of the peppers, both bell and hot, finely chopped. Saute mixture 1-2 minutes. Pour in Frank's.

Simmer and stir for 5-10 minutes, adding mustard and dashes of celery salt and assorted hot sauces to taste. If sauce tastes bitter (caused by some peppers) add honey-mustard (or just plain honey) until bitterness disappears.

Keep simmering. For a milder sauce, add more butter; for hotter sauce, add more peppers.

Let simmer for another 5-15 min, until sauce thickens and reduces by 5-10 pct; Adjust ingredients to taste.

Always use fresh wings (never frozen). Always naked (never breaded). Take wings out of refrigerator at least an hour before frying and let sit at room temperature. 375 degrees is a good temperature for most friers, but test yours because each frier is different. Frying should take 8-12 minutes. Aim to hit the sweet spot where the wings come out crispy on the outside but still tender and juicy (but not undercooked) on the inside.

Toss wings with sauce.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss

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