The History Of The Buffalo Chicken Wing

Is there anything better than Hot Wings and Cold Beers? Of course, not. But while the history of beer can be definitively traced back to a specific date and time of creation (as we all know Sam Adams created beer in Boston, MA in 1776), the genesis of our beloved chicken wing is a bit more murky.  No one knows exactly when or where the Buffalo Wing was created, but we do have evidence that it existed long before recorded history.

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“Yes, class, look right there on the left…you can make out a drumette”.


The wing was featured in several cave paintings which have been carbon dated to circa a long ass time ago. So we know that our Cro Magnon ancestors not only knew how to control fire, but were even able to cultivate peanut oil, known for its high burn point, in order to fry up their wings over an open flame pit.

“Hi. This is Sparta.”

The wing is mentioned in the traditional oral reciting of Homer’s Iliad when Aeneas Williams proclaims:

“Cattle and fat sheep can all be had for the raiding,

tripods all for the trading, and tawny-headed stallions.

But a chicken’s wing cannot come back again, once dipped in ranch.”

“Let them eat wings…”

The wing was famously made popular in France (a country that knows a thing or two about food) by their one time President Napoleon Bonaparte. Upon his exile to Mount Saint Helena, Napoleon requested but two things to comfort him during his final days: Hennessy Cognac and Buffalo Chicken Wings. As a side note, historians believe that his famous hand on the stomach pose he employed during multiple photo shoots of the era was caused by excessive heartburn resulting from eating Nuclear Wings every chance he got. Unfortunately for Nappy, Protonix would not be created until another decade after his death.

Four score and seven beers ago.

Abraham Lincoln’s last meal was a dozen #5’s, carrots and ranch and a pitcher of Corona Light. A stunning and chilling irony is that Lincoln actually once wrote to Mary Todd “my dearest Mary, I love thee to the point that my heart overflows, I love thee more so than even my love of emancipation, and I dare say even more than my love of Habanero Wings, of which I can only hope my final meal will be consisted of”.  Little did he know, that his prophecy would be self fulfilling.

“You there, Waiter…I told you ranch not bleu cheese!”

Much has been written on the many links between Lincoln and Kennedy. And while it is this author’s opinion that the minority of those links are mere coincidences and the majority of which are actual contrivances by tin foil hat wearing conspiracy nut jobs, one link actually does strike a nerve. JFK was planning on eating at Texas Pete’s Wing Shack and Juke Joint at the end of the motorcade procession. The route had been planned out as to end right in front of Texas Pete’s (who is now more known for his brand of bottled sauces).  So to say that Lincoln ate chicken wings right before his assassination and Kennedy was headed for some wings before he got capped is just a mere coincidence is to pay a disservice to the two men themselves. Both were great leaders and both great lovers of wings.

“Ma’am, The Chicken Wing Council would like a few words with you.”

And in more recent history, a woman has also made her impact on The Kingdom of Wingdom.  Martha Stewart and her Evil Test Kitchen of Estrogen created the first Women’s Only Wing in 2004.  Dubbing it a “Boneless Wing” and marketing it to women of all creeds, her abomination of gastric engineering can now be found on menus both far and near. So the next time your lady friend wants to join you in a Winged Throwdown, feel free to order her some Boneless Teriyaki Wings.  Just don’t get caught eating them yourself.

So while we may never learn when and where the Buffalo Chicken Wing was created, we can just be thankful that it does exist today. So pull up a bar stool, order a cold one and throw down on some hot wings. History says you’ll be in good company.