Wings. Hot wings. They’ve forever been one of my favorite foods! Growing up in Louisiana and Texas means I’ve always had a taste for spicy foods and hot buffalo wings definitely deliver on that count. I’ve also taken the time to search out some of the best wings in Cincinnati over the years and will share that here as well.
It wasn’t until recently that I decided to make my own hot buffalo wing sauce. You can find buffalo sauce in the grocery without a lot of carbs fairly easily. By nature, most wing sauce focuses on being hot rather than sweet. What most prepared sauces do have though, is crappy oil in them and still at least some sugar despite a carb count of zero.
The Pitfalls of Store Bought Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce
Take the lovely list of ingredients in the photo to the right for example. The third ingredient is canola oil. I’ll save an in-depth discussion on why you should avoid canola oil for a later date, but here are just a couple of reasons. It’s made of corn; almost all corn in the United States is genetically modified (GMO), which also means it’s grown with a bunch of Roundup and other chemicals. Canola is a heavily processed food.
According to the Weston A. Price Foundation,
Like all modern vegetable oils, canola oil goes through the process of caustic refining, bleaching and degumming–all of which involve high temperatures or chemicals of questionable safety. And because canola oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which easily become rancid and foul-smelling when subjected to oxygen and high temperatures, it must be deodorized. The standard deodorization process removes a large portion of the omega-3 fatty acids by turning them into trans fatty acids. Although the Canadian government lists the trans content of canola at a minimal 0.2 percent, research at the University of Florida at Gainesville, found trans levels as high as 4.6 percent in commercial liquid oil.24 The consumer has no clue about the presence of trans fatty acids in canola oil because they are not listed on the label.
Also in this store-bought hot buffalo wing sauce is not one, not two, but three types of sugar: molasses, corn syrup, sugar. Be sure to download our handy sugar names list if you’re not sure what constitutes sugar. There are over 60 names for sugar that can appear on ingredient lists, so it can be hard to keep track.
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I’m sure there would be debate among wing enthusiasts about what is the best way to make buffalo wings. However, after trying many different preparations both in restaurants and at home, I’ve certainly settled on my favorite method. Now that I have a smoker (more information on the Oklahoma Joe Longhorn Combo here) that’s by far my preferred method. It’s also the method the restaurants that make the best wings in Cincinnati use.
The smoked wings have a great flavor and I can easily char them on the attached grill to finish. Then I just toss them in this delicious homemade hot buffalo wing sauce and VOILA! Yummy wings.
If you don’t have a smoker but would still like to impart some of that flavor, add a couple of drops of liquid smoke to the sauce. If you try that I would bake the wings first so they don’t dry out, then finish on the grill for a minute or two each side to char.
Best Hot Buffalo Wings in Cincinnati
In case you happen to live in Cincinnati or ever decide to visit, here are a few of my favorite places for wings. These are the places I think have the best wings in Cincinnati. If you have your own favorites, be sure to share with us in the comments. Even though I love to cook, sometimes it’s just nice to get hot buffalo wings out.
This place is so amazing that they even made a special sauce for my birthday! That may mean I go there a little too often, but it also means they’re just plain awesome.
My friends know my affinity for spicy food so well that they let the owner know we were coming in for a little birthday celebration and planned to try to burn my face off with spice. Despite their best efforts, I was unfazed. They were hot but not burn my face off hot. And still super delicious as usual. On Wednesday nights, this Mariemont icon makes 10-15 different types of house-made wing sauce. The X-Factor is always spicy excellence, the Blueberry Death is a nice change of pace from the typical hot wing and my personal favorite is the creamy Macchu Pichu, not even particularly hot but a great mix of flavors.
They’ve been around since 1982, starting as a deli then converting to a full-service restaurant and wine shop 1996. The owner remodeled the space in 2017, using none other than our featured contributor Corey Rineair to help with the design. Bonus points for the choice of designer and for being able to pick any wine you want from the bottle shop to enjoy with dinner.
Dilly, by far, for me has the best wings in Cincinnati.
This downtown Cincinnati institution also smokes their wings. Every day, they have 11 different types of wings on the menu. My personal favorite is the XXX. However, as a courtesy to my husband who always goes with me to Nats, we usually go with plain old hot with at a side of the XXX sauce.
I’ve been going to this place for over 20 years (YIKES) and despite having different owners, they’ve always had good wings. I don’t think these are smoked, but they still do a great job with the sauces. The hot isn’t too spicy but has a great flavor and I’m always sure to order a side of creamy habanero ranch to with them.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that O’Bryon’s is in my neighborhood; I can walk there in about 20 minutes. Bonus points to this business for being able to have a low-carb beer or three with my wings and not needing a Lyft or Uber.
The wings at Taft’s Ale house are smoked, and while not particularly spicy they are very flavorful. We use to hit this place once in a while since it was right around the corner from yoga in the park. They also beer-brine the wing, which might explain the moistness and flavor.
While their wings aren’t my favorite now that I have so many other great options, I’ve had a long time love for their Blazin’ sauce. It’s legit.
Best Wings in Cincinnati
Disagree with who has the best wings in Cincinnati? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to go check them out!
And finally, here’s our Basic Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce recipe. Look for our homemade blue cheese dressing coming soon. Enjoy!
Delicious hot buffalo sauce from scratch! Easy and no unhealthy filler oils like the jar buffalo sauce you find in the store.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 medium jalapeno diced
- 1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 small lime juiced
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
Over medium heat in a large saucepan, add half of the butter and melt.
Add garlic and onion, saute for about 3 minutes.
Mix in jalapeno and saute for about 2 minutes.
Add the rest of remaining ingredients except the xanthan gum.
Cook sauce for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
Transfer sauce to a blender or use and immersion blender until sauce is smooth.
Pour sauce back to pan and add xanthan gum. Cook for about 5 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken.
Toss cooked wings in the sauce and enjoy immediately or place wings back in the oven with sauce for about 5 minutes.
Caloric information is for the sauce only, doesn't include the wings. If you're like me, you might put this sauce on anything, not just wings!