How to Give Your Wing Sauce Deeper Flavour With Browned Butter

How to Give Your Wing Sauce Deeper Flavour With Browned Butter
Photo: AS Food studio, Shutterstock

Whether you plan to Buffalo wings, tots, cauliflower, or tofu puffs this Sunday, there is a high probability that you will be dousing something with the combination of Frank’s and melted butter.

It’s a classic for a reason, and the reason is that it tastes good. I rarely recommend anyone stray from the Frank-approved ratio of 1/3 cup melted butter and 1/2 cup sauce, but I do have a small, subtle, yet very effective tweak.

Yesterday morning, as I was melting the butter for those incredible Buffalo tofu puffs I mentioned, I found myself absentmindedly scrolling through Twitter until the gentle whisper of foaming butter brought me down to Earth and back to my kitchen. “Oh no!” I exclaimed. “I mustn’t let the butter brown.”

Why not, though? Why mustn’t I let the butter brown? Browned butter is good! And the more I thought about, the more I was convinced that I should brown the butter. So I did.

Why should you brown butter?

Browned butter — known to the French as “beurre noisette” — is exactly what it sounds like: Butter that has been cooked until the milk proteins brown. It’s nuttier than melted butter, with an intoxicating aroma and deep, toasted flavour. Browning your butter before you whisk it with Frank’s tempers a bit of the hot sauce’s acidity, giving your wings a slightly roasted vibe. The effect was subtle, but noticeable, especially when I tasted to the two sauces side-by-side. The wing sauce I made with browned butter tasted warmer, deeper, and more inviting.

How to make browned butter Buffalo sauce

Making browned butter Buffalo sauce is easy. Add the butter to a small sauce pan, and cook it over medium heat until it starts to foam. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally until you see little browned bits (separated milk solids) at the bottom of the pan, and it smells pleasantly nutty.

Then, combine the butter and hot sauce like you usually would. Due to browned butter’s separated nature, it takes a little more effort to get the two fully emulsified. If you have any trouble, just chuck it all in a jar and shake it up. Even browned butter is powerless against a good shake.

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