THE ORIGINAL COPYCAT RECIPES WEBSITE

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    When I first hacked this recipe back in 1997 for the book, Top Secret Restaurant Recipes, Hooters wings looked different than they do today. The chain used to leave the pointy end of the wing attached to the middle piece, or “flat,” which, frankly, is unnecessary because there is very little meat on the tip segment. Today the chain serves wings like everyone else, drumettes and flats, completely separated, and delivered by waitresses in the same bright orange shorts as when the chain started in 1983.

    One thing that wasn't available to me back then was the opportunity to examine the chain’s packaging for the lists of ingredients on signature items like sauces and breading. Today, since they sell these items as retail products, I can take advantage of labelling laws which require ingredients to be clearly listed, and see what really goes into these recipes. Using that new information I’ve made a few small tweaks to improve this recipe from over 20 years ago, including two versions of the kickass wing sauce—medium and hot—for your wing-devouring pleasure.

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    Hooters debuted a new flavor and style of their famous chicken wings in 2013 with the introduction of Daytona Beach Style Wings—naked wings (not breaded) that are fried, sauced and grilled. The new menu item was a sales success, eclipsing the famous buffalo style wings the chain had become known for, and making it imperative that we have a delicious and accurate copycat hack. And now we do.

    To build an identical home version you’ll first need to make a knock-off of the delicious Daytona sauce to brush over the wings. It’s a combination of barbecue sauce and the same cayenne sauce used to coat traditional Buffalo wings, plus a few other important ingredients that make the sauce special (and things you won’t find in other hacks), like Worcestershire sauce and minced jalapenos. The wings are coated, grilled for just a minute on each side, then sauced again for maximum flavor. Stack the napkins close by and get something tall to drink, because these messy wings are guaranteed to deliver a super spicy kick to your food hole.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Select pork, hickory-smoked then hand-pulled, so it's tender and juicy. 'An old Southern delicacy' with our famous vinegar-based bar-b-que sauce. Served with fries, ranch beans and homemade coleslaw."

    Take a big honkin' bite out of one of these and you'll soon know why it's the Hard Rock Cafe's most popular sandwich. The pork is hickory smoked for 10 hours, but since we're impatient hungry people here, we'll cut that cooking time down to under 4 hours using a covered grill and carefully arranged charcoal. Just sprinkle wet hickory chips over the hot charcoal arranged around the inside edge of a grill (such as a round Weber), and let the smoking begin. You can certainly use an actual smoker if you've got one, and go the full 10 hours. You should try to make your cabbage a day ahead of time so it has time to marinate.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.20. Votes: 10

    You probably don't need me to tell you that traditional chicken wings have significant fat and calories. In most cases, the wings are deep-fried in hot oil, the skin is left on the chicken, and then they are smothered in a spicy sauce that is usually around half butter. Good stuff for sure, but sometimes you might want to take a break from the fat. So then, how can we reduce the fat in a clone recipe for what has become one of the most popular chicken wings around without compromising the flavor and everything else that makes the Hooters version so great?

    First of all, we must broil and bake them instead of using the traditional frying method. As the wings broil we keep the skin on so that the meat won't dry out. Once the wings have cooled a little, we take off the skin and replace it with a seasoned breading and a light coating of cooking spray. We bake the wings until they're golden brown, smother them with a spicy wing sauce that's made with a light butter-flavored spread rather than butter, and, voila—a Hooters Buffalo Chicken Wing clone that weighs in at around one-third the fat of the original version. 

    Nutrition Facts:
    Serving size–5 pieces
    Total servings–2
    Calories per serving–210 (Original–471)
    Fat per serving–10g (Original–30g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 9

    Menu Description: "Hearty grains, wholesome oats, almonds and English walnuts."

    Wholesome grains and nuts get it on in this clone for the signature pancakes from the country's largest pancake chain. The whole wheat flour and oats add more flavor, while the nuts pitch in for a crunch in every bite. Take a break from gummy, bland traditional pancakes. Make a breakfast that pacifies your pancake urge, and leaves you feeling peppy.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 16

    With over 150 locations in 24 states, Jamba Juice is one of the top smoothie chains in the country. And yes, these smoothies are big, so rustle up a 24-ounce cup, or get ready to share. Here are the Jamba Juice copycat smoothie recipe clones for six of the favorites from Jamba Juice's big list of fruity smoothies: Banana Berry, Orange-A-Peel (photo), Citrus Squeeze, Cranberry Craze, Peach Pleasure, and Strawberries Wild.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.67. Votes: 3

    Southern California—the birthplace of famous hamburgers from McDonalds, Carls Jr. and In-n-Out Burger—is home to another thriving burger chain that opened its first store in 1952. Lovie Yancey thought up the perfect name for the 1/3 pound burgers she sold at her Los Angeles burger joint: Fatburger. Now with over 41 units in California, Nevada, and moving into Washington and Arizona, Fatburger has become the food critic's favorite, winning "best burger in town" honors with regularity. The secret is the seasoned salt used on a the beef patty. And there's no ketchup on the regular version, just mayo, mustard, and relish. Replace the ground beef with ground turkey and you've just cloned Fatburger's popular Turkeyburger. 

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.33. Votes: 3

    Each entree at this popular barbecue joint is served with one of these delicious, freshly baked corn muffins that I believe is the best I've ever had. They're cakey and perfectly sweet with just the right amount of cornmeal. Some of the secrets to making great corn muffins like these are found in restaurant founder Dave Anderson's cookbook. His recipe for corn muffins includes a small box of yellow cake mix and the addition of stone ground cornmeal. However, I found that the cake mix made the muffins taste too much like yellow cake, so I opted for a completely scratch recipe with elements borrowed from my clone recipe for Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix. And since stone ground cornmeal is difficult to find, we can run regular cornmeal through a food processor for 5 minutes to pulverize many of the granules to powder. After baking 120 muffins over several days and making a few other adjustments to the cookbook recipe, I can now share with you this original Top Secret Recipe that will produce a dozen corn muffins that taste just like the restaurant version.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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