There is much debate about whether or not boneless chicken wings are real chicken wings. Die-hard wing fans will argue that boneless chicken wings are just small chicken tenders, while at the same time a study from hospitality research firm GuestMetrics shows that boneless chicken wings are getting increasingly popular. Boneless wings were responsible for 81 percent of the growth in sales of chicken wings in 2012, which means the boneless fan base is steadily growing.
Boneless vs. “Bone In” Showdown
The debate has even gone as far as to create a boneless vs. ‘bone in’ showdown where the main differences seemed to be traditional chicken vs. convenience. The main argument for keeping the bone in the wing is that it looks like a chicken, thereby making it better and more traditional. The boneless chicken wing is more questionable looking, you can’t tell what it is just by looking at it and the visual appeal comes mostly from what sauce it is covered in. But still, as with many American foods, convenience makes this boneless type popular amongst people who ever strive for things to be made easier for them.
More Bang for Your Wing
Another argument for the boneless wing is that you get more bang for your wing. For every wing you buy you have more meat than on a traditional wing. However, boneless wings also tend to be a bit pricier by the pound than traditional wings if you are buying them at the grocery store.
Are They Even Wings?
The question is should we really be comparing these two wings in the first place? Boneless chicken wings are largely made out of “breast” meat. So perhaps the better word for these new boneless wings should just be buffalo tenders. Boneless chicken wings are basically just chicken tenders that come with the sauce already smothered on them, so you don’t have to dip them yourself.
Lose the Bone, Lose the Taste?
Many traditional wing fans complain that boneless wings are ruining the purpose of a chicken wing. The main distinction and one of the best parts about a chicken wing is that a small amount of meat was cooked on the bone, so it tastes different than breast meat. If you lose the bone, you lose the taste. It makes sense that boneless wings would require a lot more sauce, because they don’t have the same taste as a traditional wing cooked with the bone.
Convenient Meats of Modern Times
Like most convenient meats of modern times, boneless chicken wings are made of processed meat that is probably not what many traditional wing in lovers are looking for. But many of the fans of the boneless wing are probably drifting over from eating chicken nuggets rather than traditional wings in the first place. And to show for it, even McDonald’s has started serving the mock “boneless wing”.
So traditional wing lovers, fear not. The rise of the boneless wing will not mean the disappearance of the traditional wing. The chicken nugget probably has more to fear from the boneless wing than the traditional chicken wing.
Sammy Jo writes for Willie’s Pub & Pool, a sports bar and grill serving up some of the best wings Columbia MO has to offer!