Boneless Chicken Wings Aren't Actually Wings

In America, we are always debating something. Whether it is politics with your cousin or the movie you loved but your partner hated, everyone has an opinion about absolutely everything — and food is no exception. Some of the great, unresolved food debates of our time include such arguments as how or if you should fold a slice of pizza, if you split your Oreos, whether or not you put ketchup on your hotdog, or if it's appropriate to dip fries in a milkshake, per Business Insider. We've even gone so far as to suggest that Pop-Tarts could, in fact, be a type of ravioli. Let that sink in for a moment. 

Regardless of what side you take on any of these issues — if you bother to think about them at all — there is one particular food that provokes a considerable amount of ire. We're speaking, naturally, about boneless chicken wings. 

The reason these poultry morsels ignite so much fury is because a good amount of people view the boneless wing as inherently dishonest. Just watch this YouTube video of Ander Christensen speaking before his city council about why boneless wings should have their name changed. Proof enough? 

The argument is worth considering precisely due to the fact that boneless wings aren't actually wings. They are, for lack of a better term, glorified, sauce-covered chicken nuggets. 

Boney business

Bon Appétit puts it more bluntly, calling boneless chicken wings "little white meat lies." At their core, boneless wings are chunks of breast meat shaped to imitate a chicken wing. The meat is then breaded, deep-fried, and sauced accordingly. Conversely, proper wings have bones and consist of flavorful dark meat and skin.

A chicken's wing has three distinct parts: The drumette, which is the part of the wing that's closest to the chicken's body of the bird, connecting its breast to its wing; The wingette, which is the double-boned flat part of the wing; And the wing tip, which is the pointy end of the wing that's typically discarded due to its lack of meat.

According to the National Chicken Council, an estimated 1.42 billion chicken wings are expected to be consumed during the 2022 Super Bowl. As most order their wings from restaurants, they're likely to get bone-in unless otherwise specified. Sixty percent of restaurants still serve traditional chicken wings, according to Meat and Poultry. And while it's true that boneless wings only came about as a way for restaurants to save money – you can get more meat out of a breast than a wing — there seems to be no reason why they should continued to be called wings. 

Honestly, would it be so hard to re-brand them as chicken nuggets for adults? 

Static Media owns and operates Tasting Table and The Daily Meal.