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The Right Way to Eat Wings

Monday, January 27, 2014

This Sunday during the Super Bowl, people across the country will once again be taking sides. Factions will face off. A rivalry will be renewed. And there will be carnage.

Of course I’m talking about chicken wings, and the longstanding debate over which part of the wing is better—the mini-drumstick, or the piece with two parallel bones, often called the flat.

For many years, when a plate of wings arrived before me, I’d reach quickly and decisively for a mini-drumstick (or drumette), because they seemed easier to eat. I didn’t have the patience to pry the last vestige of meat from between the two bones of the flat, a pursuit that could hardly demand more work for less reward.

I’d even hope other people would grab the flats without noticing what they were doing, leaving more drumettes for me. I thought anyone who did so was a sucker. Until I realized the joke was on me.

It turns out the flats are vastly superior in every way that matters. They have a higher meat-to-bone ratio and higher fat-to-meat ratio than the drumettes, meaning their composition is more edible and their meat is more tender and succulent. And once you know how to eat them, the flats are no challenge at all.

The simplest approach is to separate the two bones with a move I call the Divide and Conquer. Hold the flat with one hand while using the other hand to separate one of the joints and remove one bone completely. You now have unfettered access to deliciousness.

Watch: You're Eating it Wrong - Chicken Wings

But that’s not the only option. In the above video from my Cooking Channel web series You’re Eating It Wrong, competitive eater Crazy Legs Conti demonstrates two other techniques, the Bone Splitter and the Meat Umbrella, the latter of which will have you praying for rain.

So which do you prefer—the drumettes or the flats, and why? And what’s your favorite technique for getting the most meat from your wings?

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Comments [1]

daniel from NYC

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Since I went to college in Buffalo in the 70's (way before wings spread across the country) I can tell you that your technique is way off. First, we never use two hands to eat wings. Since Buffalo Wings are spicy, you always need one clean hand to rub your eyes. Second, you grab a flat wing by the end joint, stick it in your mouth up to your fingers, chomp down and pull. If the wings are done right, the whole bird will separate from the bone. While your chewing it down, your grabbing for another. Drumstick wings use the same technique except you may need two bites. Third, you never dip the wings in the dressing. The carrots, celery and blue cheese dressing are used as a fire extinguisher for cutting the heat after it explodes in your mouth.

Next up, beef on weck.

Jan. 28 2014 01:47 PM

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