The humble chicken wingettes, often the star of game day spreads and late-night snack trays, are so much more than a vehicle for your favorite sauce.
Whether you’re a food enthusiast, a budding chef, or just curious about these beloved snacks, We hope you’ll be much more educated about chicken wingette by the end of this interesting blog post!
So, let’s delve into the rich and flavorful world of chicken wingettes.
What are Chicken Wingettes?
Chicken wings are typically divided into three parts: the drumette, the wingette (also known as the flat), and the tip.
The drumette is part of the wing closest to the chicken’s body. It’s called a drumette because it’s shaped like a small drumstick, the leg portion of the chicken.
The wingette, or flat, is the middle portion of the wing. It has two bones and is flatter than the drumette. The wingette is often considered more flavorful because of the presence of more bone and connective tissue, which can contribute to a better texture and taste when cooked properly.
The tip isn’t typically eaten; instead, it’s usually discarded or used to make chicken stock due to its high concentration of bone and cartilage.
At a restaurant, you usually get a combination of drums and wingettes. But, if you love wingettes, particularly, you can get them alone after research or buy yourself whole wings and separate wingettes from them.
Chicken Wingette vs. Wing Drum: What’s the Difference?
Chicken wings are typically divided into three parts: the wingette (also known as the wingette or flat), the drumette, and the wing tip. The main difference between the wingette and the drumette lies in their shape and the amount of meat they contain.
The wingette is the middle section of the chicken wing, between the drumette and the wing tip. The wingette contains two small, parallel bones with a higher ratio of skin to meat. It has a tender and juicy texture and is often preferred by those who enjoy more flavorful and moist meat.
The drumette is the upper section of the chicken wing, closer to the body of the chicken. It resembles a small drumstick and contains a single bone. The drumette has a higher meat-to-skin ratio compared to the wingette. It is slightly meatier and often considered easier to eat due to its single-bone structure.
A Word about the History of Chicken Wingettes
The origin of the chicken wingette is a fascinating tale. The history of chicken wingettes is tied to the history of chicken wings as a whole, as wingettes are a part of the entire wing.
Historically, chicken wings were not considered a choice cut of meat in Western cooking. They were often used to make stock or were simply discarded. However, this changed in 1964 in Buffalo, New York, where the chicken wing — and by extension, the wingette — gained culinary fame.
Teressa Bellissimo, co-owner of the Anchor Bar, is credited with the invention of the Buffalo wing. As the story goes, Bellissimo’s son and his friends arrived at the bar late one night, and she needed to quickly create a snack from the ingredients she had on hand. She decided to deep-fry the chicken wings (which would have otherwise been used for stock), toss them in cayenne pepper hot sauce, and serve them with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.
The dish was a hit and soon gained local popularity before catching on nationwide. In the years since, chicken wings have become a staple of American cuisine, especially popular during sporting events like the Super Bowl.
The wingette, the flat segment of the wing between the tip and the drumette, is often preferred over the drumette due to the following:
- Its higher skin-to-meat ratio allows it to get extra crispy when cooked;
- And a more creamy flavor because of the cartilage.
- Easier to dip in sauces
So, in essence, the history of the chicken wingette is a testament to innovation, making the most of available resources, and the powerful influence of local food trends on national or even global cuisine.
Few More Things to Know about Chicken Wingettes
Small and flat parts of chicken wings, the chicken wingettes or “flats,” are absolutely delicious. Yet, there is much more to know about health friendliness and popularity.
1. Chicken Wingettes are Great for Keto and other “High Protein” Diets.
Chicken wingettes are a good source of protein, providing around 9 grams per wingette. And, when eaten with the skin, they also help you consume more fat on the Keto diet.
They also contain important minerals like selenium and phosphorus. Below is a detailed comparison of chicken wingettes’ nutritional value (skinless, with skin).
Nutritional Value of chicken wingettes with skin
100 grams of 3.5 Oz of chicken wings with skin have:
- Calories: 165
- Fat: 3.6 grams
- Saturated Fat: 0.8 grams
- Cholesterol: 72 milligrams
- Sodium: 68 milligrams
- Carbohydrates: 0 grams
- Dietary Fiber: 0 grams
- Sugars: 0 grams
- Protein: 31 grams
Nutritional Value of chicken wingettes without skin
100 grams of 3.5 Oz of chicken wings without skin have:
- Calories: 120
- Protein: 25 grams
- Total Fat: 2.5 grams
- Saturated Fat: 0.7 grams
- Cholesterol: 75 milligrams
- 70-80 milligrams
- Carbohydrates: 0 grams
- Dietary Fiber: 0 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
Note: Indeed, chicken wingettes are a rich source of protein. Yet, please be mindful of your consumption, as they can also be high in saturated fats and cholesterol, especially when fried or coated with certain sauces.
2. Chicken Wingettes are Highly Versatile!
Chicken wingettes are incredibly versatile. While the Buffalo Wings is arguably the most famous preparation, cultures worldwide have unique and delicious ways of preparing wingettes.
In Korea, they’re often double-fried for extra crunch and then coated in a sweet-spicy glaze. Caribbean jerk chicken wings are marinated in a fiery, flavorful mix before being perfectly grilled.
Chicken flats or wingettes are incredibly versatile and can be prepared in a myriad of ways across a variety of cuisines, like:
- Fried: This is perhaps the most common method of cooking wingettes, especially in Western cuisine. They can be breaded or left as is, then deep-fried until crispy.
- Baked or Roasted: Baking or roasting wingettes is a healthier alternative to frying. They can be seasoned or marinated before being roasted in the oven.
- Grilled: Grilling adds a delicious smoky flavor to the wingettes. They can be marinated beforehand or basted with sauce during grilling.
- Sautéed or Stir-fried: Wingettes can also be sautéed or stir-fried, often with vegetables or other ingredients.
- Smoked: Smoking wingettes give them a deep, smoky flavor that pairs well with many types of sauce or spice rubs.
- Slow-Cooked: Slow-cooking wingettes can make them incredibly tender and allows for deep flavor development.
- Braised: Braising is a method that involves slow-cooking the wingettes in a small amount of liquid, resulting in tender, flavorful meat.
Moreover, wingettes can be flavored with a number of seasonings, marinades, and sauces. The possibilities are endless, from spicy Buffalo sauce to sweet and sticky barbecue sauce, savory teriyaki, tangy lemon pepper, or even dry spice rubs.
3. Chicken Wingettes Are Extremely Popular in American Cuisine!
Chicken wingettes are an integral part of American sports culture. They’re the 6th most popular meat cuts. Wingettes have also found their way into popular media, from appearances in sitcoms and movies to being a topic of debate in podcasts and talk shows.
Here are a few reasons why they’re so loved:
Chicken wingettes can be prepared in several ways, from baking, grilling, and smoking, to broiling, and they pair well with a wide variety of sauces and seasonings. This versatility makes them a go-to choice for many home cooks and professional chefs.
Historically, chicken wings have been one of the less desirable chicken cuts, making them inexpensive. While their popularity has driven prices up somewhat, they’re still often more affordable than other cuts of meat.
The creation of the Buffalo wing in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, significantly impacted the popularity of chicken wings and wingettes–we’ve discussed it previously.
Popularity During Sporting Events
Chicken wings, including wingettes, are a popular food for sporting events. They’re often served at Super Bowl parties, tailgating events, and sports bars. The National Chicken Council reported Americans ate about 1.4 billion chicken wings during the Super Bowl weekend in 2020.
Source of good revenue for restaurant and fast food chains
The rise of restaurants and fast food chains specializing in chicken wings, like Buffalo Wild Wings and Wingstop, has also contributed to the popularity of wingettes. These restaurants often offer a wide variety of sauces and seasonings, which has helped make wingettes a favorite among many Americans.
In summary, chicken wingettes have become a staple of American cuisine for several reasons, largely due to their versatility, affordability, and the influence of popular culture.
4. The business of chicken wingettes has flourished the poultry industry.
Chicken wingettes play a significant role in the poultry industry. They’ve become a profitable segment with their popularity, often commanding higher prices per pound than other chicken cuts. They’ve given rise to successful businesses like Buffalo Wild Wings and Wingstop. However, sustainability and ethical farming practices are increasingly important considerations as consumers become more conscientious about their food sources.
Chicken wings have traditionally performed well in the food industry, which continued during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, chicken wings experienced double-digit growth during the pandemic as people turned to comfort food and takeout options.
Here are some stats from the American Chicken Council that show how well chicken wings have performed during the pandemic:
- In 2020, U.S. retail sales of chicken wings swelled to 10.3%, which is almost $3 billion.
- The sales of in-store frozen wings boosted by over 37%.
- Despite an 11% decline in trips to commercial restaurants during the pandemic, chicken wings sales increased by 7% in 2020.
Likewise, the recent stats for 2023 shared by the American Chicken Council after the final week of Big Game Super Bowl LVII weekend show that:
- Americans ate 1.45 billion chicken wings during Super Bowl LVII weekend–it was record-breaking.
Chicken wings have performed so well during the pandemic for a few reasons.
- First, wings are a convenient food that can be easily cooked at home or ordered for takeout.
- Second, wings are a relatively affordable option, which is important for people who are watching their spending during the pandemic.
- Third, wings are comfort food that people often crave when they are stressed or feeling down.
- Finally, wings are “love food.” They’re shared among 2 groups.
Hence, with their convenience, affordability, and comfort factor, wings perfectly fit the current dining landscape.
A Few More Fun and Surprising Facts about Chicken Wingettes
Here are a few more fun facts about wingettes:
1. Origin of the Term “Flat.”
The term “flat” refers to the middle portion of the chicken wing. It gets its name from its flat, elongated shape compared to the drumette and tip.
2. Chicken Wing Eating Competitions
Chicken wing-eating competitions have gained popularity in recent years. Professional eaters compete to see who can consume the most wings within a given time.
Did you know that the world record for eating chicken wings is held by Joey Chestnut, who devoured 444 wings in just 30 minutes during the 2015 Wing Bowl?
Or that there’s an annual National Chicken Wing Day, celebrated on July 29th, to honor our love for this tasty treat?
3. Buffalo Wing Festival
The Buffalo Wing Festival is an annual event held in Buffalo, New York, the birthplace of the Buffalo Wing. This festival celebrates all things related to chicken wings, including flats, with various vendors offering creative flavors and styles.
The chicken wingette is more than just a delicious bite; it’s a cultural phenomenon, a business powerhouse, and a culinary superstar. So, the next time you enjoy a plate of these, remember there’s a world of history, culture, and flavor packed into every wingette.
We’d love to hear from you! Do you have a favorite wingette recipe or an interesting story related to chicken wingettes?
Feel free to share in the comments section below. And if you have any questions or need more information, don’t hesitate to ask. Let’s continue to explore the wonderful world of chicken wingettes together!