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Recently, a great debate has gripped our nation. No matter which barbecue you attend, the controversy can’t be avoided. Which chicken wing is better: bone-in or boneless?

The stakes are huge. More than Mom and apple pie, American love chicken wings. This past Super Bowl Sunday, Americans consumed a total of nearly 1.4 billion chicken wings. As such, we are assured of the noteworthy feat of being the world’s top consumer of chicken meat. Unfortunately, it’s not easy being number one.

As the “bone-in vs boneless” debate continues to divide our fair nation, we thought it was important to bring you this guide. Here, you can access the facts you need to decide where you stand on this issue

Continue reading to find out the truth behind the great “bone-in vs boneless” chicken wing debate!

Boneless Chicken Wings Are Not Chicken Wings

Let’s have it said to get it out of the way early: boneless chicken wings aren’t actually chicken wings. Sure, they’re made of chicken and taste like chicken, but what you’re swallowing is more marketing than anything else.

Boneless chicken wings have nothing to do with chicken wings. They aren’t chicken wings that have had their bones conveniently removed for your dining pleasure. Rather, boneless chicken wings are made from cut pieces of breast meat that have been reshaped into wing-like pieces. Then, they are battered, fried, and sauced up for your enjoyment. 
All the same, boneless chicken wings are still chicken. But not all chicken is the same. This brings us to our next point… 

Boneless Chicken Wings Are Not Chicken Nuggets

Purists can look down on boneless chicken wings for being many things. And yet, one thing they can not be accused of being is chicken nuggets. That’s because of the key differences that make each of these popular restaurant foods unique.

READ: How to Make Chicken Nuggets

For one,  each food has different ingredients. Boneless chicken wings are made from diced or cubed pieces of chicken breast, whereas chicken nuggets are made from ground breast meat that is shaped into angular shapes. Moreover, chicken nuggets are usually served without sauce, while boneless chicken wings are slathered in sauce.

Due to these differences, each of these foods has its own unique taste and texture that endear them to their fans. And while non-fans may wish to be rid of this newcomer, one thing is for certain…  

Boneless Chicken Wings Are Not Going Away

Whether you love them or hate them, there is one thing you can count on: boneless chicken wings will remain a part of menus in restaurants across the U.S.A.

2017 saw a 6% increase in boneless chicken wing consumption in American eateries. By comparison, bone-in chicken wing consumption has gone down 6% during the same time.

One possible motivation for this change is that boneless chicken wings cost less. Skinless chicken breasts dropped nearly a full dollar per pound in 2020, making this variety much more attractive to restaurant operators. As well, restaurants prefer serving the boneless variety because they are quicker to cook and don’t require a brine or marinade.

READ: How to Avoid Overcooking Chicken

On the other hand, boneless chicken wings have the extra step of breading to make them look more like chicken wings. As such, we need to confront the fact that…

Boneless Chicken Wings Are Healthier/Unhealthier Than Bone-In Chicken Wings

This one is a bit of a toss-up, so bear with us here. Due to their differences, bone-in chicken wings and boneless chicken wings can both be unhealthy for you, but for different reasons.

Boneless chicken wings are much leaner than the bone-in variety; its main ingredient chicken breast has a fat content of 1.25%, compared to the 3.5% of bone-in wings. On the other hand, boneless wings incorporate many more ingredients to help them better emulate their tasty peers. This includes additives like sodium phosphate and transglutaminase, a “meat glue” used to bond proteins together.

Depending on your definition, each food has its disadvantages when it comes to nutrition. However, there is one last possibility that we need to consider…

Boneless Chicken Wings: They’re Real, and They’re Glorious

Any comparison between boneless chicken wings and bone-in chicken wings needs to mention that it is possible to debone a chicken wing. What’s more, this is something that can happen before cooking (as an ingredient) or afterward. Unfortunately, with all the technique/work involved with either method, it’s more than likely that this middle-ground option will remain obscure to most of the public.
All the same, the result is truly the best of both worlds: a chicken wing that has all the taste and texture of a real wing, but none of the hassle of dealing with bones. And with a compromise like that, we can finally put an end to this nasty controversy that has divided our fair nation for far too long.

Bone-In vs Boneless: Conclusion

It’s tough to say which is better when comparing bone-in chicken wings to boneless chicken wings because both are so different from each other. As we see, this is not a case of comparing apples to apples, but more apples to oranges. To that end, it’s best to decide which priorities matter to you when deciding where you stand on the “bone-in vs boneless” debate.

 Are you looking to make your own chicken wings? Be sure your wings have reached an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) by checking with a ThermoPro Lightning One-Second Instant-Read Meat Thermometer! Get yours today from ThermoPro!


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