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FAQs about chicken wings

Many cuts of chicken have names that refer to the part they come from. For example, chicken breasts consist of the breast muscle, while chicken tenders come from the tenderloin, the outer portion of the breast.

Chicken wings are no different, as they come from the wing. If you purchase whole wings, they come in three parts that you can separate easily:
  • Wingtip: The end of the wing is the boniest and least meaty part. Rather than using the wingtip in typical chicken wing recipes, consider using it to flavor homemade stock.
  • Wingette: Known as the flat, the middle of the chicken wing isn't quite the meatiest part. But it still works well with most wing recipes.
  • Drumette: The meatiest part is the drumette, which is the top of the wing.

If you've enjoyed a lot of chicken wings or browsed a number of recipes, you've probably noticed that there are countless ways to prepare these cuts. After all, you can fry, bake, or grill them. You can even smoke wings if you're feeling ambitious. To add flavor, you can add dry rubs or slather on sauces that span a wide range of flavor profiles.

Yet all of these chicken wing recipes have something in common. They all call for one of two types of cuts: the wingette or the drumette. Which is better? Even though these cuts are from adjacent parts of the wings, they're completely different, and both have advantages. The drumette looks a bit like a chicken leg and has a single bone surrounded by plenty of meat. The wingette has more bones and skin, but the added surface area means you can add extra sauce.

Chicken lovers often have a serious dedication to their favorite part or type of meat. Those who prefer dark meat typically go for the thighs and drumsticks, which naturally appear brownish when cooked. In contrast, white meat lovers go for wings and breasts.

Because chicken wings are white meat, they tend to be leaner than dark meat parts like thighs. Although it doesn't necessarily mean wings are healthier, it does mean that they naturally have fewer calories and about two-thirds less fat than dark meat. If you're concerned about fat and calories, be sure to plan the sauces and sides for your chicken wings carefully.