Chicken Wings Vs. Wingettes: What's The Difference?

Chicken wings have become a game day snack staple across America. The National Chicken Council says Americans consume more than a billion of them on Super Bowl Sunday alone. Whether dry-rubbed, doused in barbecue sauce, or served up classic Buffalo style, there's not much to consider when digging into a pile of wings other than where the closest napkins might be. But as it turns out, there's a whole lot more to a chicken wing than being a vessel for your favorite sauce.

You may not know this, but when you're digging into a basket of wings, you're not even really eating true chicken wings. You're actually eating wingettes (and maybe some drumettes, too). So what's the difference?

Whole chicken wings are actually composed of three parts: the drumette, the flat or wingette, and the tip. As The Kitchn explains, The drumettes are the part of the wing that is attached to the rest of the chicken. They look like miniature versions of chicken drumsticks (or legs), hence their name. The wingettes are specifically the middle part of a chicken wing, also known as the flat because of their shape, and consist of two thin parallel bones and dark meat. Finally, the small pointy ends of the wing are called the tips. They're mostly skin, bone, and cartilage. You can sometimes find whole chicken wings in the grocery store, but The Spruce Eats notes it's a lot more common nowadays to find packages of pre-split wingettes and drumettes. 

So what's the best part of the chicken wing?

Just like the annual white versus dark meat debate that happens around many a Thanksgiving table, there's heated debate over the best part of a chicken wing: the drumette or the wingette. Wingette or flat lovers argue they are easier to eat and have the most crispy skin. Die-hard drumette fans say they have the most flavor, plus, as one fan told Thrillist, "you can eat them with one hand while holding your beer." 

The one thing no one is arguing is that the tips aren't worth your time, because there's hardly any meat on them. But you might want to think twice before tossing them. Wing tips may not be great for snacking on, but they do pack a ton of flavor (via Feast). If you want to think like a chef, next you buy whole chicken wings, save the tips to use later in homemade chicken stock or soup.