Opinion: Why Boneless Chicken Wings Are a Scam


Photo courtesy of foodnetwork.com

Throughout my entire life, I’ve lived on a diet of mostly sugars, fats, carbs, and all sorts of other poisons I could do without. A cartoonish pie-chart of my stomach would show that it’s filled with roughly 40% pizza, 30% bread, 15% cheese, 5% candy, and 10% chicken. 

While I do greatly enjoy pizzas, breads, cheeses, and candies, it’s chicken that is easily the most intriguing of them all. This is because chicken serves as an amazing blank canvas for many unique creations in the kitchen, such as fried chicken, chicken tenders, bone-in chicken wings, and many more. Notice how I refer to them “bone-in” chicken wings.

Growing up, I’ve been served some amazing chicken wings. Whether it’d be how it was sauced or how the wings were cooked, chicken wings were and still a key staple of my diet. But what every wing I’ve ever consumed had in common was that the chicken wing contained a bone. So when I see children in restaurants order boneless wings, I can’t help but think of how weak the up-and-coming generations have become. They’re growing up not knowing how to rip the bones out of the chicken or how to eat around them. The younger generation is being softened and condescended by large corporations who cook, freeze, and package the abominations we call boneless wings.

Now you may be asking at this point why I despise boneless wings with such a hateful, burning passion and hate them more than most other people would. Simply put, I hate them for reasons that most people overlook. You may see them as just basic or even petty observations, but I can assure you that they are much more than that.

We can begin by simply observing the boneless wing itself. If I were to put a plate of boneless chicken wings in front of you, there would be a good chance that you would refer to them as either chicken nuggets or chicken tenders rather than “boneless chicken wings.” And that’s a major part of the boneless wing scam; they’re just chicken tenders cut up into smaller pieces and repackaged and sold as these so-called “boneless wings”. If that doesn’t scream “rip-off” to you, don’t expect me to feel bad when you’re entangled in one of your colleague’s Pyramid Schemes. 

In addition to the sheer laziness of its creation, I can refer back to a point I made prior: boneless wings are weakening future generations. Because of the popularity of boneless wings amongst young children, we have more or less taught them to be afraid of the chicken bone which is, of course, where the chicken comes from to begin with. This is like if we conditioned our kids to only wear mixed fabrics rather than wear 100% cotton or wool. It’s because of boneless wings that our children won’t grow up with the necessary skills for when they move on to eating foods that require a little bit more effort, such as pistachios. 

And now we come to the name itself: boneless wings. Now we’ve already established that boneless “wings” are just chicken tenders sliced into smaller pieces. That said, why is it necessary to shoehorn the word “boneless” into the name? I don’t go to a pizzeria and ask for a boneless pizza, and I don’t go to Chipotle and ask for a boneless burrito. It’s what’s to be expected when I order bite-sized chicken tenders.

As much as boneless wings are a culinary Lovecraftian abomination, the unfortunate reality is that they will simply never just fall off the face of the Earth. So the alternative would have to rename and rebrand them. I’m sure the marketing departments at Buffalo Wild Wings, Wing Stop, and Applebee’s have the brain capacity and creativity to come up with a new name to replace the boneless handle. In fact, you can go the route I went and refer to them as something like “Bite-Sized Tenders.” Whatever the case may be, the name “boneless wings” needs to go. 

Regardless of your opinion on boneless wings, beneath the surface lies one big marketing scam to make a quick buck while cheapening the art of the chicken wing. Not only is it taking our money away from us, but it is also making us and our children softer with every bite we take. And while they (unfortunately) will be around for years to come, all someone like me can do is spread awareness and get it out there that we must shun these vile nuggets and return to a more traditional, more real chicken wing (bone-in of course).