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Buffalo wings: flats or drums?


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I always thought it was catch-as-catch-can in the wing lottery. But recently, while waiting at a wings place for a cheesesteak (somewhere in eG Forums, there's an axiom about how the best thing on the menu is often something other than what a restaurant is known for; it's true at this place), I noticed that you could get all flats or all drums for a small upcharge. Now that I've taken notice, I see this all the time: a buck an order, or a flat percentage (5% seems most common) gets you your choice of parts.

Let's talk about the relative merits of the cuts -- but most importantly, let's weigh in on our preferences: meaty drummette or succulent forearm?

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Thanks for the terminology: flats!

We are seriously partial to flats at our house. I prefer them because they don't have that cartilage/tendon issue that drumsticks have going on. Also, they're just plain fun to eat -- getting that little strip of meat from in between the two bones is my favorite part.

I just asked my son why he prefers flats, and he says "because they are so darn tender." Yeah, that too.

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I prefer the flats, but then I don't use them for buffalo wings. I use a method I learned in school this year where you force the two bones apart and pull out the smaller bone. This allows you to "wrap" the meat around the end of the larger bone and make lollipopos out of them. "The Perfectoinist" refers to Bernard Loiseau doing the same and it's where I first heard about it. I save them in the freezer until I have enough and then use them as hors d'oeuvres.

Bryan C. Andregg

"Give us an old, black man singing the blues and some beer. I'll provide the BBQ."

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Flats. But, then again, I also love fried chicken backs.

No question about either of these items. It's all about the crispy skin to meat ratio. Don't get me wrong, I guess I like chicken, but crispy chicken skin wins out over the meat every day. (and the drummies are too redolent that white meat stuff.)

Edited to add: My grandmother always said the purpose of eating chicken was the skin. She's right.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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and all this time I had been telling my husband he was weird for preferring the flats... I don't use the flats in any of my cooking drumettes only!

It always worked out perfectly though when we would eat buffalo wings in restaurants because I would but a good fight with anyone who tried take my drumettes.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I thought they were called the clothespins, myself.

Both parts have their merits- I find the drumettes easier to eat, actually, (especially one-handed) but the meat to skin ratio is higher and therefore less spicy than the flats when consuming buffalo wings. If I had to choose I suppose I'd choose the flats on that aspect alone, but, heck, I honestly have no problem with mixing it up either.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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Drums. Drums. Drums. More Drums. They're like, well, I guess they are, sort of, like little tiny chicken legs. Delicious, tiny chicken legs.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I'm agnostic on the question.

The drums are easier to eat, but the flats are tastier. Not to mention that if you work the flats right, you get two opportunities to dip 'em in the blue cheese dip, as opposed to just one pass for the drums.

On second thought, put me in the flats column too.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I'm agnostic on the question.

The drums are easier to eat, but the flats are tastier.  Not to mention that if you work the flats right, you get two opportunities to dip 'em in the blue cheese dip, as opposed to just one pass for the drums.

On second thought, put me in the flats column too.

Double dipping! For shame.

I'm agnostic on this one. As long as there's still some in the clamshell, I'm happy as a clam.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Good grief, you mean that if I eat at some places I might someday have to choose? Gack, I can't. It goes back to my childhood, when I always had to eat the broken cookies and such. I just felt sorry for them. I also rotated my stuffed animal collection every day, one to the left. To be fair, you know. Ack, I'm sicker than the doctors know. I admit it. That said, I really like the tips of the wings. Shh, don't tell them. Darn! Now I'll have to eat every part for weeks, just to play fair. :huh:

Edited by Rebecca263 (log)

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It goes back to my childhood, when I always had to eat the broken cookies and such. I just felt sorry for them. I also rotated my stuffed animal collection every day, one to the left. To be fair, you know. Ack, I'm sicker than the doctors know.

Rebecca, I totally understand. But the broken cookies have no calories (just like chips!), and the animals need a change of scenery.

For practical purposes, the drums are easier to eat, esp. if covered in any type of sauce, but my order of preference is: tips, flats, then drums.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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Good grief, you mean that if I eat at some places I might someday have to choose? Gack, I can't. It goes back to my childhood, when I always had to eat the broken cookies and such. I just felt sorry for them. I also rotated my stuffed animal collection every day, one to the left. To be fair, you know. Ack, I'm sicker than the doctors know. I admit it. That said, I really like the tips of the wings. Shh, don't ell them. Darn! Now I'll have to eat every part for weeks, just to play fair. :huh:

Oh my Lord! I thought I was the only one! I went one step further as a child tho...if I put something on and then changed my mind, I would apologize to the discarded outfit and promise to wear it the next day.

I'm a flats lover. I bite off the little piece of cartlidge at one end, grip the little piece of cartlidge at the other end, twist and pull out both bones, run it through the sauce and scarf it down.

And now I have to have wings for lunch.

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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I'm agnostic on the question.

The drums are easier to eat, but the flats are tastier.  Not to mention that if you work the flats right, you get two opportunities to dip 'em in the blue cheese dip, as opposed to just one pass for the drums.

On second thought, put me in the flats column too.

Double dipping! For shame.

I'm agnostic on this one. As long as there's still some in the clamshell, I'm happy as a clam.

Sorry, another double dipper here. Although I do reserve the blue cheese on my own plate for my own eating pleasure.

Flats. And the eating method is to dip, insert the dipped end in the mouth, bite down, and scrape the whole half off the bone in one motion with the teeth, chew. Use the bare bone for the second dip, and repeat.

Any little bits left are delightful little "monkey picking" material.

I've always been a very tactile eater, and have an oral gratification issue as well.

:biggrin:

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Drums here. Luckily the people I usually eat wings with like the flats. Works out well for me.

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Flats! Totally! But I, like some of the others piping in, pretty much only eat chicken for the skin and bones. I hate how snipping off the wing tip is supposed to be the refined way to make wings when it's my favorite part of the wing!

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In most Buffalo-style preparations, the crispy-skin superiority of the flat is compromised by over-saucing, macho-heat-level glazes, or both. This is especially true when you get wings at a restaurant.

So while in a straighforward joint-to-joint comparison (say, both roasted plain) it's clear to me that flats win. But in the context we're using, it's a much more difficult comparison. Unless you're in a really good wing joint or you're making them yourself, it's down to meat of the drum vs. the gelatin of the flat, when it comes to pure sense experience.

But then, the flat is so much more fun to eat.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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