With temperatures dropping and the Super Bowl right around the corner, carnivores across the country are turning their attention to one of the most indulgent, fan-friendly, and popular snack foods in the country: wings, and Buffalo wings in particular.
As recently as 50 years ago, chicken wings were commonly used only in stock preparation, or were simply thrown away. They’re bony, fatty, and otherwise unimpressive when compared to the other, more useful chicken parts. But as the story goes, one day in the 1960s, the owners of Buffalo, N.Y.’s Anchor Bar decided to deep-fry some wings, then douse them in a combination of hot sauce and butter, and a national institution was born.
Their all-American status, ease of preparation, and the fact that they happen to go along very nicely with beer led to a massive surge in wings' popularity, and now you’d be hard pressed to find a bar that doesn’t serve the snack (even those without a food menu sometimes ply their customers with free wings).
One other type of establishment where wings are often on the menu? Chain restaurants.
With the unofficial National Wing Day (aka the Super Bowl) coming up, bellies across the country are gearing up to devour mountains of flats and drumettes (the technical name of the two wing sections). And we all know that once the craving for wings sets in, it sticks around until that craving is satisfied.
We here at The Daily Meal decided to help you keep some cash in your wallet the next time the urge strikes, and have taken it upon ourselves to do some investigation into which national chains will serve you the most wings for the least amount of money.
We reached some interesting conclusions: for one, thanks to competition, most chains’ wings are reasonably priced, and none overcharge outrageously (save for one). While some, like Cheesecake Factory, sell wings according to weight, most sell by quantity. And while most serve a set number per order, others, like Buffalo Wild Wings and KFC, allow you to add onto your order in intervals of five or six. Several chains sell boneless wings, but for our survey we decided to stick with the authentic bone-in variety, and calculated the price-per-wing based on the standard order of nine, 10, or 12, depending on the chain.
So read on, wing lovers, to discover which chain will provide the most wing for your buck!
Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers.