Chicken Done Right

How do you make a story about the economics of boneless chicken wings—“an improbable poultry part [that] is showing up on menus” across the country—not only not hopelessly dull, but in fact weird and whimsical and actually kind of delightful?

Well, include lines like this:

Like the tail that wags the dog, the wings are now flapping the chicken.

And this:

But for now, the triumph of wings over breasts has wing partisans celebrating.

And this:

Yet the high price of wings has also accelerated a development that bothers wing purists: that oxymoron dipped in hot sauce, the boneless wing.


For wing-centric restaurants, boneless wings are a way to attract customers who may not like the messiness of wings, which have to be chewed off the bone. And with prices upside down, the boneless wings now act as a hedge, with the lower-cost breast meat offsetting higher wing costs.

But wing lovers sneer.

And then, if you really want to end with a bang, finish with a quote like this:

“If they can figure out how to grow chickens with four wings,” Mr. Scott said, “we’d be in really great shape.”

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.