Food & Drink

Best Retail Chicken Wings

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Aug 31, 2012
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Scarborough

Best Retail Chicken Wings

I bought a box of Schneider's Smokey Texas BBQ frozen wings last week on sale at NoFrills for $6.99. Delicious, even before I sauced them up. No globs of fatty skin making the wings taste cheap. 12 wings in my box. Better value for my money and taste than 15 wings I bought a few days later at a pub for $13.40 ($0.79/wing for take-out, $0.59/wing for dine-in)

Which store-bought wings, fresh or frozen, do you find meet or surpass the taste of average-tasting restaurant chicken wings?
Store
Brand (and flavour)
Regular/sale price
Last edited by Karmella on Jul 22nd, 2020 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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This is easy, hands down Sunchef Grilled Chicken Wings from costco. they have a nice grilled taste, we eat them straight up, no sauce... the sweet/hot sauce is pretty good though.
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Karmella wrote: Which store-bought wings, fresh or frozen, do you find meet or surpass the taste of average restaurant chicken wings?
I'm going to take "average" as in an average wing, not an average restaurant that may have terrible wings.

With that said, I would say nothing.

There literally isn't a frozen wing I've ever tasted that's been any good and I've tried most of them.
This includes institutional frozen wings that some restaurants use.
The worst part about retail frozen wings is that the weight includes sauces. A quick google of the wings you listed in your post say 750g. A review said that this included 11 wings. That's an AWFUL price at $7.
Cheaper than a restaurant, but unless you go to a bar that has a wing special, you can't compare restaurant prices to something you cook at home.
Besides... Wings is literally the one thing that quite a lot of places ARE cheap for. I pay $0.70 at the high end for wings. Low end is more like $0.25. I can go lower, but quality starts to suffer. $0.50 is about the sweet spot, with $0.70 being my favorite because they're abnormally large.


Fresh... the only way you're getting close to restaurant wings is by using raw fresh unseasoned wings and deep frying them.
There's a few hacks like where you can air dry or steam or whatever before ovening, but they're still not nearly as good as deep frying.
Forget about "air frying" because that's just baking but with more air. The texture isn't right. They'll still cook obviously but they won't be nearly as good as a properly fried wing.

Back to cost for a second, cooking wings at home costs around $5-6/lb after factoring in sauces and cooking oil.

Source: I eat a lot of wings.
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Nov 25, 2012
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Toronto
We sometimes buy Pinty from Costco. Noticed that wings are smaller than last year.

We buy Costco wings and season it ourself. More wings that way.
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lolobutt wrote: We sometimes buy Pinty from Costco. Noticed that wings are smaller than last year.

We buy Costco wings and season it ourself. More wings that way.
+1 for Costco wings, they are already split, trimmed and ready to cook. I sprinkle them with a mix of 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound, mix and spread on a sheet tray in the fridge for an hour. Deep fry, sauce or sprinkle with a seasoning mix of salt/fresh ground pepper/ powdered chili pepper. Skip or adjust chili to taste.

BTW, the used oil is done with and sent to the recycling bin. We keep oil used for fries for the wings. 4 to 5 batches of fries, 1 batch of wings.
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Costco, fresh wings. Always.
That's my 2cents worth
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Mar 18, 2015
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My vote is for none, they're all bad.
Pinty's being one of the worst. Tiny wings covered in gobs of breading for weight and size, and a half box of crappy sauce included in the weight.

Cook as my0gr81 but use potato starch instead of baking soda.

Wings at superstore this week are on for $2.98 a pound. Asian stores have wings for $1.00- $1.50 a pound but they are tiny.
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For something different, try Grace Jerk Chicken wings.
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There’s a frozen chicken wing restaurant supplier called Poppa G’s in Richmond Hill that you can buy direct from. They have like 4 basic flavours for $4/lb or $5/lb for boneless (actual de-boned wings and not nuggets). Pretty decent for the price and best of all no sauce packets. Only open Monday to Friday though.
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my0gr81 wrote: 1 batch of wings.
WTF? ONE batch of wings? Unless that one batch is like 300 wings you change your oil FAR too often.
For a residential sized fryer I do 10 without filtering and probably 20 with.
PigsRTastey wrote:
Pinty's being one of the worst.
+1
They taste weird too.

Asian stores have wings for $1.00- $1.50 a pound but they are tiny.
I hate Asian stores because they pull fast ones sometimes.
I bought some $1/lb wings thinking how bad could they be.
The first sign should have been the difficulty in splitting. The short of it was they were OLD. Not unfresh, but age wise so they were tough as nails.
100% inedible as wings but would have made a wonderful stock.
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Keelie wrote: Costco, fresh wings. Always.
$4 off this week, will be stocking up
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death_hawk wrote: Fresh... the only way you're getting close to restaurant wings is by using raw fresh unseasoned wings and deep frying them.
Also worth noting it's a hell of a lot faster to preheat a deep fryer then deep fry wings (which doesn't take long at all) vs preheating your oven and then putting that frozen Pintys crap in there for half an hour or more.

Totally agree -- fresh unseasoned wings, deep fry, drain, toss with sauce of choice, eat. Done.

The frozen kind usually have that gross breading on them AND sauce which turns into a nasty slime. If the wings are getting sauced, they should not be breaded.
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Agree with @death_hawk's assessment on it.

I've tried a bunch of the usual suspects only when they went on sale of course like Janes, Schneiders, Flamingo/Olymel, etc. They were all meh, very bad at times and not smelling good, like they had gone bad.

Pinty's looks much worse as it is more expensive and they load into the box like 3 separate useless frozen sauce packs.

The only half decent ones I tried back in the day was over a couple of decades back with M&M's Louisiana Crunch spicy wings. Though M&M's menu is sure as hell expensive these days. Even with their so-called weekly sales, they're still quite expensive.
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death_hawk wrote: WTF? ONE batch of wings? Unless that one batch is like 300 wings you change your oil FAR too often.
For a residential sized fryer I do 10 without filtering and probably 20 with.

...
We are talking residential fryer, oil was already used to blanch / crisp about 5 batches of Fresh cut fries and then used for wings (2kg, average Costco pkg). By then, the fryer needs cleaning, and the oil has burned residues of bicarbonate and salt in it. It just smells gross, it goes.
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As most people know around here, I like Costco, but in this case I'm not a huge of their fresh wings.
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with them, but they're on the small side.

EastGTARedFlagger wrote: Also worth noting it's a hell of a lot faster to preheat a deep fryer then deep fry wings (which doesn't take long at all) vs preheating your oven and then putting that frozen Pintys crap in there for half an hour or more.
An air oven I think is actually faster than a fryer from cold, but you're still reheating nasty wings compared to cooking good wings from scratch.
It's not even that much faster either.

If the wings are getting sauced, they should not be breaded.
Even though I'm usually on the forefront of authentic, I don't mind breaded and sauced wings.
This is where a fryer really shines too. You can still get a tiny bit of crispness even under a sauced wing, something that isn't possible with any other cooking method.
my0gr81 wrote: We are talking residential fryer, oil was already used to blanch / crisp about 5 batches of Fresh cut fries and then used for wings (2kg, average Costco pkg). By then, the fryer needs cleaning, and the oil has burned residues of bicarbonate and salt in it. It just smells gross, it goes.
Oh I was talking about at home.
Granted... I push my oil kind of far sometimes, but I can still get at least 5 batches of chicken out of it with okay oil. My 10 benchmark was pushing it.
This is also dredged wings. If it's naked wings I can get WAY more.
Flour kills oil.
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hordosr wrote: $4 off this week, will be stocking up
They were on sale here last week.
That's my 2cents worth
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Strafe1 wrote: Agree with @death_hawk's assessment on it.

I've tried a bunch of the usual suspects only when they went on sale of course like Janes, Schneiders, Flamingo/Olymel, etc. They were all meh, very bad at times and not smelling good, like they had gone bad.

Pinty's looks much worse as it is more expensive and they load into the box like 3 separate useless frozen sauce packs.

The only half decent ones I tried back in the day was over a couple of decades back with M&M's Louisiana Crunch spicy wings. Though M&M's menu is sure as hell expensive these days. Even with their so-called weekly sales, they're still quite expensive.
+1 M&M's Louisiana Crunch spicy wings.

They used to go on sale once in a while...haven't seen a "while" for a long time now. Added to that, the M&M near is now closed.
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death_hawk wrote: Even though I'm usually on the forefront of authentic, I don't mind breaded and sauced wings.
This is where a fryer really shines too. You can still get a tiny bit of crispness even under a sauced wing, something that isn't possible with any other cooking method.
I think the butter that places like Duff's and Anchor Bar in Buffalo add into the hot sauce helps the crispiness stay longer. That was at least what a few of the local taste testers, the businesses themselves, their patrons and experts had attested to in a lot of the videos featuring those places why they are so popular and considered atop the best.
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Tried Pontus once, it was the last time as well. I still go to presidents choice for their hot wings battered wings. Damn good for frozen. No name has some delicious although heavily drenched sauce especially honey garlic but you can’t complain for $10 for a full hearty plate. I haven’t bought frozen of anything in about a year or so. Might pick up some fresh wings and try my hand at making my own hot wings with a light batter in the air fryer I just for. And French fries.


If you’d permit me to go off on a tangent how come store nought potatoes in the bulk bags are so damn small? No frills had russets for $2.99 a bag and they are barely bigger than mini potato’s. I want those big long ones that YouTube cookery use to make fries. Buying them individually are so expensive though. Is that the deal? They package small ones in bags and save the big nice looking ones for by weight sale or for restaurants?
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Supercooled wrote:


If you’d permit me to go off on a tangent how come store nought potatoes in the bulk bags are so damn small? No frills had russets for $2.99 a bag and they are barely bigger than mini potato’s. I want those big long ones that YouTube cookery use to make fries. Buying them individually are so expensive though. Is that the deal? They package small ones in bags and save the big nice looking ones for by weight sale or for restaurants?
Costco sells huge sized russet potatoes in a large bag.

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