Why The Flats Are The Best Part Of Chicken Wings (Yes, Better Than The Drums), Explained » VSB

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Why The Flats Are The Best Part Of Chicken Wings (Yes, Better Than The Drums), Explained

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What are chicken wings?

Bottomless brunch buffets in Heaven, unexpected direct deposit, updated appliances, and the squirting orgasm are possibly the only things consistently better than well seasoned and properly cooked wings.

What about bad wings?

I’m trying to think of an analogy to articulate and contextualize the cocktail of disappointment, anger, incredulousness, and confusion that occurs when faced with a shitty batch of chicken wings. Let me put it this way: Let’s say you were so hyped up by Kendrick Lamar’s Untitled, Unmastered that you actually went to an actual physical store to actually buy the actual physical CD. And then you rushed to your car, ripped off the wrapping, and frisbeed it into your car’s CD player. Which you’ve never actually even used before. And then the music starts. And then your jaw drops and your face droops. And then…and then you realize you actually bought a Big Sean mixtape. A Big Sean mixtape that actually had the audacity to call itself The Best of Big Sean.

This is how it feels to be served some acrimonious-ass wings. It makes you want to shank a motherfucker.

I see. Well, when did you discover wings?

My first memory of a wing in my mouth stretches back to when I was 10. 11, perhaps. I was playing Monopoly with my parents and my sister — one of those marathon games where the winner actually feels like they’ve actually won actual money — and my mom made some wings. I remember placing one in my mouth, savoring the juicy and crunchy deliciousness, and just not giving a fuck about Park Place anymore.

Also, the story of my relationship with the chicken wing can not be told without including my stint in Buffalo during college. It was there I discovered the joy of putting indeterminately creamy white sauces — ranch or blue cheese — on the wing. (Also, I learned that dipping pizzas into indeterminately creamy white sauces increased the taste of the pizza by 7%. Unfortunately, they also increase the caloric content by 235%, so the not-burning-2000-calories-a-day-through-basketball present day me has had to stop doing it.)

You live in Pittsburgh, correct?

Correct.

Where can one find the best wings in Pittsburgh?

Surprisingly, Senor Frogs on West Liberty Avenue. They’re also exceedingly cheap there. Which — the cheapest food option also being the best — never happens. It’s like calling an exterminator to deal with a fruit fly problem in your kitchen, and having that exterminator be Elise Neal.

That might have been the worst analogy I’ve ever heard. 

I know. I just needed an excuse to mention Elise Neal. Related: My homie White Kate has an awesome Pittsburgh wings blog.

So, what are the flats? And what are the drums?

Well, chicken wings as we know them are actually wing dings. They’re not full wings. They’re wings separated in two. (Which, when it’s said aloud, sounds really cruel and painful. It’s bad enough that we’re eating a chicken’s wings. Which is how they fly and shit. But then we disfigure them before putting them into our mouths. Which somehow seems even worse. If there are any chickens reading this, I’m sorry, man.)

Anyway, when this separation happens, you’re left with the flats and the drums.

Flats (pictured below)

flats

Drums (pictured below)

drums

Ok. So, in the title you state that the flats are better.

I did.

But, after looking at the pictures, it seems like the drums have more meat.

They do.

If you love wings so much, how can the part that actually has less chicken be better?

Great question! This is the part of the drums vs flats conversation that the pro-drums camp references. If you prefer the part of the chicken wing that has less chicken meat, they say, you don’t really love the chicken wing. Ultimately, they’re questioning and challenging the pro-flats camp’s love and commitment. Basically, there’s no difference between pro-drum people and Bernie Sanders supporters.

But this argument neglects to consider the essence of the chicken wing. It is not meant to be a full piece of chicken. If you wanted a full piece of chicken with a shitload of chicken meat, you’d get a full piece of chicken. So the dynamics of consumption change. And with the chicken wing, having a shitload of chicken meat just isn’t as important as the taste and texture of the skin. This, not the meat, is what makes the chicken wing the chicken wing.

And, for that reason, the flats reign supreme. The drums might be more inherently chicken. The flats, however, are more inherently chicken wing.

That’s some deep shit, man. Mystical, even. 

Chicken wings aren’t just awesome because they’re delicious and cheap. They’re awesome because eating them can become a Zen-like experience. And the flats are the most Zen.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • AquaTeamV3

    I’ve always felt that the drums were easier to eat. The flats tend to end up with meat stuck between the two bones that you have to pick out. It’s awkward and disrupts the flow of my chicken eating experience. Meanwhile you can pick up a drum with a single hand and destroy it right there. They’re even ergonomically designed for dipping!

    • Quirlygirly

      WHAT!! you can eat a flat with one hand too..You just not doing it right

    • God Shammgod

      Pick out? Y’all need to learn to suck the meat off the bone proper-like

      • brothaskeeper

        The innuendo….I’m here for it….

    • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

      Yo, Breezy…another one for the list..he say ‘pick out’ son!
      #notoneof”us” #suckdatoutinonemotion

      True point on the dipping and slowing of the flow, but it’s worth it.

  • God Shammgod

    Flats are consistently the best part of the wing. Better flavor profile, more moist, everything. Stop being afraid of some bones.

    • KNeale

      Exactly. Also, drums can look like they are more meat but really not be. Drums sometimes are a little bit of me and a whole lotta cartillage at the end. I know some folks love all that cartillage but I’m not that into it for it to be more than the meat!

      • God Shammgod

        I will say that the truest test of how good a person’s wing game is is how their drums come out though.

        Still inferior to flats doe.

        • Breezy

          The art to a perfect drum is frying it hard but maintaining the moisture inside…errrrmmm, wait… did I just kinda describe a d *loses signal*

          • Shall we talk cans of corn? LOL

            • Breezy

              Nope we shall not!

              • YES WE CAN! And feel free to ask a question since I’m feeling charitable.

                • Breezy

                  Ain’t nuffin you sharing I wanna hear Uncle Todd…lol

                  • Tambra

                    Why not Todd always has the most interesting stories and experience. You know they could have a whole series based on “The life of Todd”.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      Todd should have a regular column sharing his stories

                    • Tambra

                      Who must we petition?

                    • Quirlygirly

                      Ion know Todd stories maybe be too much for an innocent like myself to read

                    • Tambra

                      Sometimes we have to live vicariously through other people.

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      Don’t be scared. *Put’s on the slow version of Aaron Hall’s Don’t be Afraid* lol!

                    • Epsilonicus

                      That song is kinda creepy lol

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      Well you, Peter Gunz, and Aaron Hall are bout dat life! lol

                    • Epsilonicus

                      I get put in the same sentence as Peter Gunz?!?!? Bruh!!!

                    • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

                      Aaron Hall is kinda creepy in general Eps.

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      No. It would be called Hott Toddin with the forward written by Wild Cougar.

                    • Tambra

                      I can work with that too.

                    • brothaskeeper

                      Sounds like a bestseller to me!

                    • Breezy

                      Talking about WC did anyone read her book?

                    • Quirlygirly

                      I can’t even imagine!

          • God Shammgod

            look at you being fast, hussy.

            • Epsilonicus

              That is all she know

              • Breezy

                Lmbooooooo, you dunno my life Eps!!

                • Epsilonicus

                  We all know you are about that life. You aint gotta lie to kick it lol

                  • Breezy

                    Bye Eps!!

                    • Epsilonicus

                      You know I love you Breezy baby

                    • Breezy

                      *answers from the corner* Yeah yeah yeah

            • Breezy

              Takes one to know one!!

              • God Shammgod

                I don’t know what you are talking about, for I am blessed and highly anointed.

                • Epsilonicus

                  Blessed…

            • Quirlygirly

              Hussy..I love that word. Hussy and Heifer those are two of my favorite old school derogatory terms.

          • Quirlygirly

            LOL-Girl you are on one today..

            • Breezy

              Bored. But amma go to the corner now.

              • Quirlygirly

                No don’t, I am enjoying the level of debauchery you are bringing this week.

            • Breezy

              Girl its been a long week and I finally caught a break yesterday evening and today. I am here for awlll manner of foolery.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            She’s on fire! *In NBA Jam voice*

            • Breezy

              Smh last thing I need is your old pervy self going.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                Wait…You trying to take ME to task and @epsilonicus:disqus gets a pass???? Nah homie.

                • Breezy

                  You two are two sides of the same pervy coin.

                  • Sigma_Since 93

                    You love us doe! lol

                    • Breezy

                      Unfortunately we are all called to love the lost and downtrodden.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      God knows my heart.

                    • Breezy

                      Hmmm

                    • Epsilonicus

                      God knows I am a saint, gentleman, and a scholar.

                    • Breezy

                      That sounds like something your wayward Granny told you not something Abba Father thinks.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      Hater

                    • Quirlygirly

                      A Scholar- indeed
                      A gentlemen- sometimes
                      A saint- moves out the way so I don’t get struck along with Eps

                    • Epsilonicus

                      You suppose to be my ride or die?!?!? What happened lol

                    • Quirlygirly

                      I am Boo! But one of us has to live to tell the story and keep the legacy alive. Now how that supposed to happen if we both dead.

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      She rides with the Blue and White Squad aka Sigma_Since93

                    • Epsilonicus

                      Bruh, you aint got my swag

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      You’re right. SWAG is for boys; style is for grown azz men. @quirlygirly:disqus likes to roll with grown azz men! lol

                    • Epsilonicus

                      This is a young man’s world. Back away son

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      Men don’t use the word swag. No wonder you’re a Ravens fan!

          • Soulqueerian

            Nope nope and nope. Wings are meant to be baked. There, I said it. I”m tired of the tyranny that is fried wings. Friedness=nastiness. Roasted or baked is the only way to go!

    • Well I’m shook. Fight me.

    • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

      For real..and it’s the measurement of a well prepared chicken. If its coming off of the bone with flavor on the flat, you good.

  • mchester

    I approve of this essay.

  • ED

    I didn’t used to have a preference. Then I found out the wife likes drums. When we order wings she ONLY wants the drums. Because of that I’ve developed an appreciation for the flats and we became a match made in chicken wing heaven

    • LadyIbaka

      That’s really cute.

      Brass, you berra like drums oo, so we can be even more q-ra.

  • Karine1976

    I have no preference but one thing I do like with the flats is first pulling ot the smaller bone then then sucking off the meat from the marginally bigger bone. And as a Carribean gal, I also love the flat bones for being entirely chewable and they retain the wing’s flavouring like nobodie’s business. Nothing gets wasted on a wing.

    • that is the ONLY reason they have any purpose

  • Sigma_Since 93

    Bad wings are like:

    Asking for tea in the North and they bring you hot unsweetened tea.

    Doing the horizontal with a lifeless partner

    Finding that one piece that sets off your outfit for the night and it’s on sale and it’s the last one only to find out it’s too big / small despite your size being on the tab

    When you found out Santa wasn’t real

    Being thirsty as h e l l and there’s only a swallow of kool aid in the pitcher

    I’m starting the All chicken parts matter movement. Enough of this team drum and team flat mess

    • As a hot tea fanatic who is anti diabedus, comparing the first to the second is slander. The first is an elixir on a cold day for someone borderline hypothermic. The second is the reason I fear regular dating so much. Nope.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Nah homie. There’s nothing like the shock look of a Southerner who forgets the words tea doesn’t imply sweet getting that hot mess from the waitress.

  • uNk

    All of these facts are indeed #Facts. This is not up for debate, flats always maintain more of the flavor if sauce or a dry rub is used always has the juices, and works better with two hands. I’ll even go as far as to say one side of the flat being better than the other, but we wont go there. Oh…. you better get that meat from in between those bones too lol!!

    • Kas

      They ain’t ready to break down the best side of the flats. You have an ocean of knowledge but these teacups can only hold so much.

      • OSHH

        *giggles*

  • Garry

    I used to be strictly a drum man, until i realized the right way to eat flats. You twist out both bone and you have an amazing and substantial piece of meat ready to be enjoyed. I love both now, but i look fwd to flats more.

    • Quirlygirly

      Yup you have to learn to eat them the right way so you use minimal effort for maximum flat enjoyment

  • Flats all the way! The flats to me have more crispy skin, which is kinda the whole point of wings. And the meat is juicier. And it’s fun to split the two bones in half and pick off the meat.

  • Agatha Guilluame

    Ooooh a Friday Fuckshyt post. I missed these.

    The best wings are Negril’s jerk wings however, wings in general are for people that don’t mind a lot of effort for very little yield. Bring me the meat.

    • uNk

      “Bring me the meat”

      I’ll just laugh and move along swiftly lol

      • Breezy

        You aint s hyt nate.

    • One of my best date nights ever started with Jerk wings in Baldwin Long Island. Those were fiyahhhh!

    • Breezy

      There’s a Bahamian song called “All Da Meat”…except it’s not food he’s singing about.

      • brothaskeeper

        Yew so nassy.

        • Breezy

          Hush

          • brothaskeeper

            I didn’t say it was a BAD thing *no shots being taken*

      • Tambra

        That could go for so many soca songs.

        • Breezy

          #facts

      • uNk

        We aint shyte, saw she wanted meat and went way left haha

        • Breezy

          It’s Friday and I’m bored.

    • Ess Tee

      And this is why I don’t really see it for wings. All that work for such little meat? Nope.

    • Brandon Allen

      You’d rather have a bland chicken breast over 4 wings?

    • Same reason I don’t eat oxtails

      • Quirlygirly

        No!! Oxtail are soo worth the effort and you can suck on the bone(the bone is full of flavor) and use your tongue to get the meat out. Damb- I am smiling think about eating oxtails

        • Too expensive for so little meat

      • Tambra

        You need help.

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