McDonald's New Mighty Wings: We Finally Landed an Order

McdonaldsMightyWings.JPG
JK Grence

The Guilty Pleasure: Mighty Wings
Where to Find It: McDonald's; limited availability now, soon available everywhere
Price: About a buck per piece.
What it Really Costs: For most of metro Phoenix, time.

For a few weeks (possibly months) now, I've heard that McDonald's has a new product on the way: Mighty Wings. They're an odd duck (well, chicken) for McDonald's, which popularized the chicken nugget, and (except for a brief period in the late 1960s) has always served only boneless chicken.

The Mighty Wings' nationwide rollout was supposed to be September 9th. I beat feet down to my local Golden Arches on Monday, and... business as usual, no Mighty Wings. Blast.

But wait. This story has a happy ending.

I went around to other locations all over CenPho. Still nothing. I checked around online to figure out what the hell was going on, and found that apparently the full nationwide rollout has been pushed back a couple of weeks, possibly to the 24th.

Later that evening, fortune smiled upon me. I was on some errands in north Phoenix. As I reached 19th Avenue and Bell, I glanced at the McDonald's on the corner. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a sign in the window for the elusive Mighty Wings. They're here after all! At least, they're at that one location in town. Never mind that I'd just had dinner; I had room for these.

The wings come un-sauced; the same array of dipping sauces available for the Chicken McNuggets are also available for Mighty Wings. Spicy Buffalo sauce was a natural accoutrement. I also tried them with Creamy Ranch. I know that for some people, putting ranch dressing on wings is tantamount to heresy, but McDonald's doesn't have blue cheese dressing. Deal with it.

In standard McDonald's fashion, I got my wings in a matter of moments. My first bite was, as one would expect of McDonald's, unremarkable. There's supposed to be cayenne and chili powder in the breading, but it wasn't evident at first. Maybe a timid Midwestern palate would find it on the spicy side.

Dipping a wing in either sauce made the wing seem less like a standard chicken wing (quite a feat considering one sauce was Spicy Buffalo), and more like an extra-crispy Chicken McNugget made out of unprocessed, bone-in chicken. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, mind you. It just didn't say "wings" to me. I suppose I could pour sauce over the wings and then gently shake the box, but that seems unnecessarily messy.

For Buffalo wing purists, these won't hit the spot. It's that darn breading. An authentic Buffalo wing is fried naked, no breading at all. The few philistines who serve breaded wings (Hooters, I'm looking at you) still use a light hand with breading, usually a simple seasoned flour dredge. The Mighty Wings have enough coating that wings, and more like standard fried chicken.

My mention of fried chicken is telling. If you look at the Mighty Wings as fried chicken rather than wings, they're very mighty indeed. The breading is lightly crunchy without being greasy. The breading is seasoned just right, leaving a faint residual chili pepper glow after a couple of pieces. For chicken part selection, McDonald's was wise to just use wings. Breast meat gets dry and chalky quick, but the wings' rich dark meat holds up very nicely in a warming tray.

Your favorite sports bar isn't in any danger from Mighty Wings, but quick-service chicken joints have every reason to be nervous. I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that the new Mighty Wings are some of the best fried chicken in the fast food industry. They easily beat the tar out of KFC, and just might compete with one of my favorite guilty pleasure places, Popeye's. Perhaps a side-by-side comparison is in order soon.

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17 comments
Krista Peterson
Krista Peterson

Guilty "pleasure" my ass. My first job was at Mcdonalds and these things always made me feel sick. Haven't eaten them or anything McDonald's since 1984. There' is nothing redeeming about McDonald's food, at all, at ALL.

Charlie Erb
Charlie Erb

New Times promoting McDonalds? loss of at least one credibility point.

Marco Cruz
Marco Cruz

Fuck, and i ate nothing but expired gas station snacks...

Steve Larson
Steve Larson

People who "Bread" wings should go to jail.

Dan Moore
Dan Moore

My life's been a little emptier ever since they discontinued the chicken selects.

Hr Hamada
Hr Hamada

why are you even reporting about McDonald's AT ALL???? I'm not a huge fan of Portillo's but their grand opening is certainly more food news worthy than McDonalds. T.Cooks is opening with a great chef, and you're reporting about corporate fast food?

chef
chef

Wings are white meat, not rich dark meat as the author indicates


JKGrence
JKGrence

@David Howard No pink slime to be found. It's possibly the first time McDonald's has made a food product that's recognizable as food.

JKGrence
JKGrence

@Francisco Cortez Surprisingly, zero. It's whole chicken parts.

JKGrence
JKGrence

@Charlie Erb I'm not promoting them per se. I would have just as gleefully written a poison pen piece about how much they suck, but it turned out they were remarkably good, at least as fried chicken goes rather than wings.

JKGrence
JKGrence

@Steve Seigel See my earlier comment. My brain gets muddled. Probably doesn't help much that I do most of my writing in the dead of night.

JKGrence
JKGrence

@Hr Hamada The Guilty Pleasures beat is all about things we shouldn't eat, from local joints to corporate drive-thrus to the grocery store.

I didn't think to cover Portillo's opening in Tempe because I wrote about their sublime chocolate cake shake months ago when they opened the first Arizona location up in Scottsdale.

JKGrence
JKGrence

@chef Thanks for correcting me on that. My brain has always thrown the wings into the dark-meat category because they're higher in fat content than the breasts.

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