Food Writer's Diary

Yes, "pig wings" are a thing

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I’ve written a lot about chicken wings lately.

More precisely, I’ve written about things that aren’t chicken wings but apparently wish they were.

I reported here about how sales of boneless wings, which are of course pieces of chicken breast shaped kind of like wings, are outpacing the growth in actual chicken wings, and how wings with or without bones remain the country’s most popular appetizer.

Those facts, the crazy-high price of wing prices, and conversations with my colleagues, inspired this story about what else besides boneless wings chefs are using instead of wings.

It turned out that they’re using chicken skin, duck wings (which are surprisingly inexpensive), turkey tail and tofu (that’s a buf-faux-lo wing; I didn’t make that up) among other things, to satisfy Americans’ seemingly unlimited hunger for spicy-sour sauce on hand-held protein.

One ingredient that didn’t make it into that story was pork.

But “pig wings” are definitely a thing.

Cut from the hind shank, braised and then fried, these 2-ounce and 5-ounce pieces of succulent spiciness are a hit at restaurants such as Bar Coastal on New York City’s Upper East Side, where they’re called “porkers,” and at Commonwealth Kitchen & Bar in Henderson, Ky.

“We’re trying to do something out of the box, things that people aren’t having everywhere else,” Mark Logan, who opened Commonwealth in January, in partnership with restaurateur Jayson Muñoz, told me.

Logan first saw the pork product in a gastropub in Dallas.

“We’re using the pig wings like anyone would use a chicken wing, but the pork product is so tender and juicy on the inside, and there’s 2 ounces of meat on it,” Logan told me.

They’re tossed in a variety of sauces, but classic Buffalo sauce is the most popular.

“They’ve really had a great response,” Logan said.

The pork pieces come frozen. They’re thawed and then flash-fried to order for two to three minutes. Then they’re tossed in sauce or served naked for $9.95 for an order of 8.

March 14: This story has been updated to include a picture of pig wings.

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What's Food Writer's Diary?

Food Writer's Diary is a blog written by Bret Thorn, senior food editor of Nation’s Restaurant News, which covers culinary trends and his adventures.

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Bret Thorn

Bret Thorn is responsible for reporting on culinary trends in foodservice for Nation's Restaurant News. He joined NRN in 1999, after spending about five years as a journalist in Thailand, where...
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