Some foods take on a legendary status at a certain time of the year, like pumpkins during the fall, eggnog during the winter holidays, and chicken wings during the Super Bowl. This year the National Chicken Council (yes, that’s a real council) estimates that around 1.23 billion wings will be consumed over the course of Super Bowl weekend this year. That might seem like a lot of chicken, but this number has actually decreased from 2012, when the same council estimated that 1.25 billion wings were consumed.
Rumors were circulating earlier about a possible chicken wing shortage, and although chicken companies produced fewer birds this year, there will be plenty of wings to go around come Super Bowl weekend. Record high corn and feed prices forced chicken producers to slightly cut back on production, and higher prices may be reflected when purchasing chicken wings. Producers are still reeling from last summer’s drought that forced corn prices to an all-time high, compounded with federal regulation that requires 40 percent of corn to be turned into ethanol fuel. Over two-thirds of chicken feed is comprised of corn, though producers have been surprisingly resilient at keeping production on par with other years.
Chicken wings first gained popularity in the 1980s when they were an affordable alternative to the popular boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Today wings have become the highest priced part of the entire chicken, and demand has grown so much that many restaurants rebrand chicken breast meat as boneless wings. Over the course of 2012 more than 13 billion chicken wings were sold. A huge portion of these sales will come from Super Bowl weekend, and devoted chicken wing fans are expected to keep the trend going this upcoming weekend.
For tips on the best wings to choose this Sunday, the Chicago Tribune rated several popular quick-service chains and found the wings from Checkers to be among the best. These wings keep well with anti-sogging ventilation holes in the packaging, and have a thin crispy skin in a number of mouthwatering varieties. Kentucky Fried Chicken and Buffalo Wild Wings also have several types of wings to choose from on GameDay
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