Just Wing It This Weekend!

Hickory Hollow Campground will be cooking up wings this weekend as campers look forward to this tasty annual event.   We’re prepared to fry up about 1,000 wings for consumption, that’s about 100 pounds of the little wings that Americans can’t seem to get enough of.  Add some special buffalo or garlic parmesan sauce, and you have a tasty treat most people love.

I’ve been enlightening you over the summer on some cool facts about America’s favorite outdoor activity, camping.  We all know that there is nothing more American than apple pie, but I dare say, that chicken wings probably come in a very close second to the two favorites.  After all, chicken wings were born and breaded here in America.  Let’s take a look at how the delicious little wings took America by storm. 

The story of chicken wings dates back to 1964 when restaurant owner, Teressa Bellissimo of Buffalo, New York, received a shipment of chicken wings accidentally, instead of necks she used for stock.  Her teenage son and his friends were hungry one night so she decided to fry up this “blunder” instead of wasting the wings.  She tossed a little chili sauce over them and served them to the boys, who loved them.  Soon after, she added the wings to the menu at her restaurant, the Anchor Bar, located in Buffalo.  To take away some of the heat from the chili sauce, she served the wings with blue cheese and celery sticks and the “Buffalo Wings” became an instant hit. 

Teressa’s food salesman decided to work along with the Bellissimo’s and took the concept on the road selling the special “hot sauce’ and promoting chicken wings to other restaurants.  The concept hit the big time when McDonald’s began selling Mighty Wings at some of its restaurants in 1990.  KFC rolled out Hot Wings a year later, and even Domino’s Pizza offered a version in 1994. 

The rise of chicken wings all had to do with timing.  In the sixties and seventies, cooking the whole bird was trendy.  The family sitting down together for meals was still the norm, but in the eighties, consumers started to prefer boneless skinless chicken breast.  Because the wings were relatively less expensive, bar and restaurant owners realized the value of adding them to their menus.  By offering a chicken protein at a lower cost they increased sales, and by adding that special “hot sauce” they discovered that beer sales also started to take off. 

Sports bars with multiple TV’s, thanks to satellite dishes, started to become more common around this time, and of course we Americans’ love football so the two seemed to go hand in hand.   Wings were a great “group food”, easy to prepare, affordable, and shareable and paired perfectly with a pitcher of beer.    Today, chicken wing sales during Super Bowl Sunday averages about 1.33 billion wings according to the National Chicken Council. 

Let’s learn some fun facts about wings….

  • The average American eats 90 wings per year, except for Seattle folks, they don’t really like wings.
  • One chicken wing contains about 140 calories, without sauce. The meaty part is only 42 calories, eating the skin adds 30% more calories. 
  • Wings provide essential amino acids, iron and niacin and are easily digestible.
  • Most farmers feed their chickens vegetable derived feed which results in better brain health and inflammation prevention for us. 
  • The normal American can eat about 12 wings in one single sitting.
  • The world record for most chicken wings is 444 in 2015 by Patrick Bertoletti in just 26 minutes.
  • The South eats the most wings, but the North invented the “Buffalo sauce”
  • Ranch is more popular than Blue Cheese for dipping
  • Hooters sells an estimated 30 million pounds of wings each year
  • Buffalo NY holds a National Chicken Wing Day every year and draws about 80,000 people over Labor Day. 

So whether you are camping at Hickory Hollow Campground or watching a sporting event this weekend, chances are you, or someone in your family, is probably eating a dozen of chicken wings and enjoying a nice cold beer. 

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