Barring any unnecessary scientific breakthroughs, there will always only be two wings on each chicken, but chicken wings, coated in spicy Buffalo sauce or otherwise, are now an enduring part of American culture and will likely continue to be in the coming year.
This could be a problem given the innate limitation in the product’s availability, but it’s really not the wings themselves that hold the attraction; it’s their highly flavored, unpretentious, sharable quality.
That’s illustrated by the fact that Millennials, and many other consumers, tend to prefer “boneless wings” made from chicken breast to the real thing.
Other poultry producers have moved to get in on the action. Last year Jenny-O offered fried and sauced turkey “drummies” at a party during the National Restaurant Show, and this year at the MUFSO conference in Denver Maple Leaf Farms had duck wings on display.
Buffalo-style pork shanks — the hind shanks braised, fried and trimmed to kind of resemble wings — have moved on and off of bar menus for the past several years.
Really, anything that can be shaped in pieces the size of a bite or two, fried, sauced and shared with friends can play the role that chicken wings do, so you can expect to see more Buffalo cauliflower on menus, and Buffalo plant-based protein, and probably Buffalo forms of other trending vegetables, such as broccoli and carrots. You can also expect them to be coated in barbecue sauce, hot honey, garlic-Parmesan sauce, Sriracha, gochujang and other popular flavors.