Wendy’s has recently added a new flavor to their line of boneless chicken wings â€“ Spicy Chipotle. Their website describes them as “made from 100% all-white meat chicken breast, delicately breaded and hand-tossed in a sauce made with real chipotle peppers, dark chili powder, and a touch of amber honey.”
Before even trying these “wings,” I have a bone to pick (queue laugh track) with this product. First of all, fast food establishments are notorious for offering “spicy” menu items that are, well…not spicy. I guess they figure the American public can’t handle anything with more kick than a slice of pepper jack cheese. Second, I am soooo over chipotle. Like pomegranate, it’s one of those tired foodie trends that every chef on the Food Network loves to trot out and explain in detail, like you’ve never heard of a dried jalapeÃ±o pepper before and it’s going to BLOW YOUR MIND. Thirdly, there’s no such thing as boneless chicken wings. You know what a boneless chicken wing is? It’s a chicken nugget. You can’t fool me, Wendy’s. I was going to make a tasteless zombie Dave Thomas joke here, but he always seemed like a pretty cool guy, so I guess I’ll just leave it at that.
When I first tasted these chicken nugg- chicken boneless wings, my first thought was, hey, at least the chicken’s not bad. I’d rank it above some of the other fast food chicken nuggets I’ve had. My second thought was, I can barely taste the sauce. Half of my “wings” were glopped up with the sticky stuff, and the other half looked practically naked. And not the good kind of naked, like doing an innocent Google image search for Padma Lakshmi and getting more than you expected. Luckily, there was a bunch of it gathered in what I can only describe as a thick sea of slime at the bottom of the tray, so I could smear my naked nuggets around in that, like two ladies wrestling in a tub of half-melted Jell-O. Maybe Padma Lakshmi and Aida Mollenkamp? Only because I’d like to see Padma beat the pretty out of Aida.
My third thought, after I’d gotten a decent amount of sauce and also guaranteed at least one of my laptop keys would now stick forever (from the sauce, pervs), was that I wasn’t actually sure I’d gotten the right flavor of boneless wings. Wendy’s offers two other flavors â€“ Honey BBQ and Sweet & Spicy Asian â€“ and as I sat here, I honestly couldn’t tell what flavor I’d gotten. I’ve never had the two other products, but all three have a distinct “sweet and spicy/smokey/spicy and smokey” vibe, and that’s pretty much all I could tell about the flavor of this sauce. It was a little sweet. It was…maybe a little smokey? Did I detect what passes for spicy somewhere in there?
I figured I’d check the receipt to see if it at least said I’d gotten the right menu item, not that it means anything. I looked in the bag…no receipt. I was on my own. I dredged my finger along the bottom of the tray, pulling up a big glob of the sauce. It was dark orange, with some little speckles in it…could that be the chili powder? I sucked the sauce off my finger, trying to forget my earlier Jell-O wrestling comments. With no chicken in the way, I definitely detected more spice, a little smokiness, and a sweet honey taste. Okay, I’m pretty sure I got the right stuff. And I don’t mean The Right Stuff.
It’s hard to imagine a sauce with chipotle, chili powder and honey in it, that does indeed have elements of spice, smokiness, and sweetness, could be bland, but Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle sauce manages to accomplish this feat. The chicken itself is actually of quite good quality for a chicken nugget (or boneless wing), but I’d rather be dipping it in something like a spicy mustard than have it covered in gooey, uninteresting chipotle sauce. The flavors just aren’t bold enough to pop, and the texture is a little off-putting. Overall, it’s a disappointing addition to Wendy’s menu.
(Nutrition Facts – 10 boneless wings – 500 calories, 180 calories from fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 20 grams of total fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,640 milligrams of sodium, 48 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugars, 33 grams of protein, 20% vitamin A, 25% vitamin C, 4% calcium and 8% iron.)
Item: Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle Boneless Wings
Price: $3.99, or so the Internet tells me. I have no receipt to prove that.
Size: 10 boneless wings
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Chicken was pretty good quality. GISing Padma Lashmi. Quite a few wings for the price. Jell-O wrestling.
Cons: Sauce was too bland. Aida Mollenkamp. Half my chicken was naked. Feeling uncomfortable about sucking goo off my finger. Claims of spiciness that don’t deliver.