Chicken wings, like the breast, are white meat. The difference between white meat and dark meat is attributed to the amount of myoglobin in the muscles. Myoglobin is stored in muscles that get exercise, because they need more oxygen. The more exercise a muscle gets, the higher the concentration of myoglobin. Since a modern domesticated chicken is basically flightless, the breast and wings get very little if any activity, so the muscles develop very little myoglobin. Where this really becomes evident is in flying fowl like ducks; the meat is more of a reddish color all over, which is why ducks are basically all dark meat.
Nevertheless, when cooking, wings should be treated like dark meat, not white meat, which can get dry if cooked too long. Wings take well to long cooking times and high heat, just like thighs. Just be careful when grilling or barbecuing, since wings are also one of the fattiest parts of the chicken and tend to create flare-ups on the grill.
- In fast food restaurants, it is not unusual to order dark meat and get wings. In much of food service, wings are considered dark meat.
- Actually wings should not be treated as dark meat but as white meat they can dry out very easily. The reason they may take longer are the multiple bones in their structure. They should be cooked for a long time at a very low temperature such as 225-250F like your proper smoking temperature, or baked or deep fried at high heat very quickly to seal the outside thus preserving the juices on the inside. This method creates an extremely crisp crust where the slow smoked method creates a wing that is quite a bit more succulent. In addition the white meat of a chicken contains alot less natural internal fat compared to the thigh meat. The myoglobin is responsible for the color difference but it is the fat content that makes the thigh and leg meat retain its moisture for a longer period of time before drying out.