McDonald’s Mighty Wings

In which I try McDonald’s new Mighty Wings… so you don’t have to.

So, yesterday, Atlanta became the first test market for McDonald’s new Mighty Wings.

The following bit of polite PR flackery is reproduced verbatim:

“Research shows that our guests today want more, meaty, bone-in chicken options,” said Donavon Groen, president of the Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Operator’s Association. “McDonald’s is excited to bring chicken lovers across Atlanta a great-tasting wing that delivers a new, unexpected flavor experience that is bold and delicious.”

Actually, I suspect that research shows that McDonald’s guests have been revolted by the images of industrial machinery extruding chicken nuggets of pink slime.

Video: Tom Mabe asks “What part of the chicken is the nugget?

So “guests” — especially parents — have been deserting McNuggets in droves in search of chicken that looked like it had once been part of, well, a chicken.

Enter Mighty Wings. Actual chicken wings, battered and deep-fried because we’re America, darn it, and that’s what we do!

In the last few years, I think I’ve only eaten at McDonald’s when I’m in an airport. But I made a point of stopping by the one near our house today and ordering a 5-piece box of Mighty Wings. (You can also get 3-piece and 10-piece boxes. A dollar per wing.) The staff was smiling, asking if I’d had them already, and all three servers behind the counter said “You’re going to love them!”

I’ve never had “test market” food before, but I wasn’t surprised to find a plain white box… clearly, the branding and graphic identity are still under development. Open the box, take out a wing, bite into it…

You know… it’s not bad.

I don’t know if there’s such a thing as a “gourmet chicken wing.” If so, these clearly aren’t that. But the meat is flavorful, the batter is spicy without being overwhelming, and there are real bones from a real chicken inside. I enjoyed mine.

These may be an awkward menu addition for McDonald’s. Some ridiculous percentage of their meals are eaten behind the wheel of a car. I wouldn’t recommend Mighty Wings while driving. Getting all the chicken off the bone is a two-handed operation, and both hands wind up coated in grease that you probably don’t want on your steering wheel. But, for dine-in or taking home, they ought to be a hit.

I don’t know if I’ll be making any new stops at McDonald’s… I still mourn the loss of the good French fries on the altar of trans fats. But if Mighty Wings make it onto the permanent menu, I know what I’ll be ordering next time I’m stuck in an airport.