The ISD editors participated in a tense debate over which national chicken wing brand was best. 

The Iowa State Daily editors participated in a heated debate Wednesday. With napkins handy and ranch dressing at the ready, they suited up for the Great Wing Debate of 2021.

A timeless feud, especially relevant during tailgate season, is Buffalo Wild Wings vs. WingStop.

Wing-lovers are never on common ground about anything. Barbecue or Buffalo? Ranch or bleu cheese? Boneless or bone-in? The conflict never ends.

After many arguments and newsroom tension, the Iowa State Daily editors put their taste buds to the test.

The taste test was initially intended to be a blind taste test between Buffalo Wild Wings and Wing Stop, but many other conclusions were scrounged up.

So, here is the ultimate guide to what the Iowa State Daily Editors think the “Vitruvian Man” of wings is.

Matt Bellinson, Sports Editor

Let me say this: Wingstop; you surprised me. But it’s not one of those surprises where you rethink your day or put you in a good mood. It’s like finding out Santa isn’t real (sorry, spoilers). Your entire fabric of innocence and joy in the world is taken from you. I’m a Buffalo Wild Wings stan. And I’m not apologizing for it. They have better sauce, better breading and better chicken. However, I was duped into picking Wingstop wings, and I am not thrilled about it. I’d like a recount of this “poll” we did. I’m pretty sure at least 12 data collection violations that I learned not to do in high school. But nevertheless, I picked Wingstop, and the sickos have won this battle. But never the war.

Kate Kealy, Politics Editor

I am a ride-or-die Wingstop lover. So it was no surprise when they were pitted up against Bdubs in the wing-off; Wingstop rightfully won the popular vote. The real surprise was, I voted for a Buffalo Wild Wings wing. The experiment proved my assumed biases about BDubs were false. The best wing presented in the contest had to be the boneless buffalo wing from BDubs. Some of my colleagues said it was “too spicy.” This assessment is inaccurate. The color of the boneless wing may have been offsetting. It was fairly orange. But at that first bite, my taste buds were on the flavor train. The other three chicken wings were bland. While the two bone-in chicken wings had better chicken meat, the ranch I dipped the wings in was the only distinctive taste. Overall, this competition proved my preconceived biases against BDubs wrong. The real takeaway shouldn’t be which store is better; it should be the general expectation that chicken wings have potent sauces; otherwise, it is just a chicken nugget.

Claire Hoppe, Diversity Editor

Contrary to what others *ahem, Matt* said previously, I am all in for Wingstop. Let this be said: this was the first time I ever tasted a Wingstop wing, but it did not disappoint. Not only did it not set my mouth on fire like BDubs did (I seriously was in pain, but maybe that’s just because I’m a wuss), but the chicken was just better. Period. Also, I am such a sucker for an underdog story. Buffalo Wild Wings has ruled the wing business for long enough. It’s time to let some others shine. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love a good honey barbecue wing from BDubs, but I was pleasantly surprised by our dark horse in this race.

Sierra Hoeger, Co-Copy Chief

Following the tradition of previously-preferred tastes being proven wrong, I have had the same wing order since the first time I stepped foot in Buffalo Wild Wings. I bet you can guess what it is, too, as it’s pretty basic. Say it with me now: “Honey barbecue boneless wings.” I have never strayed from that order and was pretty hesitant when given other options during our taste test on Wednesday. I would also consider myself a neat eater. We’re talking napkins always in lap, and utensils always signal when I’m done. The thought of the mess and pile of napkins that come with eating traditional wings is bad enough, not to mention the fact that it’s plain inconvenient. However, I am walking away a changed woman with a new opinion on wings after Wednesday. I cannot believe I am betraying my classic BDubs order; however, traditional Wingstop wings were the move that night.

Jack McClellan, Academics Editor

In my wing debate experience, all shapes and styles of wings brought me satisfaction, although Wingstop left me questioning what I had just put in my body. Multiple distinct textures and layers were present in the hunk of meat, which really distracted me from the joys of consumption. Buffalo Wild Wings, on the other hand, raised fewer alarms in my eating experience, the overall flavor blended better with the sauces, and the crunchy exterior complemented the homogenous chickenesque interior.

Eleanor Chalstrom, Lifestyle Editor

I’ll admit that I was the instigator of the Great Wing Debate, but I couldn’t let my co-workers win this one. I must say that my wing order is superior to most. Buffalo sauce, bone-in wings with blue cheese dressing on the side. I want nothing to do with boneless wings, barbeque wings or ranch. I also want nothing to do with Wingstop. Buffalo Wild Wings is a safe haven. The wings are always dependable; I can always expect that the TV volume will make my ears ring, and I know that it’s my wing go-to.

My love of Buffalo Wild Wings was only fortified in the wing debate. I took one greasy bite into the greasy goodness, and I knew: that’s MY wing. After the curtain was pulled back, I was right. I knew the difference between Buffalo Wild Wings and Wingstop. Yay me!

Long story short: Buffalo Wild Wings is one of the loves of my life, and nothing can compare to their high standard.

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