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
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.