October, 2006- Consumer demands for better meat products have stimulated extensive research into improving poultry meat items. Newer value-added products with an appealing appearance, different taste and at an affordable price promote poultrymeat consumption and help sustain growth of the poultry industry.

In most countries, breast, thighs and drumsticks are the valuable cuts of a broiler carcass because of the high meat yield and ease of deboning. Chicken wingettes (also called as drummettes) come from the shoulder portion with associated muscles of a poultry wing. These are less valuable and usually regarded as a by-product of broiler industry. However, they contain some meat and they have a good shape for the production of value-added items.

Chicken wingettes account for 3-4% of the liveweight and 5-6% of the dressed weight of a broiler and they are both rich in protein and low in fat. Raw wingettes contain about 76% moisture, 21% protein, 1.7% fat and 1.3% ash. Moreover, it is well known that poultrymeat is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA; ‘good fat’).

The potential for wingettes lies in the fact that it is easy to make palatable products for consumers, with the same texture, flavour and taste as poultrymeat. Furthermore, processing these low-value cuts will help the development of the poultry industry and reduce the cost of production. Developing countries, especially, need simple technologies for further processing poultry products. We tested marination and different cooking methods to produce a range of acceptable wingette products.

Value-added products

All the wingettes were marinated prior to cooking. The marination mix (see box) was applied all over the meat surface, together with forking to increase the penetration of the mix and the mixture was kept at room temperature for 3 hours.

Microwaved wingettes

Marinated wingettes were put onto a microwavable greased glass dish and cooked at high power (900W) for 2 minutes for 100g product, to reach an internal temperature of 80°C.

Grilled wingettes

Marinated wingettes were cooked in a grill at 210°C for 10 minutes. Pieces were then brushed with refined vegetable oil, turned over and grilled for another 5 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 80°C.

Tandoori wingettes

Tandoori is a traditional Indian cooking method whereby meat (particularly chicken) is hung on hooks over burning charcoal in a drum-like earthen oven called a tandoor. For this experiment, the wingettes were put onto hooks on a specially designed ring stand and cooked in a tandoor, which had been started 30 minutes previously with charcoal to reach a moderate and uniform temperature of 150-175°C. Initial cooking lasted for 15 minutes, after which the meat was removed, basted with refined vegetable oil and then returned to the oven for another 2-3 minutes to reach an internal temperature of more than of 80°C.

Coated wingettes

Marinated wingettes are coated with a batter of Bengal gram flour and rusk powder. These were deep-fat-fried until golden brown.

Fried wingettes

Marinated wingettes were deep-fat-fried for about 10 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 85°C.

Sensory evaluation

A standard sensory evaluation method using an 8-point descriptive scale was followed (8 = excellent; 1 = very poor). Products were considered to be highly acceptable when they scored more than 6.5 points for the sensory attributes of appearance, flavour, juiciness, texture and overall palatability. The coated wingettes had a highly desirable appearance. Grilled and tandoori wingettes scored well for flavour. Fried wingettes were given high scores for all the attributes. All the products were rated highly acceptable.

Cooking yield

Cooking yield (defined as [cooked weight /raw weight] x 100) ranged from 78.0 to 81.5%. The highest yield was measured for the coated wingettes, and the lowest for the grilled wingettes.

Proximate composition


The proximate composition did not vary greatly between products (see table). All the products were high in protein and low in fat.


Raw wingettes can be stored frozen for future use but it is necessary to allow sufficient time for thawing – at least 15 hours at 3°C – for maximum marinade absorption. Because of the thin muscle layer, wingettes are easily marinated, and the salt and spices penetrate thoroughly.

Does size matter?

Trials were conducted to find out the effect of size on the sensory quality of the products. Wingettes from light (less than 1.5kg bodyweight), medium (1.5 -2.0kg) and heavy (more than 2kg) broilers were used for the preparation of all the products. The best sensory quality scores were achieved by wingettes from the heaviest birds, and they also had a better shape, with more and juicier meat than the other two groups. As broilers in developed countries are usually reared to these heavier weights, the wingettes will be especially suitable for processing.

Storage & re-heating

All the products were successfully stored under refrigeration and frozen.

Microwave heating before eating is enough to bring back the original sensory qualities with the exception of crispness. Crispness reduces significantly during storage and this lowers the acceptability/palatability of stored products compared to the freshly prepared ones. Packaging and storage methods are key points for market success.

In summary

We only tested five products but there is plenty of scope for other product development ideas for wingettes, including barbequing, roasting, baking and dishes with meat gravy or other sauces, depending on the food culture of the region.

For both developing and developed countries, wingettes offer potential for better profitability. The wingettes could be prepared as a range of dishes rather than for low-value by-products in developed countries. In developing countries like India, the cuts would be suitable for small-scale processing or home preparation.

Marination recipe (for 100g product)

Salt 4g

Spice 1.7g

Sugar 0.3g

Green curry mix

(onion, garlic and ginger paste) 7g

Capsicum powder 1g

Curd 10ml

Tomato ketchup 10ml

Lemon juice 3ml

Water 5ml