Consumer Reports tests frozen Buffalo wings

February 4, 2011 3:14:46 PM PST
Super Bowl time means super snacks, especially buffalo wings! The questions is - if you're hosting a party this year, are store-bought frozen wings good enough to feed your guests?

Consumer Reports checked out seven types of frozen buffalo wings from Tyson, T.G.I. Friday's, and even some from the drugstore Walgreens.

Testers sampled more than 800 wings to find the best.

"You want moist, tender chicken with crispy coating and you want spiciness but not so much that it overpowers the wings," said Adam Kaplan with Consumer Reports said.

In its tests, Consumer Reports said some of the wings came up a little short.

Kaplan said the crispy fried impression you get in a restaurant quality wing just wasn't there. And some didn't taste that great, either. He said the Weaver Buffalo Wings had a fake butter flavor. The Great Value Buffalo Wings from Walmart had a chewy chicken and rubbery skin.

But there was a clear winner, Bell and Evans Buffalo Style Chicken Wings.

"The Bell and Evans had a nice browned impression. They tasted roasted and they had a good heat and some cumin flavors that really came through," said Kaplan.

They go for about $7 for a 16-ounce box. So if you don't have a restaurant favorite, Consumer Reports said give them a try.

Consumer Reports also rated Perdue Buffalo Style Chicken Wings very good - and they cost less - just $7.70 for a 32-ounce bag.

For a little less money, Consumer Reports said the Walgreens Cafe W. Wings are worth a try. They were not quite as tasty as the Bell and Evans chicken wings, but testers said they were very good overall, with a slight vinegar, paprika and red pepper flavor. A 10-ounce bag costs about $3.

Consumer Reports also checked out multigrain tortilla chips.

You might think multigrain tortilla chips are a healthier option. Consumer Reports munched and crunched its way through eight different ones to size up your choices.

With names such as Garden of Eatin' Sea Salt with Flax Seeds and Snyder's Eatsmart Naturals, they certainly sound good for you. However, Consumer Reports says all multigrain really means is that there's more than one kind of grain.

Whether or not the grain is whole is what counts.

It turns out that the Garden of Eatin' Blues with Sea Salt has the most types of whole grains. The other chips listed fewer or none at all.

As for taste, one rated excellent, the Tostitos Multigrain Tortilla Chips. But as far as nutrition goes, they're about the same as the Tostitos 100% White Corn Restaurant Style chips.

For half the price, Archer Farms Authentic-Style tortilla chips from Target rated very good.