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Super casual graduation party... how many wings per guest?

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We're hosting a graduation party this weekend - true to my klassy ways we're having it in our backyard, with a variety of chicken wings (rosemary lemon and teriyaki for the non-spicy folks, traditional spicy & slightly-more-spicy for the others), potato salad, chips, and something else.. not sure what yet.

Anyway, knowing that wings are the main, how many would you allocate per person?

ETA: Originally thinking about eight - should I up it to 12? There will be beer.

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  1. Depends on if the wings are the only meat item you're offering, whether your crowd is mostly a younger crowd in which case they'll eat more wings as it's a popular item among that age group and whether you're serving dummettes or whole wings. Typically, if you're serving more than one meat item, you can get away with less wings.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Cherylptw

      I'm going wings only, but we'll have backup hotdogs or sausage to toss on the grill. In fact, now I might change that to add one "sausage on a stick" per guest (they're huge).

      And, joy, not drummettes only - I'll be breaking down the wings myself as a (dubious, poorly thought out) cost-cutting measure.

      1. re: shanagain

        I'd count on 2 wing pieces per person since you're serving other items, keeping in mind that regardless of your other items, wings are going to be popular.

        1. re: Cherylptw

          Two!!! Even with potato salad and chips.... even with the sausage on a stick, I'd say plan 5-6 whole wings or 10-12 pieces per person!
          Cherylptw, you must be a muchkin!!

          1. re: janetms383

            Not a muchkin (lol) but I was going conservative...she did say she was serving hamburgers & hot dogs as well...My original thought IF she were only going with the wings (no burgers, hot dogs and sausage on a stick) would have been 8-10 pieces per person (flat & wing drum) or 4 whole wings.

            But if the OP is concerned about cost, wings cost more than other pieces of chicken where I live at least...If it were me throwing the party, I'd go with a cheaper cut of chicken like leg/thigh quarters, cut up & grilled which would be cheaper (where I live you can find them around 49 to 59 cents/LB most of the time. This way, you could go with maybe 1-2 pieces with everything else you're serving. I'd also go with larger cuts of other meats that are cheaper like BBQing pork/turkey/brisket (brisket should be cheap in TX?) per pound. Wings are expensive where I live unless a sale a couple times a year.

            1. re: Cherylptw

              We'd do brisket (I have a fantastic recipe that'd have been perfect) but friends are doing brisket for theirs the next weekend - we'd all be brisketed-out, I think. Plus, I really like my recipe and wouldn't want to upstage theirs, just in case it's better.

              Wings are one of those things I'm known for (oh, the talent, fortune and fame I've wasted), so it's a natural. It's definitely not cheap, but here's the plan:

              -Homemade potato salad (gods, how I despise making homemade PS, but again, it's good)

              -Asian Coleslaw w/shredded chicken as a side/kind of main - I'm making a ton, so it can be either if anyone eschews wings (in which case I wonder why they're invited! who are these ppl that don't like wings, why would I be friends with them!?)

              -4 types of wings: I bake my wings instead of frying, so I thought I'd do a riff on that with rosemary/lemon/olive oil & yogurt dill dipping sauce? Then teriyaki w/sweet & sour sauce, and two heat levels of good old wings with Ranch & blue cheese

              -chips

              -muffins (indeterminate at the moment) by my stepdad - we decided something lightly sweet would be best, as it's just going to be flat HOT here, and this wouldn't require any frosting or refrigeration

              This plan is subject to change only by addition. A friend of ours makes a kind of retro pea salad that I bet she'd bring (ok, REALLY retro, but tasty), and I'm still toying with the sausage I'd mentioned. It's locally made, SO good, but also super expensive.

              At this point, I'm back to about 8 per guest, with hot dogs only on hand for any picky anklebiters.

              One unanticipated problem - I went to buy wings and bought the store out.. of the annoying full wings. One unanticipated bonus: wing tips for chicken stock.

              We've decided to have a luncheon catered for the seniors this Friday, and nixed inviting all of them. In case that sounds ridiculously privileged of me... We have 21 graduating seniors in our school! LOL

              So, off to sharpen my knife.

              By the way, thank you - I really appreciate it!

              1. re: shanagain

                Good luck and have fun!

                1. re: shanagain

                  I use shears to snip the wings apart. Much easier, IMO.

      2. If you're serving the middle section only, 10-12 per adult seems reasonable... unless your "something else" was a lasagna or something equally heavy, or something for the vegetarians that can be shared by all..

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sarah

          FWIW, no vegetarians here - you'd think we'd at least have one or two but that's west TX for you.

        2. I too would go lower on the wings and add another dish! Like maybe a great coleslaw like the asian one with ramen noodles in it - there's a great one out there with shredded chix/turkey in it too. This way, any guest that aren't into wings or don't want to get messy could have a nice plate of chix/turkey coleslaw, pot salad, corn bread or ??

          I once attended a wings party with a bunch of law students, contest was most unique world wide beer and wings - there had to been at least 20 diff kinds of wings = awesome!!!

          have fun!

          3 Replies
          1. re: lexpatti

            Hrrrrrrm. Good idea.

            Thinking hat, back on. I hate to admit it, but as time is ticking away, I'm seriously thinking about a big tray of one of those pasta hut chicken alfredo things. In genteel terms, I am most emphatically not concerned about stretching anyone's palate.

            Ooooohhhhh, wait. A big batch of ziti or rotini baked with homemade bolognese wouldn't be horribly expensive, and would be almost universally well-received, yes? Also has the bonus of being tasty "warm" and not piping hot.

            ETA: My brain hurts and needs a rest. ;-)

            1. re: lexpatti

              OK, the more I think about it, I think your idea of the asian coleslaw w/shredded chicken may be the winner. I'm sure you've guessed by now that the idea of making one more thing is daunting at the moment...

              But I do my best work that way, I suppose.

              1. re: shanagain

                Good Luck! Couple of things to add. What do you consider "one" wing? A butcher/supermarket would define the whole wing - the "flat" and the "drumette" as "one" wing, but by Buffalo stadards, that's two wings.

                Also, size matters! Out here on Long Island, wings sold separately are pretty small. In Buffalo, many wing joints use something closer to a roaster sized wing. For small wings, a dozen would be the minimum I'd have on hand for a main course. For larger wings, 8-10 should be fine.

                For an extra entree that is dirt cheap but if made the right way tastes great is pork shoulder. You can buy it for about $1 a pound, and a single whole shoulder may weight 10-12 pounds. I have a smoker, so I'll often use traditional barbecue rub and let it go for 10 hours. But you can also cook on a grill - just try to keep the heat low and give it time. And you can do lots of different flavors - honey/soy/garlic, or Cuban style: Make a mash of garlic, black pepper, oregano, salt, pepper, oil and vinegar. Stab holes into the shoulder, and rub in the mash and jam it in the holes. Grill or bake low and slow for at least 8 hours. If you have a probe thermometer, it's done when internal temp hits 200 (provided it didn't get up to temp too quickly). Otherwise, when the bone wiggles like you can pull it out, it's done.

            2. Some of these numbers seem insane to me. I'd say MAX three full wings (6 wing pieces) per person.

              3 Replies
              1. re: fearlessemily

                Not as an entree. In most places, a standard "full" order of Buffalo wings is a dozen. And it's a graduation party, so I'm guessing teenage boys. Growing up in Buffalo (and as a teenager in the 1970's), we'd buy wings by the bucket of 50 - for 2 people. I still can't picture how we all ate so much back then, but teenage boys can eat like that.

                1. re: sbp

                  I grew up in Buffalo as well, and I can easily eat 8-10 wings as an appetizer. Maybe it's a Buffalo thing to eat that much? ;)

                  1. re: sbp

                    i recently went out for wings and beer with a group of 20 -30 somethings .....10 people...girls and guys ...and they went through over 3oo wings.