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Drive-thru review: Pizza Hut gets wings right with new deep fryers

By: Ken Hoffman King Features Syndicate
April 14, 2014 Updated: April 14, 2014 at 12:15 pm
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photo - Ken Hoffman - Drive Thru
Ken Hoffman - Drive Thru 

Pizza Hut has installed deep fryers in 5,000 of its restaurants, so I opted for an eight-piece order of Crispy Bone-In Buffalo Burnin' Hot wings.

Here's the blueprint: breaded chicken wings, deep-fried and tossed in your favorite sauce, wrapped in foil and delivered warm to your door.

Pizza Hut wings are available bone-in (normal wings, as Mother Nature intended) or boneless, which are nuggets made from white-meat chicken. Boneless wings have nothing to do with wings. Boneless wings, because they're made with more-expensive white meat and yield more meat than regular wings, should cost more. But they cost less. Go figure.

Pizza Hut began selling wings in 1995 and created its WingStreet sub-continent in 2003. Until the rollout of its deep fryers, Pizza Hut baked unbreaded wings in its conveyor-belt oven. The product, frankly, was yucky. The wings were soft and mushy and greasy. The baked option no longer exists - all Pizza Hut wings are fried. Yay for crispy!

The advantage with deep fryers is that Pizza Hut can offer bone-in wings that are breaded or unbreaded, and fried boneless wings. You can have them sopping with your choice of eight sauces, or you can eat them naked. I mean you can eat them without sauce. If you're eating a big plate of wings without clothes on, that's your business.

The sauce choices are: Spicy Asian, Spicy BBQ, Honey BBQ, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Parmesan, Buffalo Mild, Buffalo Medium and Buffalo Burnin' Hot. I went with Buffalo Burnin' Hot because ... the things I do for you dear readers. I'm your gastrointestinal crash-test dummy.

They're hot, all right. Much hotter than I've experienced or would have expected from a national pizza chain. They're almost unpleasantly hot, with an afterburn that had me running back to the kitchen for a slug of Diet Pepsi. Next time, Buffalo Medium.

Pizza Hut has created a special cardboard box for its wings. Wrapped in foil, they're still warm upon delivery. One small disappointment: The wings sit in the sauce for the trip over. They're a saucy mess by the time you dig in. Think about putting a towel on your lap.

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