Can You Eat The Hair On Chicken Wings? (Removal Tips)

It’s a beautiful day, perfect for a backyard BBQ cookout. You’ve got the grill ready and about to throw on some chicken wings, everyone’s favorite. But wait, what’s this? You notice small hair-like fibers on the wings!

Oh no, what now? Your epic BBQ is on hold until you solve this hairy problem. Don’t fret, dear grillmaster! It’s a common situation many have faced.

In this article, we’ll dive right into the nitty-gritty of those pesky little hairs on chicken wings – what they are, why they’re there, and most importantly, if they’re safe to eat.

Stick around, and let’s enlighten your chicken wing knowledge together!

What Are the Hairs On Chicken Wings?

The first thing to get out in the open is this – those aren’t actual hairs you’re seeing on your chicken wings. Yup, you read that right.

Those little protrusions aren’t the same kind of hair that adorns the head of your favorite pop star or the fur that covers your cuddly pet.

Instead, they’re small feathers, filaments, or feather shafts left behind during the poultry processing procedure.

This is completely normal. When chickens are processed for their meat, they go through a plucking process to remove feathers. It’s an efficient process, but it’s not always perfect.

Sometimes, tiny remnants of the feather shafts or even the feathers themselves remain stuck to the skin. This is particularly true for areas around the wings and the lower parts of the legs, where the feathers are quite firmly attached.

Why Do Some Chicken Wings Have “Hair”?

You may wonder why some chicken wings look like they need a quick shave while others are as smooth as a baby’s bottom? The answer lies in the bird’s age and the processing techniques used.

Younger birds have softer and thinner feather shafts that can easily break off during processing, leaving behind the part attached to the skin – the bit you’re seeing as “hair.”

Furthermore, the efficiency of feather removal can vary depending on the plucking process used. Some processes might leave behind more of these feather remnants than others, which is why you’ll sometimes encounter chicken wings looking a little bit hairy.

Source: Reddit

Is It Safe to Eat Chicken Hair on Wings?

So, now you know what those pesky little “hairs” are and why they’re there. The question lingering in your mind, though, is probably, “Can I eat them?”

From a safety standpoint, consuming these feather remnants is not harmful. They are not toxic and won’t cause any health problems if accidentally eaten.

However, if the sight or idea of consuming feathers puts you off your food, your meal might be less enjoyable. Plus, they can give an unpleasant texture to your bite.

Not quite the delightful crunch we enjoy from a perfectly fried or grilled chicken wing!

Debunking Myths and Providing Factual Information

Contrary to some circulating myths, these feather shafts aren’t signs of disease or poor quality in chickens. Remember, they are natural chicken parts that haven’t been completely removed during processing.

They don’t imply any kind of contamination or illness in the chicken from which they came.

The idea that feather remnants are a sign of chicken disease is a misconception. Chickens are inspected for diseases and other health issues before processing, and unhealthy chickens are not approved for consumption.

So, rest assured that those wings, hairs, and all have passed food safety inspections before reaching your kitchen.

Still, if you’d rather your chicken wings be clean-shaven, stay tuned for our next section on removing these filament hairs before cooking. You’ll be well-prepared to tackle this culinary quirk and keep your BBQ plans intact!

How to Remove Chicken Hair Before Cooking

Now that you’re armed with the facts, it’s time to prepare those chicken wings just the way you like them. If you prefer your wings without any trace of “hair,” here are some practical steps to help you achieve that smooth finish.

Method 1: The Fire Torch Method

  1. Arrange the chicken wings on a heatproof surface like a metal baking sheet.
  2. Use a culinary torch or a long lighter and pass the flame over the wings, focusing on the areas with the feather remnants. They will quickly burn off and disappear.
  3. After torching, give the wings a quick rinse under cold water to remove any burnt residues.

Method 2: The Tweezers Method

  1. Hold the chicken wing firmly.
  2. Using a pair of clean tweezers, grasp the feather shaft as close to the skin as possible and pull it out.
  3. Repeat this process until you have removed all visible feather remnants.

Method 3: The Hand-Plucking Method

  1. Hold the chicken wing firmly.
  2. Use your fingers to pluck the feather remnants out.
  3. Repeat until you have removed all the hair.

Tips for Clean and Efficient Hair Removal

As with any task, the right tools and techniques can make the process of removing feather remnants from your chicken wings far more efficient.

  • Sharp Vision: Ensure you have good lighting to spot the feather remnants easily.
  • Proper Tools: Invest in a pair of good-quality tweezers. They will provide you with a better grip and precision.
  • Patience is Key: Don’t rush the process. It’s better to take your time and do a thorough job than rush and miss some of the feather remnants.
  • Aftercare: Remember to rinse the chicken wings after removing the feather shafts. This will get rid of any residue and ensure your wings are clean and ready to marinate.


In the grand scheme of things, the “hair” on your chicken wings is a small detail that won’t stand in the way of your next cookout. Whether you choose to leave them be or remove them before cooking, you’re now equipped with the facts and know-how.

Remember, they’re completely harmless and won’t spoil your feast. But if you’re particular about texture and aesthetics, go ahead and pluck those tiny feathers off.

At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying your deliciously grilled wings. So fire up that BBQ and let the good times roll!

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