Buffalo Wild Wings Luau BBQ Vs Buffalo Ranch: Which Should You Try?

Buffalo Wild Wings to-go meal
Buffalo Wild Wings to-go meal - Sam Zwick/Mashed

If variety is the spice of life, then the chicken at Buffalo Wild Wings is living large. With over two dozen sauce options to choose from, there's something for every wing lover on the menu, and for a limited time, two more sauces are joining the ranks. Buffalo Ranch is back and is accompanied by newcomer Luau BBQ, a pineapple-infused barbecue sauce that aims to take your taste buds on a tropical vacation.

At Mashed, we know that sauces are sacred when it comes to the all-American Buffalo wing, so we tried out the two new Buffalo Wild Wings flavors to help you decide if they're worth getting your fingers messy for or if it's best to stick with your go-to order. Buffalo Wild Wings sent me a sample of each flavor along with a few sides to get the full experience. The sauces were evaluated on taste, texture, and appearance. And remember, as with any review, these opinions are subjective.

Read more: The Best Wings In Every State

There Are Plenty Of Ways To Enjoy These Sauces

Buffalo Wild Wings meal
Buffalo Wild Wings meal - Sam Zwick/Mashed

Boneless or traditional: It's a debate as old as time. Well, it's not quite that old, since Buffalo Wild Wings released its boneless option in 2003. While tasty and convenient, Buffalo Wild Wings' boneless wings are controversial. The good news is that whichever side of the wing aisle you fall on, both Buffalo Ranch and Luau BBQ are available across the Buffalo Wild Wings menu. Fans of chicken sandwiches and wraps can enjoy them as well.

For my review, I sampled the Luau BBQ on traditional wings and the Buffalo Ranch on boneless. I also selected sides of potato wedges and tater tots with ranch and blue cheese dipping sauces as accompaniment. Everything arrived courtesy of DoorDash hot and somewhat predictably messy. I'm a fan of both blue cheese and ranch, but for the purposes of the review, I evaluated the wing sauces first on their own, free of any outside interference, before I began dipping away.

They'll Only Be Around For A Limited Time

Buffalo Wild Wings to-go boxes
Buffalo Wild Wings to-go boxes - Sam Zwick/Mashed

Both sauces are available for dine-in or takeout every day, while fans of Buffalo Wild Wings' All You Can Eat Boneless Wings and Fries special will be able to try out Buffalo Ranch and Luau BBQ at participating locations Monday and Wednesday in person. If takeout or delivery is more your style, the pair is also offered through BWW GO, so you can savor the flavors from the comfort of your own home. Visit the chain's website to find a participating location in your area.

Thankfully, these sauces aren't priced any differently than the rest of the menu. A six-piece of traditional wings slathered in either Luau BBQ or Buffalo Ranch is $10.49 before taxes (prices may vary depending on location). Now through the end of June, take-out or delivery orders over $10 are eligible for six free wings using a special promo code advertised on the restaurant's website.

How Do The Sauces Stack Up Nutritionally?

chicken wing being dunked into sauce
chicken wing being dunked into sauce - Sam Zwick/Mashed

Enough Luau BBQ sauce to cover six traditional wings is 70 calories, on par with the Honey Barbecue Sauce. An identical serving of the Buffalo Ranch comes in at 60 calories, just 10 calories more than the Mild Sauce. For the sake of comparison, the Buffalo Ranch is the mellower version of the chain's Medium sauce thanks to its ranch component. Meanwhile, Luau BBQ slots in nicely along with other sweeter flavors like Orange Chicken and Honey Barbecue. A six-count of traditional wings contains 430 calories, while six boneless wings are just 360 calories, so if you're looking to save a little more of your calorie intake for sauce or some of Buffalo Wild Wings' sides, boneless is the way to go.

As of publication, full nutritional information for the two limited-release sauces was not yet available on the Buffalo Wild Wings website.

Luau BBQ Is A Sticky, Sweet Take On Barbecue

chicken wings in front of pineapple
chicken wings in front of pineapple - Sam Zwick/Mashed

The name Luau BBQ  conjures images of a white sand beach populated by people in flowery leis drinking sugary beverages from hollowed-out fruits. If that's the flavor experience Buffalo Wild Wings was targeting with Luau BBQ, the chain nailed it. This sauce is a rich mahogany color with an almost jelly-like consistency. The pineapple flavor is intense. If you're not a fan of pineapple chicken recipes, this sauce is going to be a bit much for you. I love pineapple and after a few wings, even I was ready for a change in flavor profiles.

On the whole, the sauce is good. It's thick and rich but really, really sticky. I tried this sauce on traditional wings, but armed with the benefit of hindsight, I would have opted for the more fork-friendly boneless route. The Luau BBQ smells fantastic, thanks to sweet pineapple notes mixed with a subtle smokiness. Anyone who likes sweet meat should try this sauce, but I wouldn't recommend making it your full meal since it's a bit like mixing dessert with the main course.

Buffalo Ranch Solves A Problem You Didn't Know Existed

boneless wing on fork over sauce
boneless wing on fork over sauce - Sam Zwick/Mashed

Imagine sitting down with a pile of wings slathered in medium sauce. The spice level is good, but you want to mellow it out just a touch with some creamy ranch dressing. You dip the wing and take a bite. If your dip was perfect, you end up with the ideal ratio, but anything heavy-handed leaves you with a mouth full of ranch while going in too light means the dressing is an afterthought at best. Enter the Buffalo Ranch wing sauce. Every bite is the perfect marriage of spicy Buffalo and cool ranch.

In many ways, Buffalo Ranch is the perfect lazy wing sauce. That's not a disparagement; it's proof that sometimes simple really is better. Light orange in color, the sauce looks like a mixture of its two namesakes and smells like it, too. I really enjoyed dipping these wings in blue cheese dressing to create a flavor trifecta. I would love to see Buffalo Wild Wings continue to expand on the sauce-dressing combo with some of its other flavors because, in every way a sauce should work, this one does.


Boneless and traditional chicken wings
Boneless and traditional chicken wings - Sam Zwick/Mashed

Buffalo Wild Wings did not compensate Mashed or the author for this review, though the wings were delivered free of charge. All food was sent to me via DoorDash, and the samples were consumed shortly after delivery. My primary criterion for evaluating each sauce variety was flavor, but I also factored in how the wings looked, the texture of the sauce, and how much each one made me want to come back for more.

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