Ever wondered how to brine chicken wings?
If you are ready for the challenge of brining your BBQ chicken wings, you should check out this post. You will not need a lot of ingredient because the recipe is very easy for anyone.
With chicken wings, there are many other BBQ enthusiasts who choose to just use a simple marinade or rub and hope it turns out well. Rubs and marinades are great, but there is a better solution to infuse the flavor into your meat and that is brining.
It is true that brining can be intimidating for many people because of its preparation and method. This means more work, but you will not be disappointed with the results.
If you do it right, brined meat becomes tender and juicy, and it is a great way of infusing loads of flavor even into the smallest cut of meats.
Many people have a chicken wing brine recipe that they like referring to, but it is also important to apply it properly. In addition, getting those important measurements right really matters.
So here, you can read a brief guide on how to brine chicken wings. This includes delicious ingredients that you can use, and the measurements you are looking to use.
You will also find out how long to brine chicken wings from this post.
- Kosher salt
- Brown sugar
- Black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Cider vinegar
- Container or large bowl
Why Brine Chicken Wings?
As you might be aware of, brining is a process of meat preparation that helps keep the meat from drying out. This is especially important for smoking barbeque and smoking, where the meats are exposed for a long time in high temperatures that cause them to dry out.
This is even more important for chicken because it is very lean, with minimal fat content. Therefore, it turns from juicy to dry in just a few minutes.
Aside from this, wings have less meat compared to breast which is why getting it right saves you a lot of trouble. So, make sure that when you are brining chicken wings, you follow every step.
A prepared water for brining, seasoning and salt can all be combined and submerge the chicken in it. Salt is a great agent that helps in locking juices and flavors in a chicken. That means when it gets cooked, it still be tender and moist.
How Long Should the Chicken Wings Brine?
Chicken mean is very lean, which means brining it takes longer compared to fattier meats such as pork. You can dedicate only a few hours to brining chicken, but you should do it longer to get the full effects. You do not want to waste the brine for chicken wings that you did if it does not taste good.
It is recommended that you brine chicken overnight for at least 8 hours, but it is suggested that you let it brine for 24 hours. This way, you are maximizing what brining can do.
What You Need for Your Chicken Wing Brine Recipe
For brining chicken, here is what you will need:
- Fully defrosted chicken wings
- You can use any liquid for brining – wine, beer, fruit juice or vinegar but you can just use water. Even if you are intending to make a brine flavor by using different liquids, water is still a good choice. Water does not take away a lot of flavors from the meat. Make sure to use warm water.
- Kosher or table salt. You must make sure that it does not have additives because they can affect the mix’s purity. Since kosher salt does not contain iodine, it can clump that makes it perfect for brining.
- A big container – Do not use a container that corrodes when you use it. The best ones to use are stainless steel or plastic.
- Put a Weight – You can use a plate for this, which keeps your submerged in the water.
- Sugar – Sugar helps give your meat a nice and beautiful crisp when you barbeque or smoke it.
- Extras – For instance, white pepper, red pepper, and black pepper flakes. When you add their flavors together, it will come down to what your personal preference is. However, it is better to keep black pepper at a minimum.
You can follow these steps your chicken wing brine recipe becomes a lot easier to pull off:
Measure 2 Cups Per Pound of Water
This step is very important because you need to make a couple of measurement on the liquid that you will use. The liquid you will need depends on how many chicken wings you are expecting to cook. If you put too much, they will be very soft and challenging to cook. If the water is too little, the chicken will easily dry out.
The best way to measure how much water you need is to put the chicken wings in a large bowl. You can start pouring warm water into the bowl and stop when the meat is submerged and sits about 3 inches above the chicken wings. This water can be poured into a measuring container so you can use it when needed.
Measure the Salt
Many people are saying that 1:16 ratio is the best one to follow for salt to water. However, the difficult part is that the different varieties of salt do not have the same crystal content and weight. One cup table salt is twice the weight of a cup of kosher salt.
It is better to go by the weight. The preferred guide is to use 10 ounces of salt in every gallon of water. You must scale down based on the measured water volume, then calculate how much salt you need from there.
Tip: If you are going to use 6 cups of water, you will need 1/3 cup of table salt, or ½ cup kosher salt.
Combine Salt, Water and Sugar
When you already measured water, stir the salt and sugar in. Carefully stir until you have dissolved a lot of solid particles. You must also keep in mind that you need to add sugar and stir carefully, making sure that all solid particles have been dissolved. Sugar makes your chicken have a beautiful brown skin when it is cooked
Tip: Try using 1/3 cup white sugar
Add the Spice and Herbs
This is where everything becomes different. Add whatever spice and herbs you choose. Mix ¼ cup of white vinegar and red pepper flakes, then pour the mixture into the water. Add 1 tablespoon white pepper and 2 tablespoons black pepper into the brine solution.
Place the chicken wings into the brine, then move everything to a bigger container if necessary. Make sure that every part of the meat is covered in water. You can put a plate on the meat to keep it down.
Place this container inside your fridge and come back for it after a few hours.
Tip: If the wings are skinless, 2 hours is enough. If the skin is still on them, you must leave it for 4 hours.
After brining, remove them from the brine. Carefully rinse them and pat it down to dry the meat gently so that excess salt and liquid comes off.
You can cook the meat dry by smoking or grilling it. You can season the meat if that is what you prefer, but brined meat is already good as is.
Are You Allowed to Dry Brine Chicken Wings?
Yes, you can and it is normally used to larger meat cuts like turkeys. The reason is because it’s neater and makes lesser mess because there is no water. For meats with smaller cuts like wings, it is preferred to soak the meat in wet brine because it is helpful in thoroughly permeating the meat’s skin and flesh.
There might be a good argument to make when you want to dry brine wings. You can rub them with salt without using water to dry the skin. This will lead to a nice golden-brown and crispy chicken wing skin when cooked.
Can You Use Beer for Brining?
Yes, you can! Like marinades and rubs, you can do a lot of experimentation when it comes to the brine you want to use. Even if the recipe here is intended for spiced chicken, beer is excellent to use for brining.
Wing Brine Recipe
A chicken wings brine recipe that is easy to follow makes chicken wings juicy and tender.
- Course: Main course, appetizer, dinner
- Cuisine: BBQ
- Prep time: 10 minutes
- Total time: 10 minutes
- 6 ¼ cups warm water
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup kosher salt
- 3 tbsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp. black pepper
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- Pour water into the large container. Then stir in salt and sugar, making sure that all particles are dissolved
- Add the red and black pepper, and cider vinegar. Keep mixing thoroughly
- Place the wings in the brine. Make sure they are all submerged, and use a weight if necessary
- Leave the container in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours
Now that you know about the best chicken wing brine, you can do it successfully!