Are you a chicken wing connoisseur? While I myself just enjoy eating them and determining if they’re spicy enough for my liking, I fully appreciate the effort that goes into cooking and preparing them. Brining your chicken wings is not something that everyone thinks about, as it is usually reserved for cooking the whole bird. However, brining your chicken wings gives the same tasty result, which is a chicken wing full of tenderness and moisture. It also adds extra flavour to the wings, another huge bonus. If you’re cooking for a crowd, you want what little meat there is on your chicken wings to pop – and what better way to do that than brining them?
In this article, we’re going to look at why you should definitely brine your chicken wings next time you make them, and how to do it the easy way.
Why Brine Chicken Wings?
When you brine your chicken wings, you are ensuring that no matter what way you cook them, whether it’s through a smoker, in the oven, frying them,or on a BBQ, that your chicken wings are going to stay moist and delicious throughout the entire process. If you are a huge chicken wing fan like me, you know there’s nothing worse than dried out wings – and dried out meat can make it seem like there’s even less on the bone than there already is.
When soaking chicken wings in brine, you are giving them the best possible chance at staying moist, juicy and flavourful (keep in mind, the chicken wings will absorb whatever spices you put into the brine, which is what makes them soflavourful!). This step is actually essential if you are cooking your wings using a dry heat, such as on the grill, or using a smoker, so you definitely don’t want to skip it.
How Does Brining Work?
Not to get too technical on you, but have you ever wondered how brining actually works? Why does soaking your chicken wings in a brine actually let it absorb the flavour? Well, I’m glad you asked!
A brine is actually defined as a salt water mixture – that’s all you need for it to be considered a brine, any further additions are just extra. Both ingredients are essential, as the salt allows for the liquid to flow through the cell walls into the meat, which accounts for the added moisture. Another reason for added moisture is the fact that salt actually breaks down proteins, thereby tenderizing the meat.
Need more proof? Try weighing your wings before and after. It will be heavier after being soaked in the brine, showing that the salt has actually allowed the liquid to absorb into the wings. Pretty neat!
What to Put in Your Brine?
You’ve got to consider what you want your end result to be. Obviously, whatever spices you put in your brine you’ll be able to taste in your chicken wings. This will only intensify the longer the wings are soaking in the brine, so you better get it right! (Just kidding, it really is super easy).
The only ingredients you actually need in your brine are salt and water – you’re just adding additional flavours from there. Of course, not everyone is me, so not everybody likes spicy food. If you do, you’re going to want to tailor your brine towards the end result of a spicy chicken wing. In this case, adding an equal amount of chili flakes, vinegar, and salt to your brine may be an excellent way to go.
How to Brine Chicken Wings
So, now the burning question: how to brine chicken wings? Well, it’s incredibly easy, and sounds much more fancy and complicated than it is.
- Per one pound of chicken wings, add four cups of water to a bowl, and 3 tablespoons of salt.
- If you choose to add any additional spices (such as chili flakes) or sugar/brown sugar, mix with the salt in a separate bowl.
- Add your separate mixture to the salt and water mixture, and mix thoroughly.
- Add your chicken wings to the bowl, and make sure they are thoroughly covered and saturated in the brine solution.
- Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap.
- Place in the refrigerator anywhere from a minimum of 3 hours to a maximum of 48 hours to allow the mixture to soak into the wings.
How to Cook your Chicken Wings After Brining
Once you have brined your chicken wings for a minimum of 3 hours, you are ready to go ahead and cook them! You can remove the wings and cook them as you normally would, or you can boil the wings in the same brine that they’ve been sitting in. Once you’ve brought them to a boil, go ahead and take them out, and fry them up!
Depending on your desired taste and how much you’ve seasoned them, you don’t necessarily need to add an extra sauce or a rub after cooking – that’s totally your choice. Depending on how well you’ve seasoned your brine, there may be more than enough flavour in your wings already. Personally, I enjoy the taste and texture of the chicken wings when they have an added sauce or a rub, but you do you!
While the benefits of brining and throwing your own wings on the BBQ cannot be denied, sometimes there’s nothing better than being able to try a variety of flavourful wings at one low price. Golden Corral boasts 14 different types of wings on its menu, including flavours such as Bourbon Street, Honey Sesame Glazed, and Spicy Garlic. Have a look here at their all-you can-eat menu prices!
We hope this has given you some helpful insight into how simple and beneficial brining your chicken wings can be, and that we have given you some inspiration for your next BBQ. Don’t forget the paper towels!