Chicken wings have become a mainstay of game day. These little morsels of heaven deserve to be treated right and that's not difficult if you have the right recipe. No matter how you plan to finish or cook your wings, starting them off with a great brine will only make them better.
This brine recipe plays off the natural flavors of the chicken wings. It adds flavor, a hint of heat, and extra moisture that will prevent your wings from drying out. Once the wings are prepared, they can be grilled, smoked, baked, or fried.
The recipe will create enough brine for about 3 pounds of chicken wings (about 16 wings). You can easily increase it to cover more wings.
- 6 cups /1.4 liters cold water
- 1/3 cup/80 ml table salt (1/2 cup/120 ml kosher salt)
- 1/3 cup/80 ml white sugar
- 1/4 cup/60 ml white vinegar
- 1/4 cup/60 ml red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons/30 ml black pepper
- 1 tablespoon/15 ml white pepper
- 3 pounds chicken wings
Prepare the Brine
While the brine is easy to prepare, it is best when it's mixed up the night before. This allows the flavors to marry fully and ensures it's ready for your wings.
- Combine vinegar and pepper flakes.
- Thoroughly dissolve the salt and sugar in water.
- Add the vinegar mixture and black pepper.
- Stir to mix, cover, and store in the refrigerator overnight.
Brine Your Chicken Wings
- Place chicken wings in a large non-metal container.
- Pour the brine mixture over the wings, making sure they are completely covered.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator. Allow the wings to brine for 2 to 4 hours.
- Remove wings and rinse well. Discard any remaining brine.
- Pat chicken dry with paper towel, apply a seasoning or rub if you like and cook as desired.
Ideas for Cooking Your Brined Wings
Now that you have brined wings, it's time to decide how you want to serve them. They can be cooked as is and served with a variety of dipping sauces, or you can add a little more flavor.
There are many great chicken wing recipes that you can use for inspiration. For example, a dry rub of pepper, onion, chili, and garlic can really give them a nice kick. You can also grill your brined wings and serve them with a zesty lemon sauce.
When it comes to sauces, the possibilities are endless. Maybe you want to try a homemade barbecue sauce before broiling your wings. Then again, a tasty teriyaki sauce and some time in the slow cooker is a good option as well.
Also, keep in mind that you can play around with the brine. Since you understand what goes into a brine, you can add other ingredients to customize the flavor. Adding beer to your brine gives it a great game day flair. Bringing in a little apple juice or apple cider vinegar is perfect for autumn entertaining, and you can always make the brine spicier with more peppers.
The possibilities are endless, so have fun with your new found knowledge of brined chicken wings. With a tweak here and there, you can create a new experience every time and never be bored with the same old wing recipe.