Craving for those tasty chicken wings? But your homemade chicken wings give you disappointment? Well, we all love to eat chicken wings that are dipped in homemade bbq sauce.
When you try to grill chicken wings, they often turn out a bit dry while cooking over an open flame. Brining becomes important in this place.
Brining will give you tasty, juicy, and tender chicken wings. When you brine the chicken wings, it takes less time to cook. At the same time, you don’t have to slather your wings with copious amounts of sauce.
You can bring your chicken wings before the party to get the best taste and impress your gang for your barbeque night. So let us see in this article what brining is and the process of brining chicken wings.
What is brining?
Brining is nothing but a process that would make your chicken wings juicy and tender on any barbecue night. Even when you are not doing any barbeque brining, your chicken can give you an added layer of flavors, making any chicken wings irresistible.
So with less time, if you can make those dry wings juicy and irresistible, why would you go for other ways?
Brine is just water and salt. But one should have technical knowledge of how much water and how much salt. It is at least a 3.5% concentration of salt, making it salty like ocean water. It would be even saltier. A common Brine ratio is 1 gallon of water mixed with 1 cup of salt, 6.25% of salt.
But why would one use salt in the process of brining? Well, the simple answer to this is that salt helps to make the meat tender. When you soak the meat in salt water, it helps the meat to absorb water. If you don’t put salt in the solution, it will not help the meat to absorb more water. It is a simple law of osmosis.
When cooked, the brined meat will release the same amount of water compared to meat that is unbrined. The muscle fiber of the chicken starts contracting when heated. The water present in the brined chicken wings releases the water towards the meat’s outer edge while frying it. It is the reason why chicken wings sizzle when one attempts to fry them
The salt of the brine solution works actively to break down the fibers present in the chicken wings. It is the reason how the dry brine works even if you don’t use water. The salt itself is the reason for unwinding the muscle fibers, which stay coiled up tightly in chicken wings. It is the only reason that the chicken wings become easier to chew and cut.
You may find other ingredients like sugar or other spices in the brining solution. At the same time, one should note that sugar is not a necessary ingredient in the process of brining. It only helps to create caramelized and crispy chicken wings. It is a fancy term for the Browning process. Therefore it becomes important that you pat dry your chicken wings after the brining process to ensure that your chicken wings do not caramelize. Caramelizing the meat sugar also helps to give a subtle and rounded flavor to the brined meat.
Since salt provides a much harsh taste, sugar can neutralize the real taste of the chicken wings. One need not have to worry about the chicken wings tasting sweet because you will be washing away the chicken before cooking them. The brine solution’s spice will not affect the texture or the chicken wings’ juiciness; rather, they add flavors to the meat.
However, the vinegar present in the brine solution helps to tenderize the meat. You can tweak the chicken wings as per your preference.
Why should you brine chicken wings?
For you chicken lovers, it might seem like a lot of work to bring those chicken wings. Brining wings takes an extra time which is a lot more. But one can find many good reasons to take the extra time for brining chicken.
Brining chicken wings becomes particularly important during bbq or smoking as at that particular x meats are exposed to higher temperatures for a longer period. It might cause the chicken wings to dry out. Chicken is a lump of very lean meat. The fat content of the chicken is near to negligible. It makes the chicken wings turn dry in just fewer seconds.
As the wing portion carries lesser meat than the breast portion of the chicken, it can ruin the taste of the chicken wings. As said previously, the salt of the brine mixture aids the meat to lock in all the flavors and juices, helping it stay tender and moist while eating.
For how long should you brine chicken wings?
As the chicken wings’ meat content is lesser than any other parts, it needs a longer time to brine. Also, meat with fats like pork needs less time for brining as chicken has lesser fat content; therefore, it needs a longer time for the brining process.
It is recommended that you brine the chicken at a minimum period of at least 8 hours. However, the professionals suggest that you should try and go for a full 24 hours brine to get the best result to get a juicer and tender chicken wings.
Ingredients needed to brine chicken wings.
To brine chicken wings, you need the following ingredients.
- Chicken wings
While you get the chicken wings, make certain that the wings are entirely unfrozen. You can use any liquid to defrost the chicken. The choice contains wine, vinegar, beer, or any fruit juice if you want to add a brine flavor. But plain old-fashioned water adds a classic flavor to the meat without tempering the taste. But make sure that you use lukewarm water for this process.
- Kosher or table salt
Use the table salt or Kosher salt in your brining mixture. As the table salt does not hold any additives, it does not affect the brining mixture’s purity.
The iodine content of the Kosher salt or table salt is negligible. Therefore it forms clumps which are ideal for brining.
- A large container
You can make use of any large containers but make sure that the container does not rust. To be on the safer side, you can utilize a stainless steel container or plastic container. It will help the solution to work well on the chicken wings without tampering with the container.
You can use anyway, including a ceramic plate, to keep the meat submerged in the solution. It is done to provide the best result concerning the taste of the chicken wings.
As sugar contains properties that can caramelize any food, if you add sugar to your solution, it will provide crisp chicken wings when you smoke or opt for barbecue.
You can add black pepper, white pepper, chili flakes, or any syllabus of your personal preference for spices. But be careful with the black pepper as it might give the chicken wings extra hotness.
Process of brining
In this step, you need to put the chicken wings in a large bowl and add warm water until the whole wings have been submerged. One should put the best estimation of water (6 cups) for three pounds of chicken wings. So the ratio is 2:1.
The addition of salt should be in the ratio of 1:16. It would be best if you scaled down according to the volume of water used. For instance, if you are making use of water (6 cups), you need to add one-third of table salt. If you are about to use Kosher salt, then remember to put half a Kosher salt cup with 6 cups of water.
Combine the mixture of water and salt with sugar and stir carefully. You should continue the stirring process until and unless all the salt and sugar particles have completely dissolved in the water. The presence of sugar will provide nice brown color to the chicken skin when cooked.
Now you need to put the chicken wings in the brine mix. Make sure the solution has covered the whole meat. To anchor the chicken wings, you can also put a plate over the chicken for the best result
Now, this step is going to make a difference in taste. Here you have to add your choice of spices and herbs with a quarter cup of red chili flakes and white vinegar with the solution. You can also add white pepper (1 tablespoon) to the brine solution.
Do not forget to leave the solution in the fridge for at least two hours if the chicken wings are skinless and for 4 hours when your chicken wings have skin.
Chicken wings are a delicious delicacy for every chicken lover. Some people like to have an extra resource, while others prefer it to be sweet and simple.
Whatever the preference is, brining your chicken wings with this guide can provide you tasty, juicy, and tender chicken wings.
So what are you waiting for? All the chicken lovers out there, here is a shout-out to you. Follow this guide and make the tastiest chicken wings for your barbeque.