Easy Chicken Wing Brine (Plus How to Cook Them)

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So, how can you improve on chicken wings? Using a wet wing brine results in a moister wing with more crispy skin.

I’ll show you how I brine my chicken wings and how to cook them properly.

Chicken wing brine

Brining is the process of immersing meat in a saltwater solution to increase moisture, softness, and flavor.

When you use a wet brine, you may add any number of substances to the saltwater solution to produce some pretty fantastic tastes.

Wet brining chicken wings is done for three reasons:

  • Moisture Submerging the wings in a wet brine for any amount of time allows the muscle fibers to absorb as much liquid as they can.
  • Tenderness A wet brine’s saline solution denaturates the proteins in the chicken muscles, forcing them to relax and enable the liquid to penetrate in between the proteins, resulting in a more soft bite.
  • A brine contains salt, which is nature’s equivalent of Monosodium glutamate (MSG), a taste enhancer. Brines are often made up of sugars and other ingredients such as herbs and other liquids to enhance the tastes that are absorbed into the meat.

Wings are quite tiny and frequently fried over high heat, and if left on for too long, they may soon dry up. Wet brining the chicken wings adds a tiny safety net to keep the wings juicy.

If you don’t have time for a complete wet brine, chilling your wings for a few hours, like we do in our smoked buffalo wings recipe, is a decent substitute.

Related Try our Turkey Brine

Can you use a dry brine on wings instead?

In most cases, a dry brine may be used in place of a wet brine. One thing to keep in mind while dry brining wings: if you leave them for too long, they will take on a cured texture and flavor.

Because they are such little pieces of meat, a couple of hours is more than enough time to infuse some of that natural (MSG) flavour into the wings, and it will also drain moisture from the skin, resulting in a crispier wing.

Although a dry brine may be used, I like to wet brine my wings since it results in a more moist wing with crispier skin.

After removing the chicken from the brine and drying the wings with paper towels, lay them in the fridge overnight on a wire resting rack, uncovered, and the skin will dry out naturally, with no risk of getting too salty.

Prepping the wings for the brine

To prepare the wings for the brine, just make sure they are clean. That means you may clip any loose or hanging joint bones with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors if you find any feathers that were overlooked during the slaughtering procedure.

Next, a more personal preference: do you want full wings, V wings with the tips removed, drummies or flats?

I like flats, but any form of wing would suffice. I don’t remember ever knocking back a whole wing if it was offered to me.

Prepare the brine

The brine is made from salt. You will need kosher salt, which should not be confused with table salt. They are two distinct forms of salt with distinct use. If you don’t have kosher salt, you may use flakey salt instead. The salt must next be mixed with water to form a wet brine.

For two pounds of chicken wings, I make the following salt solution for the wet brine:

Four cups of water are mixed with three teaspoons of kosher salt. The salt is then dissolved by heating the mixture. Allow it to cool fully before adding the chicken; otherwise, the internal temperature of the chicken will rise, facilitating the development of germs.

That is a simple brine solution; however, you will want to add some flavor to this.

Again, for two pounds of chicken wings, add three teaspoons of kosher salt but just one of the four cups of water to a pot. The remaining three cups will be added at the end.

Add a quarter cup of soy sauce, half a cup of brown sugar, three cloves of smashed garlic, a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary, and two teaspoons of your favorite hot sauce for a little heat. Franks Red Hot Sauce was utilized.

Bring this to a boil over high heat as rapidly as possible, stirring frequently. This is just to dissolve the salt and sugar fully in the moist brine solution.

When the water reaches boiling point, remove from the heat and gently whisk in the remaining three cups of cold water. Allow it to cool fully before putting it to the chicken wings.

Cooling the saucepan in a sink of cold water helps it cool down quickly.

When the chicken wings have fully cooled, place them in a waterproof container or a big zip lock bag with the brine. Place in the refrigerator and brine for at least four hours. If you wait more than twenty-four hours, the wings will be overly salty.

Just remember to shake the wings a couple of times in the fridge or flip the zip lock bag over.

Chicken wing seasoning

Whatever method you choose to cook your wings, they will need some seasoning for optimal taste.

Remove them from the brine and thoroughly dry them with paper towels.

I discovered a technique to make these wings with a highly juicy interior and a very crispy outside by combining a simple spice mix with a terrific ingredient that promotes crunchy skin. Baking powder, specifically aluminum-free baking powder, is that ingredient. If it contains aluminum, your food may get a tinny flavor.

So combine all of the seasoning ingredients for 2 pounds of wings.

Toss the wings in a big bowl with approximately half of the seasoning, then add the rest of the seasoning and toss to ensure each wing is well covered.

The wings are ready to cook.

How to cook the wings after a wet brine?

You’ve wet brined your wings overnight and are ready to fry them.

Deep frying (or smoking then deep frying), baking in the oven, grilling over direct heat, or barbecuing with high indirect heat are the most popular options.

I favor the later of these two possibilities. Cooking chicken wings indirectly with high heat yields a more succulent end product, and we don’t want to risk drying them out now that we’ve spent all this time preparing them to be juicy.

My go-to grill for wings is usually a Weber Kettle; they cook chicken very well, and when combined with a vortex that enhances the high indirect heat, the wings cook much quicker but without the danger of burning that you get with a direct heat source.

What you’ll need to cook brined chicken wings

This is dependent on the kind of grill you want to use. Here is the equipment I used:

  • A 22 Weber Kettle
  • Heat proof gloves
  • Charcoal briquettes
  • Large container for soaking
  • Measuring cups
  • Instant read thermometer
  • A Charcoal Starter
  • A Vortex (optional, but helps the wings crisp up even more)

Setting up your grill for chicken wings

You will need a 22 Weber Kettle (although you could use an oven and use the same durations and temperatures), but cooking outdoors really adds another aspect to the whole experience, which is why we are here.

Fill a charcoal starter halfway with charcoal briquettes and ignite them.

Make a vortex in the center of the charcoal grate and pour the briquettes into it after they’re all lit.

Put the grill in the Weber and close the top. Allow the grill to warm up for 10 minutes by fully opening all of the vents. During this time, the temperature on the grill will rise to 465°F.

When the grill is hot, arrange the chicken wings along the outside edge of the cooking grate, where the intense indirect heat is pushed.

In about 30 minutes, the wings will be done when your instant-read thermometer registers an interior temperature of 165F. When hot air is driven to the side of the kettle that the lid vent is on, it creates a hotspot. I suggest rotating the cover a third of the way every 10 minutes during cooking to ensure equal cooking for all of the wings.

When the wings have achieved the desired internal temperature, take them from the grill and set aside for 5 minutes to cool.


Is it worth brining chicken wings?

Brining not only results in a moister, more tender wing, but it also adds taste to the meat and skin, making the effort necessary to consume the little portions with little flesh worth it.

What should I soak my wings in?

A standard brine ratio for meat is 1 cup salt to 1 gallon water, or about 6.25% salt. Why is salt used? Salt aids in the tenderization of meat in two ways. To begin, soaking beef in a saltwater solution aids in water absorption.

What to season chicken with after brining?

After brining, remove the chicken, dump the brine, and rinse it inside and out with cool water. Place it on a dish, pat it dry, and refrigerate it for an hour to dry the skin. Remove from the refrigerator one hour before roasting. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

Do you rinse brine off chicken before cooking?

After brining the chicken, take it from the solution, rinse off the excess salt, and pat it dry inside and out with a paper towel. This step is critical because it keeps the chicken from steaming in the oven, which results in an undesirable flavor and texture.

What is the formula for brine?

A brine’s fundamental salt-to-water ratio is 4 tablespoons kosher salt for 1 quart (4 cups) of water. Reduce the quantity to 3 tablespoons if using fine table salt.

Do you wash chicken after brining?

What to Do With the Brined Meat. Remove the meat from the brine and blot it dry with a paper towel when the necessary period of time has passed. Unless you mistakenly brined it for too long, you won’t need to rinse it with new water. Cook the meat according to your preferred recipe.

What is the best cooking method for wings?

Richmond Flores’ preferred technique involves marinating the wings and then steaming them before frying. He claims that this process gives incredible taste and tenderizes the meat, but more crucially, the steaming helps render the fat from the skin, allowing the wings to crisp up properly.

What does soaking chicken wings in baking soda do?

Because baking soda is alkaline, it elevates the pH level of chicken skin, breaking down the peptide bonds and accelerating the browning process, resulting in browner and crispier wings than would otherwise occur. (If it makes you feel better, we have no idea what it means, but it works!)

How to get flavor into chicken wings?

Prepare the meat by marinating it.

While brining adds flavor to the meat, there’s another technique to get tremendous flavor out of those chicken wings: marinade them! Toss them with a little spicy sauce and melted butter once they’ve dried from the brine.

Does brining chicken add too much salt?

Nope. The saline content of brine has nothing to do with how salty the final product will be; it’s far more scientific than that. Salinity, depending on its strength, partly dissolves the tough muscle fiber in meat, making it soft.

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