Should You Brine Chicken Wings (+ Super Simple Brine Recipe)

There are plenty of reasons to like chicken wings. 

They are affordable, delicious, and one of the most popular party foods!

But how can you make chicken wings taste even better? 

Brine them!

So should you be brining your next batch of wings? Yes, you should brine your chicken wings it adds flavor and them more tender. 

You might find making your first brine tricky! So follow along for my simple but flavorful brine recipe for chicken wings.

What Is Brine?

In basic terms, brine is just a mixture of water and salt. But to give your food a more rounded flavor, there are often other spices included.

Below are some basic ingredients to consider for your chicken wing recipe:

  • Brown sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • White pepper / black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • A gallon of water

So how much salt is needed? The water to salt ratio varies. But the rule of thumb is, that your brine must have about 3.5% salt concentration making it at least as salty as the ocean water.

When you combine this saltwater solution with other brine ingredients, you will end up with more moist and flavorful chicken wings.

What Brining Does For Wings

Brining your chicken wings comes with loads of additional flavor, we also use a dry brine for our Thanksgiving turkey. Each of the ingredients in your brine mixture plays a vital role.

Soaking your chicken wings in salt water soluble helps in two ways.

First, it allows the pieces of meat to absolve water (the law of osmosis).

The wings absolving enough water will give you a juicier final product.

Secondly, the salt content works to unwind the meat’s coiled muscle fiber. That helps to give you meat that is more tender, and easy to cut and chew.

While it is optional to add sugar in brines, it also contributes tons of flavor to the meat. It helps to achieve tasty wings with crispier skin that are more enjoyable. That applies to all other ingredients in the brine recipe.

Why Should You Brine Wings?

Although chicken wings are usually juicy and tender naturally.

However, brining them enhances maximum flavor and helps any added seasoning penetrate deep inside out.

Another great thing is that, after brining, your juicy meat will not dry out whether you grill, fry, or bake them.

So regardless of the cooking method you use, brining ensures those added flavors will stay locked in throughout the cook.

Brining Your Chicken Wings Vs. Other Methods

Asides from the regular marinade and rub that most BBQ enthusiasts tend to go for, brining is another excellent solution to infuse your meat with amazing flavors.

Now, hear me out, rubs and marinades are great. But soaking your meat in brine is something you should try out if you haven’t already.

Do that, and your next batch of chicken wings will be your best ones ever.

We breakdown the difference between brines and marinades here.

How To Brine Chicken Wings?

Brining chicken wings is quite easy, but it is critical to get all measurements right and apply them well.

So here is a guide on how you should brine chicken wings. It has the exact measurements you should look to use for one pound of chicken wings.

Ingredients

  • 950 milliliters/ 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 45 milliliters/ 3 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • One pound of chicken wings
  • Larger container or bowl

Method

  • In a large bowl, combine the salt and sugar in water so that the sugar and salt can dissolve.
  • In another smaller bowl, add the black pepper, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Also, you may include other ingredients based on your personal preference. For example, garlic powder, fresh thyme, a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of lemon juice, etc.
  • Mix all these flavor components well to combine.
  • Once done, pour the vinegar and pepper mixture into the sugar and saltwater solution – then add your wings.
  • Make sure to combine your meat and brine solution thoroughly to submerge. Use a plastic wrap to cover the bowl, or you can choose to pour the content into a plastic bag.
  • Either way, place it in the refrigerator and leave it to sit there for about 2 – 4 hours.
  • Once you take the wings out, pat them dry and continue the cooking process with your preferred method. You can opt to grill, bake, smoke, or fry your brined wings.

Brine For Chicken Wings

Brining your chicken wings comes with loads of additional flavor. Each of the ingredients in your brine mixture plays a vital role.
Prep Time10 mins
Resting Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 10 mins
Course: Dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Barbecue
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 125kcal
Author: Charlie
Cost: 3

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tbs cider vinegar
  • 3 tbs salt
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 3 tbs red pepper flakes
  • 1 lbs chicken wings
  • Larger container or bowl

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the salt and sugar in water so that the sugar and salt can dissolve.
  • In another smaller bowl, add the black pepper, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Also, you may include other ingredients based on your personal preference. For example, garlic powder, fresh thyme, a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of lemon juice, etc.
  • Mix all these flavor components well to combine.
  • Once done, pour the vinegar and pepper mixture into the sugar and saltwater solution – then add your wings.
  • Make sure to combine your meat and brine solution thoroughly to submerge.
  • Use a plastic wrap to cover the bowl, or you can choose to pour the content into a plastic bag.
  • Either way, place it in the refrigerator and leave it to sit there for about 2 – 4 hours.
  • Once you take the wings out, pat them dry and continue the cooking process with your preferred method.
  • You can opt to grill, bake, smoke, or fry your brined wings.

As you can see, brining your chicken wings would give them a better taste and flavor.

When next you have a batch of frozen wings, consider using the brine recipe provided earlier in the article.

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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