When you’re ready to take your grilled wings to the next level, get ready to try this easy chicken brine recipe. With just a few ingredients, it couldn’t be easier to prepare. Here’s how to pickle chicken wings.
When it comes to chicken wings , many grillers tend to just grate or marinate and hope for the best. Don’t get me wrong, I love marinades and marinades, but I offer an even better way to flavor meat: brine.
Now listen to me here: I know that Sole intimidates a lot of people. With its relatively long preparation time and method, it is more work.
But the results are so, so good.
When done right, pickled meat is juicy and tender, and it’s a brilliant way to pack a lot of flavor into even the smallest meat.
Many people have a brine recipe that they like to refer to, but it’s also important to use it correctly, and it’s really important to get those measurements right.
Here I want to help you with a quick guide to pickling chicken wings, including my favorite ingredients and the exact measurements YOU should use.
What you need for the Chicken Wings Sole
Something is missing? Here are some quick Amazon links to help you
If you’d like to see other meat preparation guides, check out my guide to how long to pickle pork shoulder in brine .
Why should we salt chicken wings?
As you may know, curing is a meat preparation process that includes processes to prevent the meat from drying out. This is particularly important when grilling and smoking where meat is exposed to high temperatures for long periods of time, causing it to dry out.
This is even more important with chicken as it is a very lean meat with very little fat. As a result, it tends to go from juicy to dry in a matter of minutes.
Add to that the fact that wings tend to be less meaty than cuts like brisket and we get into a lot of trouble if we don’t prepare properly.
A prepared brine of water, salt, and spices can be mixed together and used to dip the chicken. Salt is a great way to help meat retain its juices and flavors. That means it stays nice and juicy and tender after cooking.
How Long Should You Cure Chicken Wings?
Chicken is a lean meat, so it takes much longer to cure than tied meats like pork. You can salt skinless chicken wings for a few hours, but to get the full real effect, it would take much longer.
I recommend salting the chicken at least overnight (8 hours), but I also suggest salting the entire 24 hours to get the most out of the brine.
What do you need for Chicken Wings Sole?
To make chicken wing brine you will need:
- Chicken wings (make sure they’re completely thawed. How to properly thaw chicken )
- Any liquid will do (beer, wine, vinegar, or fruit juice), but I’m quick to always choose good quality water. While you may intend to make a different flavor of brine with a different liquid, I think the water does a great job without taking too much of the flavors out of the meat. Use warm water.
- table salt or kosher. Make sure that it does not contain any additives, as this will affect the purity of your mixture. Because kosher salt has no iodine content, it can form clumps, making it ideal for pickling.
- A larger container. Avoid containers that can corrode in use. The best containers are usually made of plastic or stainless steel.
- In this case, a weight plate that keeps the meat in the water can work.
- Sugar _ This gives the meat a nice crispy appearance when roasting or grilling.
- optional extras. For example red pepper flakes, white pepper, black pepper. These additional flavors are down to personal preference, but as a bare minimum I tend to add black pepper.
Follow these six easy steps and you’ll have your buffalo wing brine a breeze.
Measure 2 cups per 1 pound of water
This is a very important step as YOU need to take some measurements about the liquid you are going to use. The amount of liquid you need depends on how many chicken wings you want to make. Too much and they become soft and difficult to cook, too little and they dry out very easily.
To best measure the amount of water you need, place the wings in a large bowl. Pour in warm water and stop once YOU have dunked the meat and it is about 3 inches above the top of the wings. You can then pour this water into a measuring container to use on your own when needed.
Quick Tip: A rough guideline is to use 6 cups of water for every 3 pounds of chicken wings.
Measure your salt
Many people say that 1:16 is the best base ratio of salt to water. However, what complicates our task is that different types of salt have different crystal content and therefore different weight. A cup of table salt weighs twice as much as a cup of kosher salt.
Instead, I recommend going by weight. 10 ounces of salt per gallon of water is my preferred guideline. Reduce the scale according to the measured amount of water and use it to calculate the required amount of salt.
Quick tip: If you have 6 cups of water, you’ll need a third cup of table salt or 1/2 cup of kosher salt.
Mix water, salt and sugar.
If the water is already measured out, add salt and sugar. Stir gently until all solid particles have dissolved. Also, remember to add sugar and stir gently until the solid particles are completely dissolved. The sugar will ensure your chicken develops a nice brown skin as it cooks.
Quick tip: Scale it down with about a third of a cup of white sugar.
Add your spices and herbs.
Everything makes a difference here. Add any selected spices and herbs. Mix together a quarter cup of white vinegar and red pepper flakes and pour this mixture into the water. Add one tablespoon of white pepper and two tablespoons of black pepper to your brine
Dipping chicken wings
Place the chicken wings in the brine. Move everything to a larger container if necessary. Make sure all meats are covered with water. You can use a plate to anchor the meat.
Put the container in the refrigerator and let it stand for a few hours.
Quick tip: leave it for 2 hours if your wings don’t have skin, or 4 hours if they still have skin.
Dry your wings
When you’re done salting, remove the chicken wings from the brine. Rinse thoroughly and gently pat the meat dry to remove excess liquid and salt.
Dry cook meat by grilling or smoking. You can season as you like, but in my opinion, salt beef is better on its own.
Can you dry chicken wings in brine?
Well, great! I’ve typically only used dry brine for larger cuts of meat (like whole turkeys). This is because it is much cleaner and less dirty due to the lack of water. For smaller cuts of meat like wings, I prefer to think that soaking in a moist brine helps processes penetrate the meat’s skin and flesh more thoroughly.
I think there’s a good case for dry-cured chicken wings. Simply rubbing with salt without water dries out the skin, resulting in a nice crispy golden skin on the wings after cooking.
Can I salt beer?
Absolutely! As with marinades and dressings, there’s plenty of room to experiment with the brine you use. While my recipe here is my go-to pick for seasoned chicken wings, beer is a great ingredient for a brine.
Char-Broil has a great salted beer recipe that uses beer, salt, and brown sugar. tries is!
Feeling ready to step out of your comfort zone and try pickled meat? This cooking technique isn’t as difficult as it sounds, so I’m looking forward to seeing you try it and be sure to let me know what you think!
What do you like included in your pickle? Do you prefer something spicier? Or more salt? What is your favorite cooking method?