No chicken comes out as succulent and tender as brined chicken. Whether you’re grilling chicken whole, preparing a skinless breast, or baking up chicken wings, brining makes all the difference between a tasty but rather averagely good meal and something that pops with flavor and the perfect texture throughout each and every last bite.
- 7 ½ Cups Water
- 1 ¼ Cups Kosher Salt
- 1 ¼ Cups Sugar
- ¼ Cup White Wine Vinegar
- ¼ Cup Distilled White Vinegar
- Get all the ingredients together.
- Dissolve the sugar into the water in a container large enough to mix everything easily.
- Dissolve the kosher salt.
- Blend in the vinegar.
- Lay up to four pounds of chicken wings evenly in a food storage box, brining container, or brining bag.
- Cover the chicken wings with the brine making sure they’re completely submerged.
- Place the chicken wings in their brine in the fridge and allow to soak for at least half an hour to an hour.
- Cook and enjoy your extra juicy wings!
What Is Brine?
Brine is a mixture of a high quantity of salt, sugar, and water used for seasoning and softening food to enhance its taste and tenderness. Although brine can refer to a dry or wet tendering blend, it almost always refers to a solution in which you soak meat. Most brines include additional acidic tenderizing agents like apple cider vinegar, vinegar, or Worcestershire sauce to improve the effectiveness and herbs or spices to grant additional flavor.
Why You Want To Try Our Simple Brine Recipe
Brining chicken wings firm up their texture while ensuring that every last piece of flesh is succulent and juicy. We’ve resorted to the optimal 15% saline solution with added sugar so that your wings come out brown and crispy on the outside while remaining soft and perfectly seasoned within.
If you don’t have distilled white vinegar on hand, simply add half a cup of white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar instead. The blend of 50/50 white wine vinegar and distilled white vinegar balances the flavor to just the right degree of acidity for white meat like chicken. Instead of sugar, feel free to add honey, corn syrup, molasses, or another sweetener. Keep in mind, each variety, especially honey and molasses, will impart a subtle flavor of its own to the chicken. Granulated white sugar dissolves the easiest and is the most neutral.
Our simple brine for baked chicken wings is ideal for getting your wings ready for homemade greek chicken wings or easy crispy sour cream and onion chicken. Once your chicken is brined, it is ready to be cooked in any way you prefer. Brining chicken will elevate all your favorite meals, making them even tastier and more succulent than before.
Brining chicken makes a massive difference to the flavor and tenderness. Every last piece of chicken stays juicy, reducing the risk of drying out even when incorrectly prepared. A good brine imparts very little saltiness and instead unlocks the flavor of the chicken.
When chicken and other meat undergo brining, meat becomes softer when cooked because of the way that muscle tissue cells are denatured by the salt, receiving deep hydration. Salt begins to enter the meat by means of diffusion, immediately changing the composition of the muscle fiber. Over 70% of meat’s volume consists of groups of protein filaments called myofibrils.
These myofibrils, which are made of approximately 80% water and 20% protein, swell to double their size or more when soaking in a salty brine. Water comes trapped in the extracellular space and area between myofibrils by means of capillary action, increasing its moisture content. Salt also interacts with protein, dissolving protein filaments that normally cook dense and tough leaving the meat more tender.
Sugar in a brine solution both balances out the salty flavor partially imparted to meat while assisting the Mailliard reaction while cooking, resulting in a better sear and richer browning reaction. Without adding sugar, the skin of your chicken wings will not reach the brown, crispiness preferred. Sugar is typically added to brine at an equal quantity to salt. Certain brines opt for even more sugar, as is popular for pork.
Chicken wings do not technically need to be brined, but they come out far better if you do. Even half an hour of bringing softens the otherwise chewy, slightly sinuous flesh of a chicken wing bringing out immense flavor. We suggest that you bring all chicken before use.
No, brine does not need to be boiled. Warm water does make dissolving the salt and sugar easier, but the water needs to cool down to an icy chill before use.
The only time that chicken will need to be rinsed off with clean fresh water is if it has accidentally been brined for too long. After brining the chicken, simply pat it dry, and it’s ready to cook. To get rid of all the excess moisture, leave the chicken wings, a whole chicken, or various chicken pieces on a paper towel atop a plate and place them uncovered in the refrigerator. Check the plate often while changing the paper as it becomes too damp. Within 30 to 60 minutes, brined chicken is completely free from moisture. Baked chicken wings don’t typically require this step but deep frying calls for a bout of thorough drying.
The brining period for chicken depends on what you’re bringing. Chicken wings are sinuous and particularly thin on flesh and call for no more than 30 minutes to 4 hours of brining at the most.
It is perfectly fine to bring a whole chicken overnight but brining chicken wings and other chicken pieces with or without the bone for extensive periods is not recommended. Over brining will make the flesh too salty and prevent the skin from cooking crispy and brown, giving it a chewy texture instead.
Mix up a brine using our recipe, and instead of soaking the chicken overnight, vacuum seal the wings or other chicken pieces into a packet with the solution. You’ll only need a little brine in the packet, roughly enough to fill it halfway with the wings in. Give the vacuum-sealed wings 30 minutes to an hour, and then remove and allow to drip dry on a plate. You’ll be blown away by the results. As little as an hour of brining does the same job as soaking the chicken over a period of 8 to 12 hours.