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Brining Chicken Wings

By September 17, 2007

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Brining Poultry is a great way to add moisture to chicken or turkeys before you cook them. Most people know this but many people are surprised when I tell them that I brine chicken wings. I guess most people just don't see the point, but this is a great way to not only give you a moister, more tender wing, but to add flavor as well. What I do is mix a small amount of vinegar with red pepper flakes and add that into the brine. The vinegar breaks down the heat in the pepper flakes and the brine carries that flavor into the wings.

It works something like this:

  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

Combine the vinegar and pepper flakes. Combine the water and the salt. Add the pepper flake and vinegar mixture to the brine solution. Add up to 1 pound of chicken wings. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours. Remove chicken wings from brine and grill.

The amazing thing about this method is that the wings will be hot. Not overpoweringly spicy, but definitely hot. From here you can add your own sauce, seasoning or just leave them the way they are. It's a great way to make great chicken wings.

Photo 2007 Regarding BBQ Inc., licensed to About.com, Inc.

Comments

September 27, 2007 at 2:07 pm
(1) Richard Pointer says:

Can one achieve the same effect by marinading the wings in red hot saucue – straight or diluted?

April 3, 2010 at 5:47 pm
(2) Iced Henny says:

Sure can. Like you said you might have to dilute it a little. I’ve even stewed/simmered chicken wings in hot sauce. Yum!

August 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm
(3) Carl says:

red hot burns in a fryer so it’s not so good as a marinade unless you are baking/broiling your wings.

July 23, 2012 at 10:37 am
(4) Chris says:

I used this brine this weekend. Smoked the wings and drumsticks a little on my charcoal grill and then gave them some bbq sauce. Best wings ever! So nice not to just taste Tabasco but have heat just come from the meat. I may never make wings any other way. I bet they would be great baked it the oven too. Smoked two chickens the same day and I am thinking of brining a whole chicken using the above recipe. Thanks so much for this idea!

September 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm
(5) Chris says:

So I did a whole small chicken and then smoked it. Came out great. Shorted the brineing time by an hour and only used 5 tablespoons of pepper flakes in a double recipe. Will push both next time.

October 22, 2012 at 10:12 am
(6) Gerdman says:

My favourite is brining with just kosher and brown sugar. Then a good dredge in seasoned flour (salt, pepper, lowreys and sometimes paprika). I deep fry them for ~10 min. at 365F, drain and toss in a bowl of Frank’s Hot sauce and melted butter (1:1). After they’re fully coated they go onto the charcoal grill for about 2-3 min. until the sauce is ‘set’. Unbelievable!

Gary

November 7, 2012 at 5:00 pm
(7) marcus says:

+1 for gary! I do the same thing! except I fry them naked without flour.

Gary, try a 2 step Fry method.

1.) at 200 degrees to get cooked

2.) then a short bit at 400 to get crispy.

They will be perfectly crisp but melt in your mouth

June 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm
(8) adam says:

i would like to know if you can brine the wings in jalapeno juice to carry the heat into the wings?

September 15, 2013 at 3:16 pm
(9) Bob says:

I use the kosher salt / brown sugar method but for every 1/4
cup of salt I add a tablespoon of Worcestershire

January 30, 2014 at 12:16 pm
(10) Doug says:

Try crab boil instead of pepper flakes. Careful though, a little goes a long way.

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