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Chicken Wing Brine

Use this quick and easy chicken wing brine the next time you cook wings. This brine will keep them moist, juicy, and delicious!

Cooked chicken wings, wet brined and grilled.
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There’s no denying that the first item served at most cookouts are chicken wings. What if you could make them even better. How? By using this quick and easy chicken wing brine!

This brine will improve your grilled, smoked, baked, or air-fried chicken, and add a hint of extra favor. This recipe makes enough brine solution for 1 1/2-2 pounds of wings. Double or triple the recipe based on your needs. You can also use this wet brine for chicken thighs, drumsticks, or leg quarters.

Why you should brine chicken wings

Chicken wings are small and prone to drying on the grill or smoker. Placing then in a brine solution will add flavor, encourage plumping action that keeps them tender and juicy during cooking. This salty solution is fairly simple and the best part is that wings don’t require a long brine time.

SALT: Not all salt is created equally. In truth, we should be measuring salt by weight. For this recipe and all our brine recipes, we choose Morton Kosher salt. It is consistent in size and weight and dissolves well. The size of the crystal determines the amount of salt by volume. It is important to use this kosher salt rather than table salt or diamond crystal salt. 

Ingredients

  • Water: You’ll need hot water for this wing brine. You can boil it in a large saucepan and add your ingredients as you go.
  • Morton kosher salt: This recipe was developed using Morton kosher. For best results, we recommend using this brand. If using a different one, please consult the specific brand’s instructions for brine solutions.
  • White sugar: While salt contributes to the juiciness of the chicken, the sugar contributes to the rich brown color of the skin as it cooks.
  • Red wine vinegar: A subtle tart brightening aspect that works so well with chicken. Substitute with lemon or lime juice for a bright citrus undertone. You can also use pickle juice instead of red wine vinegar.
  • Black pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne: Three levels of subtle heat. Trust us, this combination is fire! In a good way of course.
  • Ice
  • Large plastic container with a lid, or a large resealable plastic bag.
  • Optional: More ingredients to add to this brine include one sliced orange or large lemon, 2-3 whole smashed garlic cloves, 1/4 teaspoon white pepper or, 2 bay leaves, 1-2 tablespoons dark brown sugar for a little extra caramelized sweetness, or 1 teaspoon of fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary. You do not need to use all of these ingredients, just mix and match them in addition to the base ingredients to build your flavor profile.
chicken wings in brine solution

How to make chicken wing brine

  • Simmer water in a large pot over high heat. Don’t bring it to a rolling boil, just a lively simmer. Reduce the heat to medium if needed.
  • Add salt and sugar and stir until dissolved; about 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and add vinegar, spices, and any additional items of your liking (see Ingredient section above).
  • Let the mixture cool completely. Add 1-2 cups of ice to help it along.

How to use it

  • Submerge chicken wings into the cold brine, cover tightly, and place them in a glass or plastic container in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
  • Our chicken wing brine recipe makes enough for 1 1/2-2 pounds of wings. So increase brine measurements if you are prepping a larger batch.
  • After the wings have brined, remove them from the solution and gently pat them dry with paper towels and season with a poultry rub made without salt. Cook as directed!

Cooking Brined Chicken Wings

We said to cook as normal. Whether you are grilling, smoking, baking, or frying, these chicken wings will cook just like unbrined wings. Use low salt seasoning and your favorite sauce. If you are using an air fryer, pat them dry with clean paper towels and place them into a bowl with a oil and seasonings. Toss to coat, and cook as directed.

Like this Chicken Wing Brine Recipe? Try these amazing wing recipes!

Brine for Chicken Wings

Brine for Chicken Wings

This brine adds moisture, and a little touch of spice to you chicken wings. After brining, season as you normally would, minus salt, and cook as you wish. This recipe makes enough for 1-1 1/2 pounds of chicken wings.
4.80 from 10 votes
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Course: Marinades/Brines
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: chicken wing brine, poultry brine
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 quart
Calories: 146kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 quart water
  • 1/4 cup Morton kosher salt (*see note below)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • In a large pot, bring water to a simmer, add salt and sugar. Stir through.
    Once dissolved, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in vinegar and spices.
    Let the mixture cool completely. Add 1 cup of ice to help it along.
  • Once the brine is cold, add chicken wings to brine mixture, making sure they are well submerged. Cover container or bowl and place into refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
  • Remove wings and pat any excess moisture off of the wings with paper towels.
  • Season wings with your favorite salt free rub and cook as directed.

Notes

SALT: Not all salt is created equally. In truth, we should be measuring salt by weight. For this recipe and all our brine recipes, we choose Morton Kosher salt. It is consistent in size and weight and dissolves well. The size of the crystal determines the amount of salt by volume. It is important to use this kosher salt rather than table salt or diamond crystal salt. 

Nutrition

Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 28479mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin A: 2821IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 3mg

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