Brining Chicken Wings

events brined wings

Brining is an age-old method of enhancing the flavor and quality of proteins. Traditionally, it’s a salt and water mixture, but other spices or flavorings can be added.

Why brine? It has a lot of advantages – key among them is adding flavor. Let’s face it, some proteins, like chicken, just don’t have that much favor be themselves. Brining adds a savory kick to the food, enhancing the flavor.

Besides adding flavor, brining also increase liquid absorption by the food, making for a juicier end product. It can also help dissolve some muscle fiber, resulting in a more tender final dish. Kitchn.com has a fascinating article on the science behind brining. It’s worth a read.

We took on chicken wings for our brining day.

sugar for brining

The Brine Recipe

  • 1 Gallon Water
  • ¾ Cup Salt
  • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • Chicken Wings – separated Jumbo size Party Wing (Restaurant Depot)

The Brining Process

  1. Combine ingredients and stir until all grains are dissolved. (*Note – if using warm/hot water, please be sure to allow mix to completely cool before adding to chicken wings. Lukewarm water and raw poultry are a MAJOR foodborne illness risk). This is enough brine for approximately 20 lbs of wings.
  2. Add wings to a large container. Pour brine, making sure all wings are submerged.
  3. Store brined wings in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours. Wings can be brined overnight.

Once brined, the wings are ready for the desired cooking process. Here are a couple we really liked!

sam brining wings
wings brining in bath
pouring brining water

Staged, then Fried

Our equipment for this portions was a CVap® Cook and Hold Oven and a Collectramatic® Fryer. Both are built by Winston Foodservice.

The Staging Settings

  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Vapor Temp Range: 190-200°F
  • Air Temp Range: 200-220°F

The Process

  1. Place wings on a rack lined full sheet pan, single layer and spaced. The rack elevates the wings off the pan. This elevation, combined with good spacing, allows the wings to cook more evenly.
  2. Check product temperature as it approaches one hour mark. Full staged wings should have an internal temperature between 165-175°F.
  3. Deep fry at 350°F for approximately two minutes. We were targeting a 200F endpoint temperature.

The staged/fried wings had a crispy skin texture and a tender, juicy bite. The brine gave them a nice seasoned and savory flavor.

wings in fryer basket
smoked wings

Smoked Wings

We smoked the wings in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven, using Winston’s Smoker Box and mixed wood pellets.

Smoker Program

  • Cook Time: 60-90 minutes
  • Vapor Temp Range: 170-180°F
  • Air Temp Range: 320-330°F
  • Smoker Box Timer: 60-90 minutes (reflect the cook cycle)

Place wings on a rack lined full sheet pan, single layer and spaced. The rack elevates the wings off the pan. Combined with good spacing, it allows the wings to smoke more evenly. Endpoint temperature of the wings should be between 180-190F.

The finished smoked wings had a firm skin texture. The bite was smokey, juicy, and perfectly seasoned.

Chef Sam shows what RTV Retherm Ovens can do.
About The Author

Winston’s Corporate Research Chef Samantha Brown is an industry veteran. She holds two culinary degrees, and has nearly 20 years of foodservice experience. She’s even appeared on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

SDBrown@winstonind.com

The Perfect Turkey in CVap

perfect turkey
perfect turkey

It is easy to cook the perfect turkey in a CVap® oven. There are so many sensory delights to appreciate in a properly roasted turkey. The skin should have a consistent golden brown hue. The perfect turkey has a crisp texture that is audible when met with a knife. The breast meat should be tender and juicy while the dark meat should be succulent and toothsome. The aroma should be rich and intoxicating, filling the kitchen with a scent that is tangible and evokes memories of Thanksgiving or holiday feasts.

Brining is an option many cooks exercise, though we don’t do it every time we roast a turkey. When we do, a couple of our favorite concoctions include:

sugar
paprika
granulated garlic
granulated onion
peppercorns
salt

thyme
rosemary
Italian parsley
bay leaves
aromatics (onion, celery, carrot)
water

To Brine or Not to Brine?

The benefit of brining a perfect turkey is to impart additional flavor to the bird and to add moisture. Of course, if the turkey is cooked correctly, brining is unnecessary! In the tests we did for this post, the birds were not brined. Nor were they stuffed. While stuffing a turkey may be a tried and true part of cooking a Thanksgiving feast for many, we discourage the practice. In order to get the stuffing inside the bird to a safe endpoint temperature, you risk sacrificing the moistness of the white meat by overcooking it.

brining perfect turkey

The Science of a Perfect Turkey

In one test, we roasted a 10 lb. turkey in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven (CAC) with the Food Temperature set at 190°F, Browning Level at 8 (new CVap setting would be 190°F Vapor temp/290°F Air temp). We cooked it for three hours with Constant Cook ON.

In another test we cooked a bird in a CAC at 180°F with a Browning level of 6 (new CVap setting would be 180°F Vapor temp/230°F Air temp) for five hours with Constant Cook ON. As you can see, this test yielded skin that was not as brown or quite as crisp as the other test.

An alternative suggestion might be to cook a turkey at 175 + 0 to end point doneness and then either flash fry or flash roast it to brown and crisp up the skin. Using this method will yield extremely tender and juicy meat.

No matter which of these methods you use, the moral to this story is that a perfectly cooked turkey is something to be very thankful for!