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
brine onto wings

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

Staged Wings in CVap

staged wings

Staged wings cook perfectly and juicy in less than eight minutes. Chicken wings in CVap® save time and labor, and taste great. Cooked and held in a CVap oven, they can be fried quickly for prompt service.

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chicken wings staged

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Asian-Style Wings

asian-style wings

Staging Asian-style wings was the perfect way to prepare a quick demo for local American Culinary Federation members. When you stage wings before frying, it shortens the cooking process and results in a juicier and tastier chicken wing. 

First, prepare your Asian-style marinade:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup water
asian-style wings

Asian-Style Wings Recipe

Place 10 lbs of 6-to-1 fresh wings in a 4″ full-size hotel pan. Cover with Asian marinade and marinate for a minimum of three hours.

asian-style wings
  1. Preset CVap Cook and Hold oven to 165°F vapor/166°F air and allow approximately 30 minutes to preheat.
  2. Remove wings from marinade and place on wire grid in a full-size sheet pan.
  3. Place wings in oven and process for one hour to reach a minimum temperature of 165°F.
  4. At this stage, the wings can be held and fried to order in an open vat fryer set at 350°F in just five minutes…or quick chilled and fried to order from refrigerated. Either way, you can effectively reduce your standard cook time by 50%! For this stage, we of course used one of our Collectramatic fryers.
  5. We finished the fried asian-style wings by tossing them in a simple sauce made with honey, sweet chile paste, and a secret ingredient. Delicious!