Pickle Brined Chicken Wings

by Karyl Henry of KarylsKulinaryKrusade.com

Chicken wings are high on my appetizer favorite list. Well, let’s be honest, they are high on my food list in general.

For years, I bought pre-seasoned wings at the grocery store. And that’s because I never even knew that you could even buy raw wings at the grocery store until a couple of years ago. Yes, you read that right. And I’m totally embarrassed to admit it.

When it comes to drumettes vs flats, I was a die-hard drumette girl for the longest time. To me, they were always meatier. But now I’m much less judgmental and just eat all the wings that are in front of me.

I also love Chick-fil-A sandwiches and the tangy bite of the marinade. I recently learned that it’s a pickle brine base so, of course, I had to try my hand at it. And in the spirit of healthier options, I decided to make Pickle Brined Chicken Wings

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

  • The chicken brines for a few hours, but you don’t get a harsh pickle flavor
  • You can bake or fry the wings
  • The seasoning mix adds a fabulous punch of flavor

Oh, these wings are so good! The brine gives the wings a nice tart bite, without being overwhelming. The seasoning mix complements the brine really well, adding even more flavor.

TIPS FOR THE PERFECT PICKLE BRINED CHICKEN WINGS

You can buy raw wings either fresh or frozen. I prefer frozen because the wings are meatier. And, when I want wings in a pinch, they’re right in the freezer and I can pop them in the oven almost immediately.

All you need for the brine is pickle juice and buttermilk. Yep, that’s it! Some stores sell pickle juice in large jugs, and you can use that. I can never find it, so I just use the juice from the jar of pickles .

BRINING TIP

Add frozen wings to a large Ziploc bag, pour in brine mixture, seal, and put into the fridge for 8-12 hours. The wings will thaw and brine at the same time. I use this method with perfect results for my Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs.

If you use thawed wings, brine them for 2-4 hours.

The brine adds wonderful flavor, and the seasoning mix takes it over the top. You can play around with the mixture to get your favorite spice combination, but you definitely need onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, salt, and black pepper.

WHAT’S THE BEST COOKING METHOD?

The choice here is all yours! No matter the method, drain the wings well and pat them lightly dry before adding the seasoning. This helps the seasoning adhere to the chicken and not fall off while it cooks.

BAKED:  You get all of the flavor with a fraction of the fat and calories and still get crispy skin. Yes, they take 30-35 minutes to bake, but I’m willing to wait.

FRIED:  You will want to add equal parts flour and cornstarch to the seasoning mixture for crispier skin.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can you use other cuts of chicken? Absolutely! You can use any cut of chicken and get the same perfect results.

What if I don’t have buttermilk? You can substitute regular milk, and I recommend adding a little bit of lemon juice to add a little more bite. I have not tried it with coconut, soy, or almond milk.

What if I forget to brine the chicken ahead? You can brine the chicken for 30 minutes in a pinch. You won’t get nearly as much flavor, but it’s still delicious.

Pickle Brined Chicken Wings from KarylsKulinaryKrusade.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs frozen chicken wings
  • 1/2 cup pickle juice
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

BRINE CHICKEN WINGS 8-12 HOURS AHEAD

  1. Pour 1/2 cup each of buttermilk and pickle juice into a bowl and whisk well to combine. Add the mixture to a large Ziploc bag, and add frozen chicken wings.
  2. Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal, and lay flat in the fridge for 8-12 hours to thaw and brine.

WHEN READY TO COOK

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano. Stir well to combine and set aside.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a baking rack on top of the baking sheet, and spray well with cooking spray.
  4. Transfer the chicken wings to a strainer and drain for 5 minutes. Pat chicken pieces lightly dry with paper towels.
  5. Add 1/2 of the seasoning mixture to a clean Ziploc bag, along with half of the chicken wings. Toss well to fully coat. Using tongs, transfer wings to the baking rack, spacing evenly apart. Repeat with the rest of the seasoning and remaining wings
  6. Bake wings for 30-35 minutes, until done.

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