Straightforward and simple, this brine work great for frying all of the delicious parts of the chicken, as well as with grilling, sautéing, and any other type of cooking you can conceive of! Give this soaking method a try and I guarantee you won’t regret it when you and your guests are devouring tender, juicy piece after tender, juicy piece of your succulent fried chicken.
Difference You Can Taste
I am of the opinion that invoking even the slightest (and cheapest) improvements into one’s dishes can yield a heaping ton of difference into one’s outcome! Therefore, I consider it folly to undersell the helpful and useful practice of bringing one’s chicken wings before engaging in the cooking process!
Why Brine Chicken Before Cooking?
Why do we brine our chicken? In short, it imparts flavor into and tenderizes the poultry before we do any of our seasoning or cooking.
There are a number of techniques for imbibing flavor into a cut of meat, however, brines will add a nice, but mild, salty flavor to the chicken while helping to break down the collagen holding the meat together. When combined with certain cooking processes, like the double frying method, you end up with a product that is literally dripping in its own juices.
Why Brine Chicken Instead of Marinating?
Marinating and brining are very similar soaking methods wherein your food is set into a mixture of specific liquids and spices in order to imbue flavor, cause chemical changes to the food, and otherwise prepare it for the harshness of the cooking process in order to smooth out the end result, should you mess up along the way.
marinating typically involves the use of heavily acidic ingredients, which result in the enhancement of the flavors of foods. In order to visualize the difference between the two, imagine that, with a marinade, you are trying to use the cut of meat as a vehicle for the flavors that you are imbibing into it (such as the orange juice or buttermilk). With the marinade, you will likely end up with food tasting significantly more like the soaking ingredients than with a brine.
Similarly, visualize the brine as a way to imbibe seasonings and tenderness, however the overall result of the brine is not mask the flavors and properties of the food.
Of course, the brine will add flavor. However, the brine will not dominate the flavor palette, and will still benefit the meat throughout its cooking process, however that may be!
Therefore, we can brine or marinate our meat and result in a tasty meal, however in this case, we want to brine so we can add seasoning and sauces to our chicken afterwards without disturbing its flavor through our cooking process.
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How to Brine your Chicken
Although this recipe is quite simple, please realize that most missteps in the kitchen come from either using improper tools for the job, or from not having the right tools on hand to complete the task. For example, when I first made this brine recipe, I used a tiny little bowl which sloshed around, leaving my counter top covered in sticky, briny chicken juice (gross, right?).
Afterwards, I resolutely went to Amazon in order to purchase something that I had had my eye on for awhile, but had never pulled the trigger on for whatever reason (probably laziness). I bought hearty set of stainless steel mixing bowls which I absolutely love!
Emphatically, I can say these have been my favorite purchase in the last six months, evidenced by the fact that I use them every single time I cook. Did I mention that they are highly versatile and can do almost anything you want them to? Plus, they are highly durable and can be used for hot dishes, like coating chicken wings right out of the fryer, without worry. And, cleanup is easy since the steel is slick and will not cling to messy foods.
How Long Should I Brine My Chicken?
Can you brine chicken too long? Can you brine your chicken too little? How long should I brine my chicken for? All important questions which I hope to answer here.
Importantly, you are likely wondering how long you should brine your wings, thighs, breasts and whatnot in order to maximize your flavor contribution! Plus, if you are like me, you may also be asking yourself how short is absolutely necessary to brine your chicken so that the brine has any effect.
Therefore, in my experience, you will want to brine your chicken for a maximum of 48 hours for wings, and 4-6 hours for your larger cuts (thighs and breasts, typically). The reason being, that since there is more meat on the larger pieces of the chicken, then they will soak up more of the salt, and may actually make the chicken inedible or simply too salty.
However, since the wings have less meat, they take to the salt really well, and you can actually incorporate the briny flavors into them for much longer! As a result, you may want to separate your batches of brine mixtures if you plan on putting a whole chicken through your brine. But, if you simply want to extrude your larger pieces of meat earlier than the smaller ones, be my guest!
Additionally, please note that you should be letting your chicken brine for at least 2 hours in order to let that poultry soak up all of the goodness you’ve worked so hard to concoct for it! In fact, any less than that and you risk not seeing much of an impact.
However, this is a contentious point in cooking chicken, so realistically if you only have 30 minutes to brine, do that. Just know that longer, without taking too long, is usally better!
Is This Recipe Keto Friendly?
Unfortunately, after digging deeper, I have discovered that although soy sauce is low carb (about 1 gram of carbs per Tbsp of soy sauce), it is still not keto in the amounts utilized in this recipe! Also, you will probably want to know that sugar is also not keto friendly…in case you didn’t know!
Therefore, since this is a basic brine recipe, I will not expand further on this subject. But, please subscribe for my future posts where I will go into more detail on the subject of keto friendly Chicken Wing related recipes!
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Quick And Basic Brine Recipe Yields The Juiciest, Crispy Fried Chicken
- 2 Cup Soy Sauce
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1-2 Tbsp Kosher Salt You can alter this amount for your preferences
- 1 Gallon Water
- 6 Whole Chicken Wings
- Simply mix your ingredients in a bowl together prior to adding in your wings. Stir to dissolve all the sugar and salt wholly into the water.
- Then, carefully place your chicken into the brine, so that you do not splash your work space (or yourself) with the liquid! Additionally, mix the chicken into the brine so as to ensure even coating.
- Finally, cover your bowl with saran wrap or with tin foil and place it in your fridge for as little as 30 minutes (not recommended for all of the effort you’ve put into the process at this point!). However, I recommend, for thighs and breasts, 4-6 hours, and for wings up to 48 hours.