Tuesday, 20 October 2009

WK's Brine-Dry-Grill Wings

It's that sad time of year again . . . when the air is more frigid than crisp, the leaves are changing colour or are dead, and BBQ season is coming to an end. For many of you lucky soul's out there you can continue to grill through winter; either you're a) crazy dedicated and have cleared snow on your back deck or b) you live in a moderate climate and are not affected by snowfall.

I, on the other hand, are at the mercy of a condo board, who arbitrarily close our building's terrace, thus cutting off my access to a charcoal pit for months and months. Sad, because I'd be out in the snow if I could.

There's no snow yet, and actually, the past few days have been sunny and in the double digits - perfect to get in one last grilling. I search through the freezer to clear it out and find something to grill: miscellaneous sausages. But that's not enough for a final grilling. So I got some wings too.

The key to good chicken wing grilling is a brine. So Monday afternoon I brine up my wings. I'm all excited when bam! Life shows up just before grilling time and I have to go. Now I'm not going to be able to grill after all. But my wings are in the brine - they can't stay there until tomorrow - what do I do? I go to my trusty Chowhound's and ask for their advice. User ChristinaMason is quick to respond that I should be fine just draining the wings. Then powderhound joins in and brings up air-drying the wings in the fridge. That sounds like a good idea. MrsCheese reaffirms that air-drying should be the way to go. OK, that's what I'm going to do and let's see how well it goes in just a few steps.

Monday, 3pm

Very simple. Mostly water. Added some vinegar, salt, pepper and the last of a commercial bottle of Buffalo Wing sauce.

The Brine does not look pretty, but it gets the job done.

Monday, 7:30pm

Wings have been drained of Brine. They are then placed on a rack, over a pan I have lined with plastic wrap (to reduce washing but increase environmental destruction). Into the fridge to await tomorrow.

Tuesday, 6pm
Arrive at patio. Notice that picnic tables, chairs and all comforts of terrace are no longer available. Charcoal chimney is set up and in no time we have burning coals. Hot hot burning coals.

TUESDAY, 6:15pm
Wings are applied to the grill. I like grilling the wings at high heat, flipping frequently.

Brined chicken wings are coming along nicely. So are the sausages. Ooooh yeah!

Tuesday, 6:38pm
Wings are basically done. Now its time to apply our sauce. I'm using my homemade Husker BBQ Sauce. Don't apply to early or it will burn. Flip after 2-5 minutes, mop other side. Flip again after 2-5 minutes and mop again. Plate it up and consume quickly.

The final product. LJ was wanting them not to saucy, so they are relatively 'dry' when served. Oh the sausage (put on a bun) was good too.

These turned out decently. I didn't find the chicken as moist as when I use a brine and cook immediately after. The skin wasn't as crispy as I thought the air-drying method would produce. The sauce wasn't as strong as I would have liked (again, I prefer saucy, but you gotta go with what the customer wants :p) but the caramelized bits on the skin were good.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I enjoyed the wings, but not immensely so. I mean, they were wings, and the grilling flavour is good. But I just like the skin that deep frying produces over grilling. I still need more practice grilling wings, and thanks to rainy summers like 2009 and a closing balcony, I won't be getting a chance for many many more months. Sigh.

But thanks Chowhounders for your help!

Anyone else got any other ideas of what I could have done?


Chris said...

I was surprised too, that the air drying didn't produce a crisper skin. Odd. I am 100% in agreement on brining wings though, it makes a difference.

I JUST read another wing recipe for the oven that you might want to try:


I know it's not a hot wing, but I also know you sometimes like something a little different.

Teena in Toronto said...

Thankfully we have access to our BBQ all year 'round (we have a gasline to it).

Swordsman said...

I find if you cook them at a lower heat but longer it gives the sking time to crisp up.

Lord of the Wings said...

Chris - Brine is the way to go. The Sticky Wings do sound good . . .

Teena - lucky you!

Swordman - I will have to try that . . . next year when I can grill again!

Anonymous said...

I would of just left them in the brine. I brine all my poultry at least 24 hrs (whole chicken, whole turkey, chicken breasts, turkey breast, wings...) sometimes it will be in the brine for up to 3 days before I can get back to repackaging (foodsaver) and get it in the freezer. After the brining of wings pat them dry and cook on a med-high grill (not blazing). This gives them time to cook without burnng the skin, if you want a crispy skin try spritzing lightly with a diluted vinegar (w/ water) solution, or if you like em warm use Tabasco instead of the vinegar or a pleasing (to you) mix thereof. When done, put in a bowl pour your desired sauce over and toss.