The Pro-Approved Secret Ingredient For The Best-Tasting Wings

Plate of chicken wings
Plate of chicken wings - Joraca/Shutterstock

If you're a fan of Southern cooking, then you're no stranger to crispy fried chicken wings. Regardless of whether you enjoy authentic buffalo wings or other versions, a major part of what makes this meal so tasty is the seasoning. And with tons of different options out there, ranging from spicy to sweet, it can be tough to know what to use to get the best outcome possible.

To provide a few suggestions that will take your simple chicken wings to the next level, the Daily Meal spoke with Stephen Parker, corporate executive chef at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, in an exclusive interview. He explained that the key is to get creative with your seasoning and even suggested marinating wings in leftover pickle juice which imparts incredible flavor. Parker also recommended playing around with either wet or dry brines to give your favorite chicken wings recipe an edge.

Read more: 15 Tricks For Making The Most Crispy Chicken Thighs Ever

Why It's Important To Add Acid To Chicken Wings

Marinating chicken wings
Marinating chicken wings - Candice Bell/Shutterstock

When it comes to soaking your chicken wings in leftover pickle juice, Stephen Parker explained that it's "considered a marinade because of the introduction of acid." Marinades are typically made of acid, oil, and flavorings, which play a special role in creating tastier cuts of meat.

This is because acids denature the proteins in the meat, which creates pockets where the sauce can soak into the meat and impart flavor. The oil also plays a role in giving the protein its flavor and helps lock moisture in, making for a juicier wing. Besides these functions, the acid also helps to tenderize your wings, creating a softer bite.

Parker said that you don't have to go with regular kosher pickles and that half-sour pickles work just as well. They still have acid in them but aren't as sharp-tasting, adding different flavor notes to your meal. You can also play around with other types of pickle juice, such as herby dill pickle brine or a sweet butter pickle brine.

Experimenting With Different Of Brines For Chicken Wings

Raw wings on a cutting board
Raw wings on a cutting board - gowithstock/Shutterstock

While pickle juice can work wonders for creating a tasty marinade, that's not the only way to season your wings. "Another option would be a dry brine with a flavored salt or kosher salt, and coarse black pepper," explained Stephen Parker. "This dry brine would help the skin dry during the brining process, making it easier to achieve a crispier exterior." Dry brines work with the natural moisture in the chicken, with the salt in them drawing out those juices. Then, over time, they get absorbed back into the meat to create a moist and juicy wing.

Besides the dry brine method, Parker said, "A wet brine (utilizing water, salt and sugar, for example) could also work, but this would increase the cook time to get a crispy finish." So, if it's crunchier style wings you're after, the dry brine method or a marinade might be the better pick. Whichever option you go for, you've now got plenty of ways to infuse your chicken with flavor and get the tastiest bite.

Read the original article on Daily Meal