Why You Should Consider Salting Your Chicken Wings In Advance

Chicken wings are one of the most popular snack foods in the United States (via Eat This, Not That!). They're perfect for parties — in fact, on Super Bowl Sunday, one of the biggest gathering days of the year, Americans now reportedly consume more than a billion of them, per Agri-Pulse.

Wings can be customized in so many ways, from dry rubs to flavorful sauces. And while the practice of eating them has seemingly been around for as long as people have been eating chickens, the National Chicken Council claims that their popularity truly took flight after Buffalo, New York's Anchor Bar invented the buffalo wing in 1964. The dish became increasingly common at restaurants and bars because they were a cheap appetizer that patrons would often order with beer. Plus, the wings being more or less a blank flavor canvas left plenty of room for creativity. Soon, restaurants started developing their own dry rubs, breading recipes, and sauces to serve with the wings, which made them an even more ubiquitous dish. Though there are plenty of ways to add flavor to wings, one thing you should consider doing prior to cooking is salting them.

Use a dry brine to infuse flavor

One of the best ways to add even more flavor to your wings is to salt them prior to cooking. Bon Appétit reports that salting the wings, or creating what's known as a dry brine, is a great way to infuse flavor into the meat without adding the moisture that comes with the traditional brining process. Using a dry brine for the chicken also creates a better end result because the salt will draw moisture from the skin, helping to brown and crisp the bird. It's recommended that the salt has enough time to properly dry the chicken, so if using this method, it's best to place the brined chicken in the refrigerator for at least an hour, though Bon Appétit recommends letting them sit for a full 24 hours.

For those interested in giving this technique a try, make sure not to brine the chicken for too long, though. Otherwise, the salt might start to draw moisture from the meat, rather than just the skin, making for some dry and stringy wings. The 24-hour time frame is plenty. After that, how you dress up your wings is your call.