With Australia Day just round the corner, I have been racking my brain trying to create a recipe to serve up to my friends. After all, isn’t Australia Day all about kicking back in the sunshine with a cold beer in hand, barbecue sizzling away?
Then it hit me. How do you match the barbecue and the beer? Beer brined chicken wings, of course!
After going through pages of search results online, it seems that beyond the famous “beer butt chicken”, this avenue of chicken marinating may not have been thoroughly explored. But I did find out a couple of things:
If you want to marinate any sort of protein in a type of alcohol, you might want to consider burning off the alcohol first. An alcoholic marinade can cause a mushy exterior, which is not so great.
If you do want to marinate meats, salt is absolutely key. Salt reacts with the protein in the meat, and tenderises. Otherwise, marinades tend to pack all the flavour into the surface, which gives you the illusion of throughly flavoured meat, but doesn’t actually reach all the way through.
Spices are a great way of packing maximum flavour onto the meat and give you a bit of a crunch on the outside.
Armed with that information, I decided to create my own beer flavoured wings!
Beer Brined Chicken Wings (Serves 6-8)
1.6 kg Chicken Wings
For the brine
750ml Pale Lager (I used Toohey’s New, but you can use anything you fancy)
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup honey
7 tablespoons cooking salt
For the spice rub
4 tbsp garlic powder
4 tbsp onion powder
4 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp pepper
4 tbsp mustard powder
To make the brine, place the beer, honey and salt in a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Once the beer comes to the boil, turn it down to a low heat, or your stove will be covered in beer. Thinly slice the onion and peel and roughly smash the garlic cloves and add it to the brine. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Let it cool.
Add the chicken wings to a heavy duty freezer zip top bag. Add the cooled brine, push out as much air as you can, and seal the bag. Place the bag in a tray to catch any leaks, and marinate overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, add the spices to another zip top bag large enough to fit all the wings. Open the bag with the wings and drain in a colander. Add the wings to the bag of spices, and you can caramelise the onions as a side if you’d like.
Seal the zip top bag with the wings and spices, and shake/massage to mix it all up. Once the wings are coated, you can either grill it on the barbecue with a touch of oil, or you can bake it in the oven.
To bake the wings, preheat your oven to 180C. Add the the wings in a single layer to your roasting tray(s), and lightly spray with oil. This helps the spices to create a nice crust and not just burn on you. Then bake till the wings are gnarly and golden (this took me about 30 minutes), and serve up!
I especially enjoyed them dipped into some tzatziki – I made mine with home made yoghurt, inspired by the buffalo wings/blue cheese dip combo – and a squeeze of lime. But feel free to have them however you like!
How are you spending your Australia Day long weekend? What yummy food does it have in store for you? =)