Chicken legs and wings are excellent for baked chicken because the dark meat does not dry out by the time the chicken skin is cooked to a crisp. But wet, soft chicken skin on baked chicken, oily to the touch, is unappetizing, not something you want to sink your teeth into. Brining is one cooking strategy that makes great baked chicken legs and wings. Advance planning is necessary, however, as using this method takes at least two days to prepare your chicken.
Rinse the chicken under running water then set aside in a large bowl.
Make one batch of brine per pound of chicken by mixing 4 cups of cold water, ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. of kosher salt, ¼ cup of table salt and a ½ cup of granulated sugar in a large container with a cover. Double or triple the brine recipe as needed to completely cover the chicken.
Soak the chicken legs and wings in the brine for at least one hour per pound of chicken, but no more than eight hours.
Drain the chicken in a colander.
Place a metal baking rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
Arrange the chicken over the baking rack, ensuring there is space between each piece of chicken.
Use heavy-duty paper towels to pat the chicken dry, on the top and bottom of each piece.
Place the rack with the chicken, uncovered, in the refrigerator, and leave it there overnight. This lets the moisture on the surface of the chicken evaporate.
Take the chicken out of the refrigerator at least 90 minutes before cooking. This allows it to bake quickly and prevents the meat from drying out in the oven.
Line another baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Place a wire baking rack over the baking sheet and set aside.
Beat three eggs in a medium, wide-rimmed dish, and set aside.
Pour panko breadcrumbs into another wide-rimmed dish. Mix in your favorite dry seasonings with the breadcrumbs. Use the bottom of a coffee cup to crush the breadcrumbs slightly, so you can thoroughly incorporate the seasonings.
Dip the chicken legs and wings into the eggs, then into your breadcrumb mixture.
Arrange the chicken on the baking rack, ensuring there is space between each piece.
Bake the chicken for about 45 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the meat is pricked.
- “Cooking Essentials”; Cooking Club of America; 1997