Actually Hot Wings | Like Buffalo Wings but Actually Spicy

Actually Hot Wings

Recently I have been hankering for some actually hot wings. Many of the recipes I have found taste great but don’t give me that burn I am looking for. Over the years I have desensitized myself to spicy things to the point where I tried some of The Pepper Palace’s ultimate hot sauce called simply The End.

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The End | 6,000,000 Scoville

The End has a rating of 6,000,000 Scoville, which is an insane number for hot sauce. There was one problem for me though. I signed the waiver. More of a marketing ploy than anything else I imagine but I tried it and didn’t freak out. Instead I carried out a conversation with my wife. She asked me if it was hot and I said “yeah.. it’s hot.” This was the hottest sauce I had ever tried and although it was hot, it wasn’t crazy. It was delicious and gave a nice burn but that is when I realized I would be chasing a dragon to get the kind of burn I want.

Don’t get me wrong I am not bragging. As anyone who loves hot food will attest you get desensitized to the heat. It isn’t, for me anyway, a situation where I have upped my pain tolerance. No, instead it is a point of not actually noticing/feeling the heat from sauces like Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. I notice a tang for sure. I love Frank’s. It is one of my favorites. If you are going to make Buffalo Wings it is a must.

Actually Hot Wings

This is the reason I came up with this Actually Hot Wing sauce. It keeps the flavor I love while adding the heat I love so much. The great thing is that the heat is scalable while almost perfectly maintaining the flavor of Hot Wings.

We start with cooking the wings with Alton Brown’s tried and true meathod of getting Wings that are both Crispy and Juicy at the same time.

Supplies to Make Actually Hot Wings

How To Make Actually Hot Wings

Separate Drummets, Flats and Wing Tips

First we need to process the wings in to their three parts. We have the drummets, the little drumstick looking piece. Then there are the flats. Which is the better piece is a hotly debated controversy but for me it depends on the day. The flats do always seem juicier to me and that is a good thing. Finally the tips. These are useless here but don’t throw those out. Keep them for stock they have a lot of flavor to lend to a good chicken stock. I always add the leftover tips to stock when I am making Ramen.

Start with a clean workspace and grab some kitchen shears. First remove the tips from the wings by snipping them off just past the joint and set aside. I find the easiest way to separate the flats from the drummets is to open them up then put your shears on either side of the joint then hold the wing in one hand like a crab cracker. While you gently squeeze the wing together it opens up a nice path for the shears to cut through.

Two cooking methods

Steaming Hot Wings

Per Alton Brown’s recipe we use two cooking methods. First we steam them and then bake them after they cool.

Steaming the Actually Hot Wings can be done in many different steamer options. I prefer bamboo steamers using the standard metal steamer works great too. I like the tiered design of bamboo steamers as you can add tiers to accommodate more food at a time without buying a bunch of hardware. Alton’s contraption is pretty cool though. The most important thing is to not overcrowd the steamer. You want the steam touching the whole wing.

Steam 10 Minutes

The steaming portion of the cooking process helps to seal the skin and get the cooking process.

Looking at the picture you can see the skin plumps up during the steaming process. Cooking in such a moist environment winds up locking in juices.

On to the cooling rack and in to the refrigerator for not less than an hour. During this time the wings lose their plumping and seal up, locking in those juices.

Baking the Actually Hot Wings

The second part of cooking is done in the oven at 425 degrees F for about 50 minutes flipping 20 minutes in. By steaming then cooling and finally baking we are effectively frying the wings in their own fat.
See How Crispy

This maintains great chicken flavor while keeping the whole process clean without the added cost of buying massive quantities of cooking oil.

Making the Sauce

Here is where spicy magic happens. Buffalo Wing sauce is pretty basic really. I have seen a lot of different recipes that range from 1 part butter to 3 parts Frank’s Red Hot Sauce to reversing that to 1 part Frank’s to 1 part butter. After trying these different quantities I have settled on quantities in between.

What it comes down to is fat content and heat. I found that 3:1 Frank’s to Butter wasn’t quite thick enough for me and 1:3 Frank’s to Butter didn’t have enough of the hot sauce flavor for me. For my recipe here I have settled on an almost 1:1 with just a little more butter than hot sauce. This gives me the flavor I want with the texture I prefer as well. For one batch I use 5 tablespoons of butter to 1/4 cup of Frank’s. Then I add in 2 teaspoons of minced garlic. At this point you have a pretty tasty sauce with a bit of a kick. Now it is time to up the fire.

A little goes a long way

I started by adding in a 1/4 teaspoon of The End hot sauce to the mix at a time. I found that 3/4 teaspoon gave me the heat I was looking for. You may want to add more or less depending on your preference. With that quantity of ultra hot sauce I found there was no meaningful change in the flavor profile while upping the burn level quite a lot.

Once you have the sauce at the level you want, salt to taste and you are ready to toss in your wings as soon as they come out of the oven.

Serve immediately with a side of Blue Cheese or Ranch and some Celery sticks to quench the flame. Actually Hot Wings are always better served fresh.

Printable Actually Hot Wings Recipe

Actually Hot Wings | Like Alton Brown’s but Hotter

Make Crispy Hot Wings with the traditional Buffalo Wing taste that is actually hot. This Recipe started by following Alton Browns Hot Wing Recipe but for me they needed more heat. To accomplish the same flavor with more heat the key is to use a hot sauce with a very high Scoville Rating. In this recipe we use The End Hot Sauce from Pepper Palace with a Scoville Rating of 6,000,000. A little goes a long way.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword Game Day Food, Game Day Snacks, Hot Wings, Snacks, Spicy
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Rest Before Baking 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4 People
Calories 450kcal
Author Aaron
Cost $20


  • Steamer
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Baking Rack
  • Lined Baking Sheet



  • 16 Whole Chicken Wings

Hot Sauce

  • 1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 tsp The End Hot Sauce 6,000,000 Scoville (or other extremely Hot Sauce) adjust to tolerance
  • 5 tbsp Melted Butter unsalted
  • 2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • Salt to Taste


  • Prepare Steamer with water below the bottom of the steamer
  • Separate wings into Drummets, Flats and Tips. Set tips aside for later to make stock
  • Steam wings in steamer for 10 minutes
  • Place Steamed wings on baking rack on a baking sheet in refrigerator for one hour. Be careful not overcrowd we want airflow here.
  • Preheat Oven to 425 degree F.
  • Bake Wings in Center Rack for 20 minutes then flip the wing pieces and bake for another 20-30 min.
  • During the last part of baking prepare your sauce by mixing melted butter, garlic and Frank's Red Hot Sauce in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the extremely hot sauce to the mix starting in 1/4 tsp quantities and tasting for tolerance. When using The End Hot Sauce I like what 1 full teaspoon does for the heat. You can always add more but the other direction is a bit tougher.
  • Remove wings from oven and toss in the Wing Sauce.
  • Serve Hot