Flaming Wing Sauce

wingsauceYet another great way to preserve tomatoes, especially when you are not in the mood for the usual suspects.  This recipe has the benefit of limited prep time; no peeling or food milling of the tomatoes required, not nearly as much chopping as a pasta sauce or salsa, and can be easily doubled or tripled if you have a lot of tomatoes on hand.  There is a long list of ingredients, but most of them are spices and the measuring and addition goes quickly.  Essentially, this sauce is just tomatoes, onions and whatever spice you want to throw at it – very simple, and yet, because of all of the different spices, you end up with a very complex and delicious sauce that can easily be tailored to your tastes.

This sauce has a lot going on: the sweetness of the honey plays off the sour of the cider vinegar; the pumpkin pie flavor of the ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves contrasts nicely with the heat of the chile powder and sauces.  The mix of habanero, cayenne and jalapeno peppers, along with a healthy mix of local, dried ground chiles, adds depth and complexity to the flavor, yet it all marries well and in the end creates a delicious sauce with a flavor profile that changes from the tip of your tongue to the back of your throat.  It is definitely spicy – make no mistake! – but there is more going on here than simple heat; it is heat with flavor, with nuance. It is quite addictive, and I kept dipping bell pepper strips into the sauce until my nose was running, my eyes tearing and my mouth on fire.  Heaven.

I can think of a million uses: as a condiment or dipping sauce for grilled chicken, turkey sandwhiches, crudites; mixed into hummus for a spicy kick; added to refried beans or on top of tacos; as a boneless chicken tender marinade, grilled or sauteed chicken served on a bed of lettuce and crumbled blue cheese; as an added a kick to soups and stews; tossed with cubed cooked potatoes for a spicy potato salad, and of course, wings! Clearly, I’m going to have to make more of this sauce.

Adapted from Chicken Wing Sauce in The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, J. Kingry & L. Devine


Flaming Wing Sauce


  • 4 lbs tomatoes
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped yellow onions (about 3 tennis ball-sized onions)
  • scant 1/4 cup local honey
  • 4 tsp chile powder
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp habanero pepper sauce (Melinda’s XXXtra Hot)
  • 1 tbsp red Tabasco sauce
  • 3 tbsp green Tabasco sauce (jalapeno sauce) 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon


  1. Quarter tomatoes, remove core, squeeze out seeds into a clean bowl, and add to a medium stockpot.  Heat over low heat, slicing and adding tomatoes as you go, and occasionally stirring the tomatoes to prevent burning.  Coarsely chop the onions and add to the tomatoes in the pot.  Pour the tomato seeds/juice through a fine sieve, add the juice and cayenne pepper to the tomatoes, stir, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and boil gently for 30 minutes.  (At this point the tomato skins will start releasing from the pulp and floating to the top; you can remove them with a pair of tongs and discard, or leave them in, as you prefer).
  2. Turn off the heat, and with your trusty immersion blender, blend the tomato/onion mixture until very smooth.  If you don’t have an immersion blender (and really, why not?), allow the mixture to cool slightly and then puree, in batches, in a food processor or blender, and return to the stockpot.
  3. Add vinegar, honey, garlic and remaining spices to the pureed tomato/onion mixture.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly, then reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is the consistency of thin commercial ketchup, about 1 hour.  Taste and adjust spices if needed.
  4. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  5. Ladle hot sauce into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace, and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.  Allow to cool completely, label, and store in a cool, dark spot.

Yields about 4 and 1/2 cups (4 half-pints jars plus some extra).wingsauce2


  1. Adjust the spiciness to your taste. To me, this started out quite flaming, and I can take me some heat.  It did seem to mellow somewhat overnight; but many spices sauces and salsas actually increase in heat over time following canning, so we shall see.  Some may call this wimpy and want more habanero sauce.  Some may curse me, my Mother, and my unborn children after taking one tiny taste of this sauce, wish to God they had never been born, and offer up a million bucks for a slice of bread and a glass of milk.  Spice at your own risk.


Canned, up to 1 year in a cool, dark spot.  Sauce color will fade if exposed to direct light.  If not canned, store refrigerated and use within 2 weeks.




  1. You call for cayenne pepper in the text of the recipe but not in the ingredients. No biggie since I added a pinch or two. But thought I would let you know. I can’t wait for this to cook down since I am curious about it.

    • Laura

      No problem. That’s what I assumed. I just pulled this out of the canning pot and the little bit leftover tasted great. I didn’t use all the habanero but otherwise the spice was just right for me. I’m already thinking about canning a second batch since I don’t want to give any of it away.

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