Memphis Honey-Gold Chicken Wing Sauce Recipe

Introduction

Memphis Honey-Gold sauce is a favorite, tried and true Memphis, Tennessee recipe for all those who want zesty flavor and a smooth, sweet palate! Additionally, I kick down the spice in this great sauce, meaning it’s perfect for those who love a tangy sweetness without too much (or any) heat.

Also, since this sauce has tons of flavor, but is not too spicy, it is perfect for large gatherings like your upcoming, 2019 Super Bowl Party! Importantly, I have found that most people enjoy experimenting with Honey-Gold sauce as a precursor before attempting anything too hot. Plus, this could satisfy your guests without causing them to run for the hills after one or two spicy drummies!

In short, give this recipe a try, and make sure you give me a shout out when you do! I would love to hear how your experience goes with this savory sauce.

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Memhpis-Honey-Gold sauce wings on a plate
Some tasty treats. You’ll notice that the fry looks a bit soft, as I experimented with this batch!

Ingredients And Instructions

Time To Cook 10-12 Minutes
How Many It Feeds 12-14 Wings

The Ingredients You’ll Want:

IngredientQuantity
Hot Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Buffalo Wing Sauce Sauce)2/3 Cup
Butter1/2 Stick (4 Tbsp)
Hot Chili Powder1 Tbsp
Dark Brown Sugar1/2 Cup
Honey (Local Preferred)1/2 Cup
Turmeric3 Heaping Tbsp
Crushed Red Pepper (my notes call for red chili flakes in future experiments)1 Tbsp
Distilled White Vinegar2 Tbsp
Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder, and Garlic PowderTo Taste (Use 1 Tsp salt, 1 Tsp pepper, 1 Tbsp Onion Powder, and 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder if unsure)
Keep in mind that this is a work in progress! Look to the bottom of the post for changes I plan to make in the future. Check out the main blog page for future updates to this recipe!

Memphis Honey-Gold sauce heating up on a range
A decent indicator of what your sauce may look like. But, keep in mind that I added Red Chili Flakes to this version of the recipe!

Straightforward Instructions

First, take a small pot and put it on your burner on a medium/low heat. Then, take the butter and, while the pot heats up, allow the butter to warm up and melt. As the butter melts, add the hot sauce and stir until both are wholly combined.

Next, continue to monitor your heat, since we don’t want the ingredients to boil, then add in the honey; stir to combine. furthermore, once combined, add the white wine vinegar along with all of our various seasonings (hot chili powder, turmeric, hot Hungarian powder, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder). Then, continue to stir until, as Binging With Babish would say, the flavors get to know each other.

Lastly, once the ingredients have combined to your preferred taste, add in the brown sugar (read my Memphis Honey Extra Hot Sauce guide to find out why we put in the brown sugar last!). Finally, allow the sugar to dissolve wholly into the mixture, stirring to combine as the honey extra hot sauce comes back up to heat.

To finish, once back up to heat with the correct taste, you’ll want to take the sauce off heat and leave it on the side. Then, once your chicken is ready to coat (read below to find out why we take the sauce off the heat), cover them however you like!

In Depth Notes

Initially, as it’s name suggest, this recipe’s main selling point is it’s sweet, honey flavor. However, you’ll probably be interested to know that the sauce not only takes on the flavor of honey, but also takes on the distinct complexion of honey. Therefore, this sauce will have a yellow, smooth, and silky finish with just a tinge of red hue from the spices that we add to it.

Therefore, there are three main things one should consider when making this recipe. And, those three things are timing, sweetness, and spiciness!

Above all, when I discuss timing in this section, you should know that I don’t refer to time to cook, but instead I refer to timing your flavors. Furthermore, time to cook simply means how long your dish takes to prepare from beginning to end. However, timing your flavors means preparing the sauce up to the desired point of done-ness, and no further.

Additionally, timing one’s flavors to mature at the moment that one’s food is prepared is a skill that comes with time and practice. Consequently, if you want the best quality results, there is no secret ingredient that will get the job done! Instead, focus on getting a little better at remaining mindful of your cooking over the long run.

Lastly, since consistent practice is the base for continued successes, I encourage you to commit to learning all that you can over time. Likewise, if you can remain positive when things go wrong (because they will go wrong!), you’ll grow as a cook and as a person.

Chicken wings being actively fried in a Lodge 6-quart enameled cast iron dutch oven
Make sure that you push yourself to learn how to time all your food for simultaneous completion!

Timing Your Flavors

So, the reason I bring up timing before my next two points is that the sweetness and spiciness of this dish is ultimately influenced by time on heat and by timing of ingredients. Plus, since the sweet or spicy content that results from your sauce will typically determine whether this sauce is well received or not, it is imperative to know a few things before continuing.

Importantly, be sure to pay attention to your heat. Since boiling mixtures result in a more bitter flavor, make sure your sauce remains at a simmer. After all, this sauce is designed for sweet and tangy, not for bitter and acidic. Therefore, once you have combined all of the ingredients, be sure to remove the sauce from heat as soon as you believe the flavor to be correct (make sure to taste as you season for the best quality sauce)!

Next, although our sauce may lose its temperature, our hot, freshly cooked chicken will heat it back up. However, importantly, taking the sauce off the burner will stop the flavor development process and lock in our desired palate!

First, you’ll want to know that the level of sweetness in this dish can become terribly overwhelming if the heat is not monitored correctly. There is a lot of sugar in this dish, and when sugar is left on heat over time it reduces and intensifies in flavor. So, learn from my experiences and don’t leave this on the burner longer than necessary, or you’ll end up with some terribly sweet concoction.

Second, you’ll want to know that heat from our hot sauce and from our spices will reduce the longer they are simmered. So, the effects of our sugary flavors gradually intensifying will then be enhanced by the spice pallet deteriorating! Therefore, it is important to make sure that we cook our sauce with as little burner time as possible, while still allowing the flavors to develop!

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A batch of fried chicken wings in a pan
A box of tasty goodness for all of my friends

Sweetness

As you learn how to manage your heat, you will begin to understand what level of sweetness you like. Personally, I prefer sweetness of a medium level. However, if you are catering to a party of children, perhaps you should let the mixture simmer longer, resulting in a more concentrated, sweeter flavor!

Since cooking is not just about the process, but also about the reception, you will want to make sure that your guests are okay with the level of sweetness that you are preparing. If, in fact, your guests are children, then you would do well to add in the brown sugar along with the honey. However, if you are serving a gang of adults with less sensitive flavor palates, then lowering the quantity of honey and/or brown sugar could be the path you should take. But, remember that you can also mitigate sweetness through reducing the time your sauce cooks!

Lastly, you will want to know that while the honey adds a great flavor, and a good body to the sauce, that the brown sugar takes this sauce up to the next level! So, make sure you try to use equal parts of both, however, if you have a different taste preference than I do, do what you like best.

A batch of fried chicken wings in front of an american flag
This post brought to you by some saucy, down home, American wings!

Spiciness

In addition to the sweet contents of this sauce, one must decide how much heat they want to experience. Since everyone is different, you should try out the recipe I have given you, as it is a low heat. But, you may want more, or even less, spice in your palate.

Therefore, I recommend that you add the following ingredients in order to increase the heat:

Ingredient Quantity
Hot Sauce Increase from 2/3 Cup to 1 1/3 Cup
Hot Chili Powder Increase from 1 Tbsp to 2 Tbsp
Hot Hungarian Powder Add 1 Tbsp at first with the other spices, this stuff adds good flavor and a good kick!

Additionally, you can chop up a pepper, like a Serrano pepper or a Jalapeño pepper, and add them into the mix for some additional spice and flavor! But, if you want this to be a true hot wing sauce, you’ll want to check out my Memphis Honey Extra Hot Sauce Recipe.

Finally, like I stated previously, the longer the spice sits on heat, the more spice is lost. So, you will want to make sure that you add you spice at the appropriate time, and that you also take the sauce off heat at its appropriate flavor level!

Conclusion

In conclusion, this sauce is a tangy treat that will light up your taste buds and delight your friends! Since, in all likelihood, you probably have not tried this sauce before, you will find yourself pleasantly surprised to experience the flavors herein.

So, take a chance on this sauce, and I think you will find yourself enraptured by the zippy bite of the sugars contrasted with the bold backbone of the hot sauce and butter. Please let me know how you like this recipe, and check out more of my free content on my site!

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4.5 from 2 votes

Memphis Honey-Gold Chicken Wing Sauce Recipe

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Memphis Honey-Gold is a tried and true Memphis, TN favorite! So, read more to learn the secrets behind this zippy, tangy concoction. Since this dish is perfect for entertaining groups of guests, you’ll have to try this one out at your next hosting event!
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword Chicken Wings, Fried Chicken, Honey-Gold, Recipe, Sauce
Servings 7 People
Calories 212kcal
Author Wingmeister

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup Hot Sauce
  • 4 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Hot Chili Powder
  • 1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Honey Local Preferred
  • 2 tbsp Turmeric Heaping tbsp
  • 1 tbsp Crushed Red Pepper
  • 2 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder

Instructions

  • Take a small pot and put it on your burner on a medium/low heat. Then, take the butter and, while the pot heats up, allow the butter to warm up and melt. 
  • As the butter melts, add the hot sauce and stir until both are wholly combined.
  • Add in the honey; stir to combine.
  • After combining, add the white wine vinegar along with all of our various seasonings (hot chili powder, turmeric, hot Hungarian powder, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder).
  • Once the ingredients have combined to your preferred taste, add in the brown sugar. Then, allow the sugar to dissolve wholly into the mixture, stirring to combine as the honey extra hot sauce comes back up to heat.

11 thoughts on “Memphis Honey-Gold Chicken Wing Sauce Recipe”

  1. 5 stars
    Outstandingly simple and expertly crafted, the classic Memphis Honey Gold Chicken Wing Sauce Recipe is an absolute hit! Try it out and let me know your impressions below!

    Reply
  2. Something didn’t turn out right. Is regular chili powder the same as you call for? As soon as I added that the color changed from gold to brown. It was good but not honey gold.

    Reply
    • Hey Bobby! So in the last year or so I revisited this recipe and made some changes to it based on some research I did. I agree with you that the sauce portrayed here is not as distinctly “Honey-Gold” as it could be! Here is the revised ingredients list as it currently stands (I’ll have to make a 2020 version of this post with the updated list, so stay tuned!):

      1. Butter 4 Tbsp
      2. Brown Sugar 1/4 Cup
      3. White Sugar 1/4 Cup
      4. Honey 2 Tbsp
      5. Parsley 1 Pinch
      6. Salt 1 Tsp
      7. Distilled White Vinegar 1-2 Tsp

      So, as you can see, the recipe has changed quite a bit and needs its own post to discuss it.
      I encourage you to try the aforementioned ingredients out in the meantime.

      Best,
      C.J.

      Reply
  3. Hi! Are the ingredients listed in this thread in addition to those in the recipe. Or is that the new recipe with none of the spices? I go to school out of town and I’m really missing Memphis wings, so I am going to try my hand at this sauce recipe.

    Reply
    • Hey! I recommend you try the ingredients posted in the comments of this post. I haven’t gotten around to updating this post yet, so thanks for your patience! Please let me know how it turns out :).

      C.J.

      Reply

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