The Chemistry of Hot Wings


    • My project was the Chemistry of Hot Wings and I chose hot wings for my topic because I absolutely love hot wings. They are one of the best tasting things ever and if you eat them with a good ball game and some friends it is heaven on earth . Hot wings are two separate parts: the chicken and the hot sauce but i'm mostly enthralled with the hot sauce component. Composition of ...Vinegar - CH3COOH
    • Aged Cayenne Red Peppers- C18H27NO3
    • Capsaicinoids give the sauce it's spicy flavor- C18H27NO3
    • Salt is added for flavor too - NaCL
  • Carbonyls - C=O

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

Vinegar (CH3COOH): Vinegar is a liquid consisting of mostly acetic acid and water. THe acetic acid is made by the fermentation of the ethanol of the acetic acid bacteria. It has to sit for at least 20 hours to three days in order for the fermentation process to happen properly. Vinegar also has a medical and cleaning use but those arent as common as the use of vinegar in food. In hot sauce vinegar is used mostly as a natural preservative but some flavored vinegars are used to make a specific taste in the sauce.

Cayenne Red Peppers (C18H27NO3): Peppers or Capsaicinoids are what bring the heat to the Hot sauce. These come from plants which irritate pretty much any living thing that come in contact with it. The burning sensation it gives you is not real but instead it is irritating the tissue in your mouth. When it touches Mucous Membranes it immediately gives that burning sensation that hot wings provide. It was discovered in 1816 by Christian Bucholz and made into food product. It doesn't really give very much of a taste but combined with vinegar and or salt and other ingredients it brings out the taste.

Chemistry's Role

Chemistry has a huge role in hot wings because without it it wouldn't be Hot Wings. If the vinegar wasn't in the hot sauce then it wouldn't have a taste it would just be hot and if there was no Cayenne Red Peppers (capsaicinoids) it would taste but that would defeat the purpose of hot wings. Salt and and other ingredients can also add a specific taste to the hot wing. The capsaicinoids can be found and picked from and plant in South America and then they are purified and fermented and so comes what puts the “hot” in “hot sauce”. Vinegar is made by the the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid and water. Fermentation is a process that converts sugar to acids, gases or alcohol. Vinegar is lengthy to make because the fermentation process take at least one day to complete. Distilled Vinegar still will contain 5-8% of acetic acid.

Background Research

To make hot sauce you have to pick the peppers off the plant in bulk, crush them while adding salt then putting it into a whiskey barrel. Putting it into a whisky barrel is great because the wooden barrels can still breathe which make natural yeast growth. Three years later the barrels are opened and the mashed up peppers are put into a mixer where vinegar is added into the sauce. The chickens come from the eggs that were laid by their mother and when older the chickens are killed, plucked, and processed.


This one talks about the ingredients. Sauce usually has some kind chilli pepper. Chemicals called capsaicinoids make the peppers hot and spicy. Adding salt and vinegar make the flavor different depending on what you put in. some fruits and vegetables can be used as the base for the hot sauce. Some manufacturers put ingredients in containers or some use pureeing and cooking them to get the flavor correct. Vinegar is another huge ingredient that makes the flavor different.

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About the Author

Jake Vondra is a junior at Senior High School in Billings MT. He enjoys being active with friends and family. He loves hiking in the Beartooths, fly fishing on the Bighorn River, and hunting all over Montana with his dad and brothers. He also loves playing Football and watching Baseball with his friends and family. He has two brothers and two sisters and is the 2nd youngest. After highschool he is planning to join the marines and then go to college for journalism or business.