Honey Mustard Chicken Wings and Legs, Of Parts and Self

Wednesday night I got home from a therapy session around 9:45 PM and got to work making this recipe.  Seeing a therapist has been helpful for many reasons, one of which includes attempting to corral the neuroses that compel a person to start a chicken project at an ungodly hour in a ninety-degree heat wave.

Last week the same scenario played out, but the task was a sour cherry pie.  I believe in the power of pie.  Yet, as I age, I also believe in the power of sleep. And—rationally speaking—staying up until 1 AM is just not worth it. 

I also view pie making to be like childbirth.  There is a lot of swearing and sweating involved, sometimes tears. The whole time all you can think about is how you are never making one of these ever again (pie or kid, take your pick).  But then you are done and the thing is beautiful and you develop instant amnesia about the whole goddamned process.  The pastry holds a special place in the crevices of my generalized anxiety-driven parts and given the choice today I would probably do it again.

All that aside, I have no business basting anything after 10 PM, let alone poultry.  That should be a rule.  Though I am pretty sure therapy is against ‘rules,’ and also should-ing, so I might suggest if you try this recipe, attempt it at an hour you deem reasonable. Perhaps a time that might even allow for seven whole hours of sleep.

The problem the other night was I knew how good the chicken is.  Because I am a professional at extreme future thinking, I also knew I was not going to have time to make it for another two days.  Which made me catastrophize Pseudomonas spoilage. And also ruminate about what I was going to have to substitute for lunch the following day.

So there I was keeping chicken thighs company instead of sleeping.

The thing is, the recipe is worth it.  It takes on a nice pleasing char in small spots and walks a tightrope between sweet and tangy.  The bone-in pieces make for a much more forgiving process than cooking breasts. Plus, at the end of the day, I find baking and basting chicken in this manner to be a near therapeutic endeavor. 

It also really only takes about ten minutes of active time.  The rest is spent in the oven.  Plan for an hour, give or take, overall.  While it will not solve all your problems, it should may help solve what’s for dinner.

Honey Mustard Chicken Wings and Legs
Inspired by Food52


2 whole wings (wing mid-section tips and drummettes connected)
2 drumsticks
2 thighs
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup dijon mustard
1½ tsp chili garlic sauce
½ to 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ to 1 tbsp ponzu sauce
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes


Set the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the chicken parts with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Cover a baking sheet with foil and top with a wire metal cooling rack. Set the chicken on the metal rack skin side up and place in the oven once it reaches temperature.

While the chicken is cooking, combine the honey, mustard, chili sauce, Worcestershire, ponzu, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Set aside 1/3 of the mixture in another small bowl to baste when the chicken is almost finished cooking.

After the chicken has been cooking for about 20 to 25 minutes, remove it from the oven and brush on 2/3 of the honey mustard, covering both sides liberally.  Place back in the oven and cook another 20 to 25 minutes and then brush with the remaining mixture.  Cook for about 10 minutes more or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Makes 6 pieces

-If you cannot find whole chicken wings substitute two mid-section wings and two drummettes, or just four wings of your choice.

-The chili garlic sauce and ponzu should be available in the Asian section of many grocery stores.