Papa's Chicken | Honey Spice Marinade

In a couple of weeks, our house will be full of visitors. The grandparents will be be making the rounds, first my husband’s parents, followed very shortly thereafter by my dad. It seems that their visits always happen in May, and come to think of…

Papa's Chicken | Honey Spice Marinade

In a couple of weeks, our house will be full of visitors. The grandparents will be be making the rounds, first my husband’s parents, followed very shortly thereafter by my dad. It seems that their visits always happen in May, and come to think of it, May is wonderful time to visit the Bay Area. Truthfully, there is never really a bad time to visit this part of the country, but May is especially lovely. The rain is gone till next season (it always seems hard for visitors to understand that truly, once rainy season ends, we will not see a single drop until next autumn), and the hills are a vibrant green. The temperatures are crisp in the morning but just perfect by afternoon, and the spring produce really starts to ramp up at the local markets. That means we take our meals outdoors.

You know by now that we love to grill. I think my husband inherited the grilling gene from his dad, though it seems that most men like to handle this type of cooking. It must have something to do with open flames. When we tell the children that we are grilling for dinner, the first question they will ask is: are we having Papa’s chicken?

Papa’s Chicken. That is what it has come to be known in our house – a Honey Spice Marinade that was passed on to us by my father-in-law is my children’s favorite. It’s zesty and sweet, tangy and garlick-y – move over Colonel Sanders, this chicken is finger lickin’ good.

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Honey Spice Marinade

Wonderful with chicken, this marinade also works with pork. For best results, marinate overnight.

Makes 1½ cups.

  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

Combine ingredients and whisk well. Marinate chicken or pork in a zip lock bag, glass dish, or non-reactive bowl for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight. Rotate halfway through marinating.



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  1. Simon

    Lemon, honey and soy sauce combo can’t go wrong with that. Almost identical to how I prepare my chicken wings, however I sometimes like to add a pinch of gochujang (korean chili paste) or sriracha.

    Websites like this is a living example of why I’m working towards launching my own food blog.

  2. Ziggy

    Everytime I visit this blog, I always say to myself, “my goodness this blog’s template is just awesome!!!!”. I’ve been bloghopping the whole afternoon taking a look at the NorCAl and SoCal get together. Were you there?

    I love hand-me-down recipes. Tested and proven.

    I’m still oogling at your site’s design. 0_0

    • Liren

      I missed a get together this weekend? Oh drats. No I was not able to join in on the fun, but hope I can in the future. So glad you are enjoying my new design, I’ve been having fun with it, too :) Thank you!

  3. Stephanie

    This marinade sounds delicious! Perfect for chicken and grilling season, indeed. And so adorable that your kids call it “Papa’s chicken,” those recipies are truley the best!

  4. Jackie

    Yum! I do something similar but in the oven because we don’t have a barbecue, which never really feels all that summery, does it? Last year I made my then boyfriend do me a barbecue at his place, which he adored – man does love fire, after all.

    I’ll have to try your version and see if I can hijack somebody’s barbecue this year!

    Jax x

  5. merry jennifer

    Oh, that marinade sounds wonderful. Grilling season has been underway for some time now, so this marinade might just get tried out pretty darn quick.

  6. skip to malou

    Hi Liren! Everytime I come here, it looks like you have always something new around. Like you’ve re-arranged the chairs or have painted the walls or something.. yeah it’s almost as if there’s always something new and fresh.
    I hear you with the grilling. My hubs love to do that too and would always solicit for compliments haha. shhh don’t tell him i told you!
    Have fun with your guests. I’m sure your kids are just as excited! My in laws stayed with me for a week last week and it was a relaxing one. So have fun with yours!

  7. norma

    As you know I live in an apartment and there’s no bbq’ing. I could definitely use this marinade and take the chicken with me when I get invited to one.

    Enjoy the family.

  8. Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily

    I love this! I’m usually pretty lazy when it comes to BBQ… it’s my husbands thing and so I take a break ;). I will def be using this marinade next time we BBQ chicken, probly this weekend. Thanks so much!
    p.s. If you’d like, I’m hosting a give away for a set of curtains of your choice from CurtainWorks. Stop by Simply Healthy Family to enter!

  9. Jean

    Liren, I made a marinade this weekend, too, using ginger, lime and sweet soy sauce. Maybe I was subconsciously channeling “Papa’s” version. :-) The problem with mine was that I grilled it in a hurry and the finished product turned into blackened grilled chicken, LOL! The skin turned black though the meat was still juicy. Oh, well. The addition of dry mustard sounds wonderful–I keep it in stock but don’t use it enough.

    I bet May is an extra-special time for your kids. I remember my grandparents visiting us for a month at a time every single year until their late 70s. When we were kids, it was a big deal for us. I bet your dad and your in-laws are just as excited to spend time with everyone! :-)

  10. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet }

    Liren – I adore this marinade! This is a keeper. So glad to hear that your house will be full with wonderful relatives and fun times ahead. I can just smell the BBQ chicken with that divine marinade. Lovin this weather!!! :-)

  11. Kelly

    Mmmm this looks like a terrific marinade and something I know my boyfriend would LOVE! Can’t wait to try this myself, loving your blog!!

  12. Kath

    That sounds like a fabulous chicken marinade! I’m bookmarking this to use in the near future. :) Thank you!

  13. An Alaskan Cooks | Alaska Food and Wine

    Excellent timing — this looks like a terrific marinade to use for the pork loin I picked up at the market. It’s still a bit nippy for outdoor grilling up here in Alaska, so I’ll probably make marinated pork and pepper kabobs on the indoor grill pan. Thanks for the idea!

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