There are a couple of really great Chinese restaurants in DC that cater to a late-night crowd. When you get off work in the kitchens at one or two a.m. and are desperately hungry, there are few options. Go to one of these restaurants in the wee hours, and you're guaranteed to see bleary-eyed cooks and chefs sitting down to a long-overdue meal. After everyone else has been fed, the cooks deserve to eat too! One of the real eye-opening things about these late-night meals is that the Chinese cooks have a willing audience ready to explore the true tastes of the cuisine. Chinese food is not just sweet and salty. Give these chefs a chance to cook as they do for their families, and there are revelations to be experienced. One of the best is the use of spicy and sour to balance a dish. The other is sweet and spicy—the gentle heat of chiles spiriting the light sweetness into a perfect partnership. This dish is inspired by the late-night meals I have shared with my weary colleagues. Do not skimp on the pepper. It is supposed to pack a punch, and if you so desire, a pinch or two of cayenne is a nice addition.


  • 2 tablespoons coarse-ground
  • Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Juice of 2 limes or lemons
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • A good amount of fresh coarsely ground black pepper
  • One 3- to 4-pound chicken, split in half


Combine the mustard, honey, citrus juice, and salt in a large glass baking dish. Add a generous grinding of black pepper.

Place the chicken halves in the dish and turn to coat well with the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 2 days. Let the chicken come to room temperature before cooking; this requires about 30 minutes out of the refrigerator.

Build a medium fire in the grill (page 15) and add chunks of the fruitwood of your choice. When the wood has burned to embers, place the chicken halves, skin side down, just adjacent to the coals. Cover the grill and cook for 10 minutes.

Flip the chicken halves so that the bone and cavity are facing down. Brush on any remaining marinade, cover the grill, and close the air vents to a sliver. Cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F when placed against the leg bone, about 20 minutes. Remove from the grill, let rest for 5 minutes, then separate the legs from the breasts, and serve immediately.

Serves 4

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Submitted 7/1/13.
Source: Where There's Smoke: Simple, Sustainable, Delicious Grilling by Barton Seaver
Submitted By: B Smith

Black Pepper and Honey Chicken