Dumpster Fire Honey Soy Chicken “Wings”

Well, based on comparing the readership stats of my last two kitchen-related posts, apparently no one wants to read about my actually having a success in the kitchen — only about my tragedies.

You monsters! 😀

The total number of people reading about the Mini Molten Brownie Pudding Cakes is about 6% of the total number of people reading about Dumpster Fire Pork Ribs.

Okay, fine. This one should satiate your sick hunger for my suffering. 😉

This post is Part 2 of my Amy & Jacky grand adventure weekend, using 3 instant pots to prepare a total of 6 dishes. (Part 1 is here.)

The tale-telling is happening out of order, so I can lighten my writing load by interspersing short and long stories versus just plowing through in chronological order.

  1. Honey Garlic Chicken Wings ←←←← We are here
  2. Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork
  3. Pressure Cooker Pork Loin Chops in HK Onion Sauce
  4. Pressure Cooker Korean Ribs
  5. Yogurt #12 with Fairlife Whole Milk
  6. Yogurt #12 with Fairlife 2% Milk

This attempt at “Honey Garlic Chicken Wings” is being classified as Dumpster Fire Level 4: Hot Mess.

The recipe page says “only 10 mins prep!”.

Hahahahaha. Not in my kitchen!

First things First:

The only way I’ve ever purchased chicken wings, until now, was on a plate with a side of blue cheese dressing. That’s chicken wings to me, and that sounded like a really yummy way to start my weekend of bulk cooking!

Before Instant Pot, I only ever purchased poultry as boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  But now I’m branching out.  And my grocery store has chicken wings stocked right next to the chicken thighs. Problem is, while I can get bone in or out, skin on or off, for the chicken thighs — I had no such option for the wings. For wings, they only offer one option. Little did I know, that would be the least of my problems in this “only 10 mins prep!” adventure.

The following photo will clearly explain what I thought I was getting at the store (minus the part about them being shown already cooked and in sauce, of course), versus what I actually got at the store.


Now — were I not a total Hot Mess in the kitchen — it may have dawned on me at the time to take a cleaver to those Wings of Chicken, and hack them into their three component parts. But nooooooooooooooo. It is only now that such a thing occurs to me!

Because, you see, I am very good at following directions. (Stop laughing.)

The recipe didn’t say anything about having to disarticulate Wings of Chicken, so I didn’t do anything regarding disarticulating Wings of Chicken.

Second things Second (marinate)

So here I was, ready to go and get some chicken wings marinating! At the bottom-right you can clearly see the start of my woes. That nice big package of Wings ‘o Chicken.

8:10pm — It started out just fine with the assembly of ingredients for marination…

So off I went, diligently combining all the ingredients into a bowl, to get the marinade ready:

Whisk everything together….


“Whisk it real good!”

It should be noted that I’m wisely doing all this whisking with the bowl in the kitchen sink. And look — no splashes in the sink. My whisking skills must be getting better!

(Not shown: All the splashes completely covering the front of me. *sigh*)

And then I opened up the package of chicken — only to discover that instead of Chicken Wings, I’d instead apparently purchased Dinosaur Arms.

First indications of trouble on the horizon

OK fine, so the dinosaur arms get tossed in to the marination bowl, and sqooshed around to be semi-evenly coated, and then set aside so they can play in the pool for 30 minutes.

Not pictured here is me using that 30 minutes to hack up some pork for the next recipe, which I foolishly thought I could handle in parallel — but that’s a tale for another time.

So here we are back to the chicken, marinating for 37 minutes (because that’s exactly how long it took me to hack up the bone-in pork shoulder):

Handy little count-up kitchen timer, tracking my every stumble and fall

At this point, other than the dinosaur arms problem (and the pork shoulder hacking adventure) things are going pretty well. Mix some stuff and let it sit. No problemo.

And then…. then the full downhill slide began to unfold.


Attempting to brown the marinated dinosaur — using a recipe that was clearly written for chicken wings (just look at the ingredients photo in the original recipe! Don’t worry, I’ll wait. OK, back now? See? Chicken Wings! Not dinosaur arms!) — yeah, that was the beginning of the end.

But I press forward.

The original recipe helpfully reminds me “Remember to flip the marinated chicken wings as you brown them in the pressure cooker because the soy sauce and sugar can burn easily“.

Too bad my favorite chicken borking tongs did not want to hang on at all to those dinosaur arms. It took forever to grab on to each one — damn chickies kept escaping — and to finally get it flipped over.

And most of the time it flipped over in a wonky position, and I’d have to start all over again to get it moved around into a more optimal position, slippin’ and slidin’ the whole time. All the while, becoming fully aware about how “the soy sauce and sugar can burn easily”.

Here I am, about halfway through the process. That lighter area at the top is where I’d figured out I could use the inbound marinating liquid to attempt to deglaze as I went along. What you can also see here is how not-very-successful that plan was:

9:08pm — Huddled together & collaborating against me!

And here’s the pan after all the dinosaur arms were done being “browned”.

I’m not sure how “browned” they actually got, given their shape. But the pot — the pot was thoroughly browned.

And let me tell you, it did not smell very good….

Death is eminent

The next step in the recipe was to start sauteing shallot, ginger, garlic, and star anise. I didn’t have any shallot, so I substituted onion.

Well apparently onions need actual contact with the bottom of the pan before any sweating can happen. This photo was taken several minutes into this extremely misguided plan, showing not one single ounce of onion sweat. All the while, the stuff on the bottom of the pot continues to petrify:


Then, I get the brilliant idea to add water!

This pretty much signed the death certificate on this grand plan.

Sure, I was kinda getting some deglazing done — but what I was creating in the process was Death Soup.

The smell.

OMFG! The. Smell. Was. Awful.

Oh yummy! Giant flakes of carbon!

So I quickly pour the liquid out into the sink, in an attempt to remove those now-footloose-and-fancy-free flakes of carbon death:

If it looks like a murder took place here…

And then somehow manage to get some deglazing done.

All the while, the stench of death is getting stronger and stronger and stronger.

It finally reached a level of Dumpster Fire that not even I can tolerate.

There was no way I was going to eat this:

Anybody in the mood for a nice tasty pot of DEATH?

And suddenly — it dawned on me that I now own three Instant Pots. There is NO reason for me to be enduring this suffering! So I chucked the whole thing into the sink…

Eff this shit. Into the sink you go!

…and grabbed a clean new liner from one of the other pots, so I could start anew.

Meanwhile, the following has been going down on FB while this dumpster fire burns full and bright:

Josie: you going to actually follow a recipe? Or get creative again? LOL 😉

Jen: I am trying so darn hard to follow the recipe, yet am soooo crashing and burning.

Joy: Oh crap…I need popcorn for this one! LOL

Jen: Mixed media: Chicken in stainless steel. “Death Precedes Deglazing” $0.00

Marne: The dog is giving me “the look” as I sit here cackling! We’re laughing with you, honestly!!

Jen: I’m pretty sure I created something carcinogenic. Seriously, I’d just cry and go to bed if I didn’t have y’all here to entertain with epic dumpster fires.

Onion Redemption

We’re now 61 minutes into this process (including the 37 minutes of marinating).

I grabbed the peanut oil to use in the fresh pot, and while it was preheating got to dicing up some fresh non-death onions, then tossed them in.

Also into the pot went the ginger, garlic, and star anise:

SO much better than that Death Soup!

Next up, dissolving some honey in some warm water.

You’d think that would be easy enough for me to accomplish, right? Think again.

If you check the ingredients photo at the top of the page, you might notice that my honey is rather chunky.

After the Onion Death Soup incident, my patience has been worn fairly thin, plus I’ve already breathed in 30+ minutes of death soup carbon chunks — so what’s a little microwaving of an entire plastic honey container — label, glue, and all — gonna do to me?

So, let me tell you how that went….

The honey chunks attached to the clear plastic were heated up just fine and looked like honey again.  The non visible honey — the honey that was hiding in the lid-section at the bottom of the bottle — yeah, that honey — that honey stayed chunky. Not that I’d have any way to know that in advance of it blorting into my measuring cup of warm water.

Here it is after my attempts to stir it up and dissolve it:

9:31pm — Chunky Honey Water

Looks pretty good, huh?  Too bad what you can’t see — and what I didn’t see — was the big old lump ‘o honey hiding in the back.

Wanna know when I finally did notice it?

As I poured it all into the pot:

See that darker splat around the 6pm position?

But the show must go on, and so the dinosaur arms got plopped on into the pot, and we’re ready to rock ‘n roll.

Lid on, 5 minutes high pressure, full NPR.

We are now finally starting the cooking process 84 minutes into this journey (not even counting the time it took to assemble the ingredients and mix up the marinade!).

So while the pot did it’s thing, I still had the Onion Death Soup in the sink to deal with.

Pro-Tip: adding scented dish soap to still-warm onion death soup only makes the situation worse:

I have no clue why I added soap to the pot while it still had Death in it

But, waiting for the dinosaur arms to cook and NPR gave me plenty of time to scrub and scrub and scrub.

Because it’s not like I had two other IPs just sitting there that could have been set to Steam with some vinegar.

Nope. Such sensible things never seem to occur to me while I’m engulfed neck-deep in giant flames of failure.

NPR finally completes, the Death Pot is finally scrubbed, and we’re now 106 minutes into this adventure.

106 minutes into this adventure

Next, I’m supposed to remove the “wings” from the pot so that I can thicken up the sauce.

Here is where I discovered something fully traumatizing.  You see… earlier when I opened up the package of chicken, I noticed that the label said “minimally processed”.

What I assumed that meant, and what that apparently really meant, are very different.

I assumed that meant that it didn’t have shit added to it.

What it really meant was “Gertrude’s still sportin’ some plumage.”

See those thin pokie-uppy bits at about the 1pm position here? Plumage.

Not the only plumage present in this pot o’ nightmares

So as I’m picking through Gertrude’s remains, removing stray plumage, I finally get the idea to disarticulate the damn dinosaur arms — because I seriously cannot see myself picking up one of these entire things and gnawing on it at it flops around. (Plus, well, there’s also my “in a bowl, or no” rule.)

Except that the meat is already falling off the bone. So in short order it becomes shredded chicken, with a shitty final yield.

The pile in the bowl is the rescued chicken meat; the pile on the cutting board is the bones and other shit:

Finally, some well-deserved dismemberment

Yes, I put the bones in a baggie and into the freezer.

The remaining good parts went into the pool:

We’re now 140 total minutes into this adventure.

And, at long last, I finally get to eat:


Surprisingly, it was pretty tasty.

Salty, but tasty — which I blame on my inability to season, and not on the recipe.

Tally of Final Damage

Start Time: 8:10pm

End Time: 10:46pm

Total Suffering: Roughly 2.5 hours, plus inhaled carcinogens

Yes, a large part of that time was taken up by dealing with dino arms and death soup.

But a lot of it was also taken up by pausing to click all those photos for you. So enjoy it here while you can — ’cause ya sure as shit ain’t getting this many photos for future endeavors! 😀

This was by far the biggest dumpster fire I’ve had in terms of wanting to just shut it all down and walk away. (It’s only with the passage of an entire week that I’ve been able to face this mess and attempt to tell the tale.)

I can safely say that I am probably over my interest in IP chicken wings, unless I can actual find real chicken wings in the store, and not another package of dinosaur arms!

Inspiration Credit

The above adventure was inspired by Amy & Jacky’s Honey Garlic Chicken Wings recipe. So please pop on over to their site to give them some love, and try their real recipe!

Dumpster Fire Honey Soy Chicken “Wings”

For entertainment purposes only

  1. Find the most inconvenient package of chicken that you can find.
  2. Burn the shit out of it while attempting to brown it.
  3. Cook it up with the sauce.
  4. Shred the chicken and put it back in the sauce
  5. Marvel in the fact that it’s edible.


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  • Tamara

    Once again you had me laughing so hard I had to break away from the post! Been there done that, but not with the humor or flair that you bring to your blog. I’ve enjoyed all your posts, even the ones that are a success :). Please keep posting!

    • Jen Neefer

      This one was a lot harder for me to write than the other ones, as I wasn’t personally able to find the humor in the situation all — so I’m glad to hear I was able to still make it a worthwhile read!

  • Marissa Drake

    I didn’t read the other post for no other reason other then I didn’t see it! I would love to here about all the things

    • Jen Neefer

      Best way to make sure you don’t miss anything is to use the subscribe feature in the right side column. 🙂 Then the site will automatically notify you when something new gets published. Otherwise you’re at the mercy of Facebook’s algorithms and what it thinks you should be able to see.

  • Beth Fuchs

    Thanks for the much needed humor today! Like you, I only picture chicken wings as those neat little pieces that you conveniently dip into blue cheese dressing. First evidence of dinosaur wings for me and all of it would have been made into chicken soup. You rock!

  • Mary Neese

    My husband even laughed as I read this out loud to him. Ya did good!!

  • Lisa Angermann

    I often groan at my honey when he requests ME to make chicken wings or fried chicken… It is much TOO EASY to just buy them at the store (Publix makes AWESOME fried chicken!) or restaurant! I certainly DO enjoy how they don’t come out very good for you either! And, my honey does not like pulled-meat…

    • Jen Neefer

      I think what is killing me with the chicken wings is the recipe’s marinade. It just burns. I might have better luck with a different recipe, but at this point I agree about them just being easier to buy. I’m pretty sure I’m now done with homemade chicken wings. 🙂

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